With exam season approaching, I thought it would be beneficial to discuss a particular technique I see a lot of people using for their revision, that isn’t the most constructive to rely on. Many people use what is known as the “jellybean technique” which is a reward-system that encourages you to put some jellybeans or other form of confectionery every 20-30 textbook pages, so that when you reach that page, you get them as a reward. This allegedly encourages you to stay focused and motivated to revise.
However, whilst this is partially true, this is actually a highly ineffective revision technique. Researchers at MIT have suggested that even when completing tasks that are incredibly menial, and require very little cognitive ability, such as stacking crates on top of one another, using a reward system reduces motivation and effective working.
The issue is that whilst you may very well become motivated and encouraged to work through the textbook, your motivation comes from your desire to obtain the reward. In turn, this means that there is far less focus on the actual content you are revising and taking in, and more focus on getting a form of gratification. It’s a good idea to refrain from using a reward system when revising because it can lower the amount of information you retain, making the time spent revising an inefficient waste.
Instead, you should focus on the reward that comes in the long run: your grades. Whilst your grades do not define you and are not in correlation to your self-worth, it’s still important to try your hardest to get the best grades you possibly can. Instead of thinking about chocolate when revising, think about how great you’ll feel getting the grades you wanted at the end. This is more likely to encourage you to focus on the revision materials and use your time effectively to ensure you retain the information, as it will all pay off in the long run!