State of the Art Analysis


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WHY is Rote Memorization STILL used by Stanford premeds? There are more EFFECTIVE, TIME-SAVING, and ENJOYABLE memorization strategies out there.

An Analysis of the Problem through the Lens of BJ Fogg’s (@bjfogg) Behavior Model (

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State of the Art Analysis

  1. 1. WHY is Rote Memorization STILL used by Stanfordpremeds? There are more EFFECTIVE, TIME-SAVING,and ENJOYABLE memorization strategies out there.An Analysis of the Problem through the Lens of BJ Fogg’s(@bjfogg) Behavior Model ( (2)  
  2. 2. Rote Memorization Effective Memorization Strategies Defined: Defined: * PASSIVE learning where you * ACTIVE learning where you create simply read and re-read the desired associations with things you already information to be memorized. know The Good: The Good: * Gets the job done * Drastically reduces the time spent * Already a routine – students’ go to memorizing versus rote memorization, strategy GREATLY reducing pre-exam stress and anxiety. * Increases the ability to retain the information for the long term (remember ROYGBIV?) The Bad: The Bad: * Extremely time consuming * Most people do not use these effective * Not as effective at retaining information techniques. * Mentally draining (“soul-sucking” as * Some people do not even know about one interviewee put it) these strategies * Longer time spent cramming = more * If they do find out, they only passively stress, anxiety, unhappiness read about them, but are NOT TRIGGERED to actively use them.So, what are some of these “effective memorization techniques?”
  3. 3. Mnemonics•  Range from simple mnemonics like Acronyms –  Remember ROYGBIV?•  To more intricate, yet extremely effective, mnemonics like Memory Palaces –  Associating places with sequenced ideas •  Ex: Associating the info you need to memorize with different landmarks on a walk through Stanford
  4. 4. “Study Hacks” by Cal Newport (3)  A popular blog about specific strategies college students can use to excel in their classes. To dohis research, Cal interviewed hundreds of Phi Beta Kappa’s from the nation’s top universities. Some Strategies: Story-Telling Method ( An active learning strategy where you pretend to lecture out loud to a class. Research shows that if you can explain it to someone else, you will remember it better. Stealth Studying ( Carrying study guides with you throughout the quarter, quickly reviewing when you have 10 minute-breaks in your day. At the end of the quarter, there is no need for week-long study sessions. Adventure Studying ( Get out of the building and study in nature. Who says you need to study for 10 hours straight in your room?
  5. 5. “Holistic Learning” By Scott Young•  “Learning Through Relationships”•  Essentially connecting everything (using metaphors, visualizations) you learn into one large web, so that all ideas and subjects are interwoven. For  more  info:  h"p://  
  6. 6. …And the list goes on. So with all these memorization strategies shown to make studying less time consuming and less soul-sucking, WHY are Stanford Premeds STILL using rote memorization?Lets Look At BJ Fogg’s (@bjfogg) Behavior Model for Answers
  7. 7. The Behavior Model: Behavior occurs when motivation, ability, anda trigger act at the same moment. If one of these is missing, thebehavior does NOT occur. (more info at
  8. 8. Behavior: Using Rote Memorization to Study for Big Exams Students have HIGH motivation to study because they are fearful of bad grades Students have LOW ability to study because memorizing this way is HARD to do: it is time consuming and very mentally draining. HOWEVER, it is already a routine, so people know how to do it. Students are TRIGGERED to study this way by time deadlinesThis behavior lives at the red dot: barely above the activation threshold, but because it isTRIGGERED, the behavior OCCURS in students.
  9. 9. Behavior: Using More Effective Memorization Strategies to Study for Big Exams Students have HIGH motivation to study because they are fearful of bad grades Memorizing this way is EASIER: it is less time consuming, requires less mental effort, BUT it is NOT a routine - people have never done it before. This behavior lies well above the “Trigger Activation Threshold”, BUT it is NOT triggered. This behavior lives at the red dot. It is well above the activation threshold, BUT because it is NOT TRIGGERED in students, the behavior NEVER OCCURS
  10. 10. Current Problems: Why is this happening?1)  Students passively read or hear about better memorization strategies, but when it comes time to study, they are NOT TRIGGERED to put them into effect, and therefore don’t put them into use.OR2) Students simply have not heard of these strategies before, and need to be triggered to learn about them and use them.
  11. 11. Moving Forward: What Now?Goal: Get Stanford premeds to use more effective, lessstressful memorization strategiesHow? I need to find the simplest behavior that will getthem started, and then TRIGGER them to do thisbehavior.One Idea to Induce a Simple Behavior: Send texts (atrigger) to students telling them to use a simple mnemonic(such as an acronym) to memorize ANYTHING theylearned in a lecture today.
  12. 12. Works Cited•  1) Special thanks to BJ Fogg for allowing me to use his Behavior Model in this presentation. See for more information.•  2)•  3)
  13. 13. Contact InfoMessage  me  on  Twi5er:  @amar6nsu13