By Katie Azevedo, M.Ed.
In a recent YouTube video I made about the Feynman Technique, I briefly spoke about the blurting method as a study strategy. Since then, I’ve been asked to talk more about how to use the blurting method to study.
In this blog post, I teach you how to use the blurting method as part of your study plan.
What is the Blurting Method?
The blurting method is a study technique that can help you spot gaps in your comprehension so that you can go back and study those gaps.
The blurting method is a great strategy to use at the beginning and end of your study plan.
In other words, if it’s Monday and you’re studying for a test on Friday, I suggest using the blurting method on Monday (when you start studying) and Thursday (near the end of your studying).
How to Use the Blurting Method to Study
The steps to the blurting method are simple. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. The blurting method is an active recall strategy, which can be intense. However, active recall is the most effective study method that exists.
How the Blurting Method Works in a Nutshell
Pick a topic and write down (blurt) all you can think of about the topic. When you’re done, compare your blurt to your notes or textbook and see what you missed or got wrong. Then go study that.
The Blurting Method Steps Explained
1. Get Your Notes in Order
The blurting method works best when you’re organized. Before you begin, gather your notes and make sure they’re in good shape. (Are they complete? Are they organized? Are they accurate?) Get any other resources you might need, such as your textbook, class handouts, etc. Here are my top tips for organizing your notes.
2. Choose a Topic
With the blurting method, you work with one topic at a time, so pick one topic to start with. For example, if your test is on the French Revolution of the eighteenth century, you could pick Napoleon or the Storming of Bastille.
3. Write Down (Blurt) Everything You Know About The Topic
Without looking at your notes or any resources, dig as deep as you can into your memory and write down everything related to your topic. Leave nothing out. Don’t worry about the order of what you’re writing down – just put it all on the paper.
4. Compare Your Blurt to Your Notes
After you’ve blurted as much as you can, it’s time to check your comprehension. Compare what you wrote down to what’s in your notes or textbook. If you need to, use Google.
In this step of the blurting method, you’re looking for two things in particular:
- Information you totally forgot about
- Information you got wrong
At the bottom of your paper, fill in the missing information and correct your mistakes. See the image below for an example.
5. Study What You Missed
The blurting method is an effective study strategy for two reasons. First, it uses active recall, which means you’re strengthening your comprehension of what you’re learning. Second, it lets you know what you don’t know. Again, many of us spend too much time reviewing information that we’re comfortable with because doing that feels good and safe. But, the magic happens when focus on what we don’t know.
For this step of the blurting method, you have some choices for how to study the information you don’t yet know. You could:
Final Notes About Using the Blurting Method to Study
As I wrote at the beginning of this tutorial, the blurting method is a great strategy to use when you first start studying for a test, as well as at the end, right before your test.
When you use the blurting method in the beginning, you give yourself a chance to figure out what you don’t know, which is a great way to study less (because you’re focused on the right material). Also, when you use the blurting method as part of your final review before a test, you refresh all the material in your mind and make absolute certain that you can recall everything you need to about a topic.