When preparing for the MCAT exam, a student begins studying electrochemical cells. He learns the basic information needed by actively relating it to previous information he has learned about redox reactions. He then builds from that knowledge to learn the advanced concepts needed. The student’s process is best characterized as:
B) A network model
C) Maintenance rehearsal
D) Elaborative rehearsal
The student is learning new information by actively relating it to old information he previously learned. This describes the elaborative rehearsal process of learning new information (and is, incidentally, one of the best ways to study for the MCAT). Thus (D) is the correct answer.
A: Chunking is a way of mentally dividing information into discrete whole chunks of information, thus reducing the overall number of things to be memorized. For example, phone numbers are chunked into area code, exchange, and ending 4 digit number. For someone learning the phone number of a neighbor (who would have the same area code and exchange), chunking the information this way makes it much easier to remember.
B: The network model describes one theory about how information is stored in the brain once it has been memorized. The situation described in the question discusses the processes of memorizing new information (encoding), rather that the storage itself.
C: Maintenance rehearsal is learning something through brute repetition, with no attempt to understand meaning or actively relate the information to previous memories.