What is Cognitive Load?
“Cognitive load” relates to the amount of information that your working memory can hold at one time.
Since working memory has a limited capacity, the most effective instructional methods avoid overloading it with activities that don’t directly contribute to learning.
Example of Cognitive Overload
Take a few seconds to look at the website below. What do you notice? Where is your attention drawn? Can you focus?
Studying and Cognitive Load
When too much information is presented we have difficulty retaining the information and storing it in our memory.
When we try to retain too much information or attempt multiple tasks at once we become stressed, overloaded, anxious, and cannot learn effectively.
How Can You Minimize Your Cognitive Load?
Tip 1: Understand your learning style.
If you are studying in a way that best matches your learning style, your brain won’t have to work as hard! (Do this at the beginning of your studying).
Tip 2: Focus on one topic at a time.
Avoid jumping between different topics and sections of the exam. Focus on one topic at a time and reduce “context switching costs”.
Tip 3: Read the question slowly and identify key information.
Questions often have a lot of information. Read it slowly to let your brain process and identify the key information (and mark it if that helps!)
Tip 4: Eliminate Distractions.
Utilize the “focus” function on your phone. Silence incoming calls, avoid social media, and turn off push notifications. Exit out of non-relevant tabs on your computer and keep your study space “clean”.
Tip 5: Avoid Multitasking.
You need full brainpower! Avoid doing multiple things at once as it will split your attention. Set aside 90 min to 2 hours to fully commit to studying.
Signs You’re At Your Cognitive Capacity
- Difficulty understanding or retaining information
- “1000-yard stare”
- Smaller tasks or decisions seem overwhelming
- Your motivation begins to decline quickly
How Minimizing Cognitive Load Can Lead to ASWB Exam Success
- By minimizing cognitive load during your studies, you’ll be more efficient and have a higher level of information retention
- You’ll be able to study less and retain more, helping you more effectively prepare for the exam
- Increased confidence
You Control Your Cognitive Load!
Using the tips we’ve shared, you can control your cognitive load, which can help you increase your exam performance!
You can do this!
► Learn more about my course here: https://agentsofchangeprep.com/
A little bit about me: I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and I have been providing individualized and group test prep for the ASWB for over four years. From all of this experience helping others pass their exams, I have created a course to help you prepare for and pass the ASWB exam!
Find more from Agents of Change here:
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► Podcast: https://anchor.fm/agents-of-change-sw
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Disclaimer: This video content has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or clinical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.