According to research, the study strategies below are often listed among the best—and Problem Roulette can help you use them all.
Research shows the more streaks you have in a study session, the better you will do on exams. Streaks are getting 2 or more questions right in a row, but longer streaks are even better.
Study More Questions
Study volume is the number of questions you’ve answered for this course. Aim for 400 or about 25 a week.
Space Out Your Studying
People know cramming is bad, but they still do it, probably for reasons related to time management, organization, or motivation. If you’re interested, explore your own reasons and learn some new strategies. Or watch this video on why spacing is important.
Alternating topics (or interleaving) when you study helps you get better at choosing the right strategy to solve problems and see connections between concepts. (Note: we’re not talking about multitasking!) Check out this video on why interleaving is important.
Learning feels like exercise for your brain. If it doesn’t feel like hard work, chances are you’re not learning. Read more about testing yourself or test anxiety. Watch this video about why testing yourself is important.
Discuss With Others
When you can explain something to someone else, it means you really understand it. Problem Roulette helps you do just that.
Learn More About Streaks
You can think of “getting streaks” as “studying with effort.”
Try to do what it takes to get the next question correct:
- Double-check your work
- Compare to the textbook
- Talk to a classmate
- Don’t skip or guess—really try to work the problem out
In an individual study session, you might try a question more than once. If your first try is wrong, it would break a streak (even if you try again and get it right).
Learn More About Study Volume
The more questions you answer, the better you will do on exams.
- Research shows that students who study 400 questions over the term experience the largest gains from practice.
- This is true, whether your answers are correct or incorrect.
- Students who study 400 questions over the term get better grades than what their ACT/SAT scores would predict.
- Even if your course has less than 400 questions, answering the same questions more than once helps.
- We'll count all of the times you click "Try again" toward your 400 question goal.
How Problem Roulette Can Help You Avoid Cramming
Schedule study times
Consider one of these, depending on what works best for you:
- Set up 3 or more time blocks in your calendar each week to study topics in Problem Roulette.
- Mentally assign free blocks for review—like “I’ll review Chem during my free afternoon block on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.”
Review often at first and then spread it out
- When you first learn a topic, it's best to review it often (every day or several times a week).
- Over time, space your review of that topic over longer intervals to improve your recall over longer periods of time. Check out the study of optimizing schedules of retrieval practice by Rawson and Dunlosky of Kent State.
Examples & Tips for Interleaving
Two Examples of Interleaving
- Instead of studying for physics for 3 hours straight, study for physics for 1 hour, do chemistry homework for an hour, and then go back to physics studying.
- Say you have a stats test coming up. Practice probability, then switch to sample mean, then go back to probability.
How Problem Roulette Can Help You Interleave
Choose multiple topics when you study in Problem Roulette (usually)
- There may be times when you want to study one topic—like when you’re first learning it or if it’s one you’re struggling with.
- But most of the time, you’ll want to choose more than one topic when you study and Problem Roulette will randomly give you questions from the topics you choose.
Try not to skip questions
Give each question a try especially if it’s something you’re not as good at. The exception is any question you haven’t or won’t cover in class.
Track your analytics
Problem Roulette will keep track of your accuracy for each topic. That way, you’ll know what you need to practice more.
You don’t have to give every topic equal time
- It’s ok to spend more time on material that you think you’re most likely to forget.
- It’s also good to spend more time on topics that you’ll have to use over and over throughout the term.
How Problem Roulette Can Help You Test Yourself
Use the “Individual Mode” while you’re learning or reviewing content.
It’s low stress—no points, no social pressure, and no time constraints. This study mode still counts as "testing yourself" (even though it's not an exam) because you'll practice recalling information as you would for an exam.
Use “Exam Mode” to see if you’re ready for an exam.
We suggest something like this:
- Diagnose: Two weeks or so before an exam, take a practice test to see how each topic feels. Consider it a diagnosis of what you need to study more.
- Review your weaker topics.
- Verify: After you've reviewed your weaker topics again, take another practice exam to make sure you're ready for the real thing.
Take practice exams like they’re real
- Use only the resources you're allowed on the real exam and nothing more.
- Make your practice exam match the real exam in terms of the topics it covers, the numbers of questions in each topic, and the time you'll have to take it.
- Turn off other distractions.
- Keep scratch paper nearby while you work through the problems.
How Problem Roulette Can Help You Study With Others
Choose “Group Mode”
- Choose this mode when you start a study session and invite people to study with you.
- Here are 6 tips for creating effective study groups.
Work at your own pace
Problem Roulette waits until everyone has answered, but try not to let this rush you. Everyone needs to work the problems out for themselves, and allowing time for this will lead to valuable discussions. Consider setting this as a group norm.
Discuss after each problem
Once everyone answers, discuss your approaches. If you're not together in person, you can discuss over a video call (like Zoom) or using the chat feature in Problem Roulette.