Study Strategies Are Associated with Performance in Basic Science Courses in the Medical Curriculum

John A. McNulty, David C. Ensminger, Amy E. Hoyt, Arcot J. Chandrasekhar, Gregory Gruener, Baltazar Espiritu


We investigated the study strategies of first and second year medical students and tested the associations between study habits and performances in their basic science courses. Upon completion of every basic science course, students completed a survey ranking the study strategies they utilized throughout each course. Results of a principle component analysis showed that study strategies clustered into one of three study factors: “rote” learning, “constructive” learning, or “review” learning. Each of these study factors comprised related study strategies. Students tended to use “constructive” strategies predominantly, but altered their study habits based on content delivered in specific courses. Trends emerged indicating negative correlations for “rote” learning and course performance whereas there were positive correlations for “constructive” learning and course performance. Courses where “constructive” learning had the greatest effects also tended to have the greatest number of questions that required “constructive” reasoning on the final exam.

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Journal of Education and Learning   ISSN 1927-5250 (Print)   ISSN 1927-5269 (Online)


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