The other day I had a conversation with someone I consider to have one of the best study routines I’ve heard of. This is reflected in her grades, so when she gives advice, I’m eager to learn what she has to say. I mentioned in an offhand comment that I oftentimes end up writing far too much when studying physiology. You can get into so much detail, that you almost end up drowning in it. When I told her this, she suggested instead of writing everything down, I merely speak it out loud, repeat it to myself until I understand it, and move on.
At first, I asked “don’t you end up forgetting it all,” and “doesn’t it feel a bit insane to just sit and talk to yourself?” However, she assured me that it worked. So here I am, in my kitchen, talking to myself.
I know it sounds weird, but apparently, it’s backed up by a ton of research! Take for instance this Psychology Today article. In it, author and Professor Art Markman cites a paper by Colin MacLeod, Nigel Gopie, Kathleen Hourihan, Karen Neary, and Jason Ozubko in the May, 2010 issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, which states:
“In this paper, these researchers document what they call the production effect. They looked at people's memory for items like a list of words. They found that if people studied the list by reading half of the words silently and the other half by saying the words out loud, that he words spoken aloud were remembered much better than those that were read silently.”
He goes on to explain why this is, so if you’re interested in reading more on this, I highly recommend clicking this link, and go give the full article a read!