Do secondary school students make use of effective study strategies when they study on their own?

Kim Josefina Hubertina Dirkx*, Gino Camp, Liesbeth Kester, Paul Arthus Kirschner

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    11 Citations (Web of Science)


    Although there is a large body of evidence for the utility of particular study strategies such as retrieval practice and distributed practice as memory-enhancing instruments, they are seldom used by learners in educational practice. Thus far, the research on the use of these study strategies has focused only on undergraduate university students, oftentimes only investigating a set of predefined strategies. The question, thus, remains whether these results are generalisable to secondary school students. The present study is the first to explore the use of different study strategies by secondary school students. With the use of an open question, 316 secondary school students from three different secondary school levels were asked how they prepare for an exam when they are studying by themselves. The results show that secondary school students use study strategies considered to be suboptimal. In the discussion, we compare our findings with results of previous studies among undergraduate university students.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)952-957
    Number of pages6
    JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
    Issue number5
    Early online date21 Jun 2019
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


    • effective study strategies
    • learning
    • memory
    • retrieval practice
    • secondary school students


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