Secret Trick to Increasing Test Scores

Have you ever walked down the stairs to retrieve something only to forget what it was the moment you got to the last step? How do you remember what you were looking for? Typically people walk back up the stairs and return to the place where they thought of the item in the first place. This is a good instinct, and an example of context-dependent memory. It means that we remember information better when we recall it in the context or location where we acquired it. This concept has been studied since 1930, but it wasn’t fully accepted as a theory until the 1970s.

The Diving Study – Proof of Context-Dependent Memory

Scientists D.R. Godden and A.D. Baddeley conducted a series of tests in 1975 known as the “diving study.” Previously, researchers had found that deep sea divers, upon returning to the surface, forgot a lot of what they had seen while submerged. Godden and Baddeley tested this finding by giving groups of divers a series of nonsense words to learn, both underwater and on land. They then had the divers recall the nonsense words in both locations. In doing so, they found that their recall rate was higher when the test subjects were in the same location where the message had been encoded.

What is Responsible for Context-Dependent Memory?

Although scientists have not yet determined what causes the phenomenon of context-dependent memory, they have traced it to the parts of the brain known as the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex. Research suggests that increased activity occurs in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex when information is recalled in the same place where it was learned.

How to Use Context-Dependent Memory to Your Advantage

As a student, you can use context-dependent memory to your advantage. If you encode or learn information in a certain location, try to attempt recall or take tests in a similar location and set-up. While studying, set up your study area to mimic that of a test-taking situation. For example, sit at a desk and don’t play loud music. If you are going to be taking an online test, study in the same location where you will take the test.

Due to the flexible nature of learning with Mountain Heights Academy, students have the opportunity to use context-dependent memory to their advantage. Quizzes and tests are administered in the same way that study guides, assignments and information are distributed. This is only one benefit of taking online courses from Mountain Heights Academy. Other benefits include flexible schedules, quick responses from teachers and higher standardized test scores.