(HigherEducating.com) – If you’re like many college students, you’re probably used to shoving large amounts of information into your brain in a short period of time. Midterms and final exams can be rigorous, and sometimes you may not even know what types of questions to expect from them.
The challenge is that absorbing class information by just reading over your notes a few times can be unreliable. Luckily, there’s an easier and faster way to retain information from your textbook and notes — active recall.
What Is Active Recall?
Have you ever studied the night before a test by reading over your notes? Did you then walk into class the next day, look at the exam and forget everything you read? It’s more common than you might think, and no worries — there’s nothing wrong with your brain. It’s your approach to studying that could probably use a little work.
Active recall is a process of remembering information that involves reading a piece of information and then trying to recall it from your own head. Instead of simply going over the facts again and again, you try to reflect on what you’ve just read without looking at the notes. This forces your brain to work harder, and it can often help you move important bits of information from short-term to long-term memory storage.
Research has suggested that active recall and retrieval practice can help with long-term retention. For example, a study report in 2008 explored the value of retrieval practice in educational settings, while another article used evidence from multiple studies to advocate for the use of retrieval practice in classroom settings. More recent publications have also supported these claims.
How Active Recall Can Help You Ace the Next Exam
This approach to learning may be effective because it’s such an active form of learning. If you’re looking to refine your study methods, active recall could help you get the grades you want. Here’s how.
The next time you sit down to study, try this instead of reading over your notes all at once. You might consider picking out some of the most important details first. Read out a relevant piece of information that you expect to be on the test.
Then, sit back and think about what you read. Can you repeat it back to yourself? If not, that’s a good opportunity to go back and reread the information until you can repeat it without help. Once you can do that, you may be more likely to remember what you need to know during the exam.
By making active recall a part of your study routine, you can retain more information and feel more confident going into your exams. You may even ace the next test with enough diligence and hard work!
~Here’s to Your Success!
Copyright 2020, HigherEducating.com