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J Dent Educ. 2015 Jan;79(1):33-7.

Do dental students use optimal study strategies?

Author information

1
Dr. McAndrew is Clinical Professor and Senior Director of Professional Development, New York University College of Dentistry; Mr. Kamboj is a second-year dental student, New York University College of Dentistry; and Dr. Pierre is an independent research scientist consultant. mm154@nyu.edu.
2
Dr. McAndrew is Clinical Professor and Senior Director of Professional Development, New York University College of Dentistry; Mr. Kamboj is a second-year dental student, New York University College of Dentistry; and Dr. Pierre is an independent research scientist consultant.

Abstract

Research on human learning has shown that repeated retrieval practice or self-testing maximizes learning. However, recent studies have found undergraduate students to be largely unaware of the benefits of self-testing. The aim of this study was to examine dental students' study strategies and utilization of retrieval techniques for learning. All second-year dental students at New York University College of Dentistry were invited to participate. Of the total 360 students, 66 completed the two-question survey, for a response rate of 18.3%. The first question asked students to choose from a list of twelve study strategies the ones they used and to rank their top five in order of personal preference. Repeated reading was the most frequently used strategy with 83.3% of students reporting that they used it and 43.9% naming it as their top strategy. Of these students, 45.5% indicated that they self-tested while studying, but none indicated it was their number one strategy. The second question asked students how they would study after reading a textbook chapter for the first time. They were asked to choose one option from three possibilities: going back and restudying, self-testing (with the possibility of restudying afterward), or some other strategy. On this question, 25.8% chose restudying, 45.5% chose self-testing, and 28.8% indicated they would use another study strategy. Thus, 54.6% of the students reported they would not test themselves after reading a textbook chapter. Of those who chose self-testing, only seven students indicated they would do so to improve learning. The results of this study suggest that the students lacked sufficient awareness of the superiority of self-testing for learning.

KEYWORDS:

academic performance; dental education; dental students; metacognition; retrieval practice; self-regulated learning; self-testing; study strategies

PMID:
25576550
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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