Learning involves imagination

Metacognition: Learn better for the exam

Metacognition - that sounds like the X-Files and extraterrestrial encounters, but it is earthly through and through. Metacognitive skills help us, for example, to maintain an overview and to make strategically wise decisions. And: Metacognition also takes us over the hill when learning. How to use the metacognition trick to prepare for exams and exams ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Metacognition: what is it?

Metacognition is roughly the ability to think about one's own thinking. The ability to control, monitor and organize one's own thinking. Classify, reflect and evaluate your own memories, perceptions and decisions.

This can help, for example, to make decisionsTo formulate goals, to recognize one's own strengths and weaknesses. And: With a good metacognition, general strategies for solving problems can be internalized more easily.

At a glance: Metacognition includes ...

  • Think about your own knowledge
  • Think about thinking
  • Learn thought processes
  • Control learning processes
  • Know about your own knowledge (and ignorance)

Metacognition Examples: The Power of Imagination

Even chimpanzees have metacognitive skills. Science has gathered clear evidence for this. If the monkeys in experiments behave as expected of them in order to receive a treat in the form of a treat, then metacognition is involved.

In the human realm, to-do lists are already an expression of metacognition. They testify that we Knowledge collected, processed and sorted to have. Classify thoughts, establish an order, set priorities - if you have good metacognitive skills, this is easier for you.

Or let's take the interview. Anyone who thinks extensively beforehand about how they will behave, what they would like to heed or refrain from going into the job pitch with a higher chance of success. So it's not just about the content, more about that How and When and If.

  • What do i want to say
  • What do I want to do better than last time?
  • What is important to the interviewer?
  • What could he ask?
  • How do I make a good impression?

These learning techniques will also help you

From the memory palace to the loci method: all the techniques that can help you on the way to one with asterisks:

This is how metacognition helps with learning

Especially important for schoolchildren and students: Those who regularly think about learning (and not just about the subject matter) improve their performance. This is what Stanford scientists found out in the following experiment with students.

One half of the subjects was given a questionnaire seven to ten days before an exam. In it the students were asked about the upcoming Thinking about work. About the grade they were aiming for, how important a good grade was to them and how likely it was to achieve this goal.

From a list of 15 possible answers, the students chose those Tools and techniques which would most likely help them further in learning: books, group discussions, private tutoring, etc. Now they should write down why which technology makes sense and how it can best be used.

The other half of the subjects received just a notification with the note that the exam is coming up in a week and that you should prepare for it.

Important: Both groups were previously in their achievements about the same. Their expectations were also met - for example with regard to the desired grades.

Result: The students who had previously reflected scored significantly better. Their grades were on average a third better.

Main finding of the study: It is extremely important to set goals and think carefully about what resources are used to achieve these goals. Metacognitive skills, then.

By the way: The experiment could certainly also be institutionalized in school or university. Teachers and lecturers who send reminders to their pupils or students shortly before exams - perhaps a useful support measure.

The British Educational Endowment Foundation counts metacognition as one of the two most effective learning strategies (the other is Feedback). Weak and older students in particular would benefit.

In another experiment, 12- and 13-year-olds were able to improve their writing skills tremendously after being asked to reflect on their own achievements. They were shown what makes a good essay, how they themselves control, improve and practice self-criticism could - with success.

Further advantages: Metacognition is easy to use - and cheap. Everyone can use it without exception: pupils, teachers, parents, students, professors, bosses, employees.

Learning technique checklist: tips for exams

Think metacognitively about the exam - how can that actually work? For example like this:

  1. ID: Which parts of the topic are important and which are less?
  2. Classification: How much time do I plan for which lesson? What can I do in what time?
  3. sequence: In which one do I go through the material? Suggestion: First things first - or the simplest.
  4. understanding: Do I understand everything? What can I do to understand what I did not understand?
  5. query: how do I check my progress and knowledge most effectively?
  6. post processing: What did I do well and what less well? What should I change with a view to the next exam?

7 questions that will help you

  • What do I want to achieve?
  • What should i start with?
  • Does this task resemble one I have already done before?
  • Am I on the right path?
  • What can I do differently?
  • Who can I ask for help?
  • Can I apply this to other situations?

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[Photo Credit: Dean Drobot by Shutterstock.com]