Metacognition

How Metacognition, Thinking About Thinking, Can Help Your Life

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Students study with their laptop computers in the Pedagogical Library at the Freie Universitaet university on September 20, 2011 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Metacognition, thinking about how you think, has been shown to help students improve their grades. Stanford University researchers published a new study that outlines a 15-minute thinking hack that led to an average improvement of one third of a letter grade for the participants.

The research stems from the insight that while many resources are provided by educational institutions, students don’t always know how to use them effectively. Patricia Chen, a postdoctoral research fellow who led the study, hypothesized that if students were made more self-reflective about how they approach their studies and the available resources, they could do better.

“Blind effort alone, without directing that effort in an effective manner, doesn’t always get you to where you want to go,” said Chen.

The team conducted two experiments using a “Strategic Resource Use” intervention they designed, which combines educational and social psychological theories.

For the experiments, the control group, which consisted of half the class, received just a regular reminder of a statistics exam…