The Pascal Method, an Effective Study Technique

Sometimes, children and teenagers fail in their studies because they don't have an effective work technique to help them organize themselves. The Pascal method can be of great help to them and improve their school performance.
The Pascal Method, an Effective Study Technique

Last update: 07 September, 2021

A child’s organization and effective study techniques will be crucial in order for them to achieve good grades or, on the contrary, to suffer from school failure. The Pascal method, named after its founder, José Pascual, can help children to enhance their learning.

As José Pascual used to say, children should “learn to learn“. Sometimes, we forget how important it is for a child to have some study techniques. Without them, they may end up failing. Their method, together with effort, sacrifice, and perseverance, will make children internalize what they learn much more effectively.

“Success is not only obtained with special qualities. It is about working consistency, method and organization.”

-J.P. Sergent-

The Pascal method: Planning, routine, and parental support

Before talking about the Pascal method itself, we need to make it clear that the first thing to do is to plan with the children the time they’re going to dedicate to prepare each subject every day. It’s not enough to do it on the fly or at the last minute; we must write it down on paper and apply it always.

Another thing to take into account is the child’s study place. This has to be a place with good lighting, that’s quiet, and that has all the materials they’ll need arranged in an orderly manner within reach.

These dedicated study times shouldn’t exceed an hour and a half, as learning tends to decline after that time. Therefore, breaks should be taken after an hour and a half of work.

Parents also play an important role: They shouldn’t overwhelm the child, but they shouldn’t disengage either. The aim is for them to be autonomous and never do things for them.

Learning and motivation

When we learn, we all make changes in our knowledge through experience and the studies we acquire. But for optimal learning to take place, these basic conditions must be met:

  1. A desire to learn voluntarily and freely.
  2. The ability to know how to face problems and find solutions to them.
  3. Motivation and interest in learning to reach the goal we want to achieve.
  4. Parental support. If the child’s environment provides security, calm, and harmony, this will be an optimal environment for study and it’ll be easier to carry it out every day.
  5. Early detection of any possible learning, developmental, emotional, or behavioral difficulties. The earlier they’re detected, the less they’ll interfere in their learning.
  6. School. Teachers are also key when it comes to studying and, depending on the didactic methods used by them, they’ll make their contents interesting, or not.
  7. Study methods and techniques to help create a plan for organizing knowledge and time.

What is the Pascal method?

José Pascual, founder of this method, introduced study techniques in Spain 37 years ago and suggested the Pascal method to improve children’s performance. What are the steps to follow with this method?

Pre-reading

Before the teacher teaches a subject, the child should have read it at home so that they know what the teacher’s talking about when they explain it.

Comprehensive reading

Read the syllabus several times and try to understand and memorize it. This is the method that students tend to use alone, but it’s not enough on it’s own.

Underline

After reading comprehensively, the next step is to underline or highlight those relevant aspects of the text that the student has read. Different colors can be used to differentiate the main ideas from the secondary ones.

Summarizing the topics

Here comes the step of reducing the content as much as possible without leaving out anything important from what’s been read. It’s important to use your own words to make it easier to remember. Besides, while you’re writing it down, you’re also reviewing.

Outlining topics

Outlining is another way to reduce the contents. According to José Pascual, it’s easier to organize the ideas if they’re arranged in a hierarchical way because the main and secondary ideas can be seen at a glance by using arrows or brackets.

An adolescent girl studying at her desk in her room.

Mnemonic devices

Mnemonic devices are very useful for remembering dates, names, or sets, relating them through keywords or acronyms.

Review

Once the summaries and outlines are done, it’s time to review all the contents. If this doesn’t take place, the student will forget everything after 24 hours.

Self-assessment

This step consists of taking mock or oral exams or making flashcards with questions and answers to see if the contents have been properly acquired.

Organization

For this technique and others to be successful, it’s essential to be organized and to allocate time appropriately, to prepare a study schedule, and to avoid cramming the day before the exam.

Conclusions regarding the Pascal method

In short, it’s very important to establish good study habits and a place to carry them out from an early age. The Pascal method is very effective and can mark the difference between getting excellent grades or failing.

However, we shouldn’t forget that the method, by itself, does nothing if the student isn’t constant and doesn’t make an effort. By following the steps we’ve seen above, children will achieve their academic goals.

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