That’s the finding of a recent study highlighted in Benedict Carey’s new book How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where and Why It Happens.
An excerpt of Carey’s book was published in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine.
To test her theory, Bjork gave her college students a pre-test before some of her lectures. At the end of the year, students answered correctly a higher percentage of questions that had similarly appeared on one of their pre-tests than those that they were just seeing for the first time.
While the percentage was just 10 percent, Carey points out that could be an entire letter grade.
There are some limitations to this theory, Carey writes. Pretests might not be beneficial for learning a language based notations or characters like Chinese and Arabic. That’s because there is no familiar language for your brain to latch on to.
Sunday’s edition of the magazine was the glossy’s annual education issue. Also featured were articles on Bill Gates’ personal mission to revamp history in public education, as well as the very public political fight between charter school executive Eva Moskowitz and Mayor Bill de Blasio.