Deep practice is required to perform at your personal best. Using the right practice methods is important to learn the right skill. When you know you’re practicing effectively you become more self – confident. You also gain a sense of control and certainty that when you need to learn something you have a proven practice method. Most importantly your skill acquisition is quicker and easier.
Close the Book Method
Let’s pretend that one week from now you will take a test on the next 10 pages of the book you are studying and you have 30 minutes to study. Which practice method would help you get a better grade?
- Reading those 10 pages 4 times in a row and trying to memorise them?
- Reading those 10 pages once, then closing the book and writing a one – page summary.
It’s not even close. Research shows that people who follow strategy B remember 50% more material over the long term than people who follow strategy A.
This is because of one of deep practices most fundamental rules: Learning is reaching. Passively reading a book – a relatively effortless process, letting the words wash over you like a warm bath – doesn’t put you in the sweet spot. Less reaching equals less learning. On the other hand, closing the book and writing a summary forces you to figure out the key points (one set of reaches), process and organise those ideas so they make sense (more reaches) and write them on the page (still more reaches, along with repetition). The equation is always the same: More reaching equals more learning.