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Teaching Others as a Study Method

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A good way to assess your knowledge before a test is to teach the material that will be tested to someone else. In addition to the benefits for the person you are helping, there are several benefits for yourself.

Illustration of teacher and student.
  • Teaching requires that you be succinct and clear. In order to teach material to someone else, you must extract the key points in a concise manner. Doing this will help you remember the material for objective tests, and be able to present the material in an organized manner for essay tests.
  • The person you teach will undoubtedly ask questions about the material. These questions may challenge your understanding of the material. In order to provide appropriate responses, you must ensure that you have a deep understanding of the material.
  • You will be speaking aloud as you explain the material to someone else. This auditory component adds to the visual component of reading the material for yourself. The more types of input you have, the better are your chances of retaining the material.

Who should you teach?
  • You can choose another student who has difficulty understanding the material. This will require you to do considerable teaching, bringing you benefits of teaching as discussed above.
  • You can choose another student who has reasonably good understanding of the material, but whose understanding is less than yours. The questions this student asks will be a good test of your own understanding.

How should you prepare?
  • Spend a sufficient amount of time studying your material to ensure good understanding on your part.
  • Make an outline of what you will be teaching. Be sure to include key points.
  • Use the outline to rehearse your teaching. Anticipate questions you may be asked and prepare the answers, either on paper or in your head.

When is this method most effectively used?
  • This method should be initiated several days before a test. If you discover during a teaching session that you do not have sufficient understanding of the material, you will then have enough time to restudy the material.

Remember - If you have difficulty teaching what you know, chances are you do not yet have a good understanding of the material. Restudy your material and then try teaching it again. The more times you teach the material, the better you will retain it.

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