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Science library of Upper Lusatia in Görlitz, Germany. Credit: Ralf Roletschek, via Wikimedia Commons


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In this metacognition section, you’ll learn how to choose metaphors that empower your learning process, use an app to celebrate positive habits, write a meaningful letter to your future self, and more.

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Tips from Our Learning Specialists

  • Give yourself permission to let go of strategies you’ve been taught that don’t work for you, as well as strategies that worked in the past but don’t measure up today.
  • Pay attention to what is working, and designate time to do more of that. 
  • Consider reserving time on your calendar for reflective practices such as reviewing the progress of short-term and long-term goals.
  • Metacognition is about getting to know yourself and implementing the learning approaches that make you more efficient, confident, and at home.
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Additional Resources at Stanford

  • Sign up for a drop-in session with us! With a Learning Lab Learning Specialist, you can talk about these strategies in more depth, personalize the approaches to suit your needs, and be supported as you practice.
  • Academic Skills Coaching


  • Gutierrez, A. P., & Schraw, G. (2015). Effects of strategy training and incentives on students’ performance, confidence, and calibration. The Journal of Experimental Education, 83(3), 386-404. Read the article here. 
    • Good academic performance, high confidence, and being well-calibrated (your judgments of your learning predict what you actually learned) are all desirable outcomes for any student. Research illustrates that receiving skills training around the self-regulation of learning can positively impact one’s performance, confidence, and calibration accuracy from pre-test to post-test. Importantly, this research suggests that students can improve their metacognitive skills by participating in academic strategy trainings.
  • Soto, C., Gutiérrez de Blume, A. P., Jacovina, M., McNamara, D., Benson, N., & Riffo, B. (2019). Reading comprehension and metacognition: The importance of inferential skills. Cogent Education, 6(1), 1565067. Read the article here.
    • Generating inferences is an important reading skill because not all information in a text is explicitly stated. In the first study, this research had students rate their metacognitive reading knowledge (planning; monitoring; evaluation) and measured how this related to answering questions about the reading. In the second study, this research had students predict how well they would do on answering questions about the text (a metacognitive task) to determine whether metacognition was an important factor. The results of these studies showed that students with higher metacomprehension tended to perform significantly better on answering inferential questions about the text they just read. These findings suggest that students who struggle with extracting important information when reading could benefit from targeting training around planning their reading, monitoring their knowledge, and evaluating their knowledge when reading.
  • Young, A., & Fry, J. D. (2008). Metacognitive awareness and academic achievement in college students. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 8(2), 1-10. Read the article here. 
    • The Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (MAI) measures the two main components of metacognition; metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive regulation. In this study, college students took the MAI and their academic achievement for the semester was assessed.  The results showed that metacognitive knowledge and regulation was related to their overall GPA and their current semester course grades. The main takeaway here is that metacognition appears to have a positive association with academic success and is a viable area to address to improve academic performance. Additionally, the MAI is an effective assessment of one’s metacognition.