The Importance of Spaced Practice for Effective Learning and Retention: A Comparison with Massed Practice.

What is a study habit that relies on massed practice? Is massed practice effective?

Cramming, not effective

Massed practice is a study habit that involves cramming or studying extensively for a prolonged period without taking breaks. This practice emphasizes the concept of continuous studying without any breaks. In other words, it is a method of studying whereby one devotes a significant amount of time to studying without taking any rest.

Massed practice, while it may seem effective to some, is generally not an effective study habit for most learners. This is because cramming is unlikely to create long-term memories or enhance overall understanding of the subject matter. Attempting to learn or memorize information in a single session creates a limited understanding of the material and leaves the learner unlikely to retain that information for meaningful recall at a later time. In addition, massed practice can lead to burnout and fatigue, decreasing productivity and attention span.

Research has shown that breaking up study sessions into shorter, more frequent periods with intervals of rest and space in between results in more effective learning and retention. This process is known as spaced practice or distributed practice. It allows students to retain the information, make connections, apply the knowledge, and transfer their learning to new situations.

Therefore, learners who adopt the habit of spaced practice tend to have a better understanding of the material, retain information better, and perform better during exams or assessments. Overall, massed practice may sometimes be necessary in certain situations, but it is generally not an effective study habit, and learners are better off adopting spaced practice for long-term retention and understanding of the material.

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