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Putting recall to work

I recently studied for an assessment for a six-month class. The class provided great review materials but reviewing is not the same as learning. One of the tricks I learned from the online course Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects is closing your book after studying and writing down everything that you can remember. If you are a Duolingo fan, they encourage learners to do the same thing after a lesson.

So, I pulled out my index cards and wrote down all the key concepts for each of the 10 modules. Turns out I remembered a lot. However, passing the assessment required a greater level of detail. I reviewed and then tried to recall as much as I could.

And lo and behold, it worked! I could recall–with detail!–one of the sections that had been an ongoing struggle—finally!!

Here are the basics of recall practice:

  • Creating questions on the topic you are trying to learn. If you have study guide questions, you can use those!

  • Test yourself repeatedly on the questions.

  • By forcing yourself to recall the information, you ensure that you are actively learning it instead of passively reading it.

Here are some resources:


Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash