The Benefits of Active Recall for Learning
Active recall is one of the most effective study techniques for improving memory and learning. It involves trying to recall information from memory without looking at your notes or textbooks.
Here are some of the main benefits of using active recall to study:
- It strengthens memory storage and retrieval. By forcing yourself to recall information, you're strengthening the connections in your brain that store and access that information.
- It helps you identify gaps in your knowledge. When you struggle to recall something, it shows you what you need to study more.
- It simulates real-life retrieval. In the real world, you have to recall information from memory to use it, so active recall prepares you for that.
- It improves long-term retention. Information that you can actively recall is more likely to stay in your long-term memory.
- It boosts confidence. Being able to recall what you've studied on your own helps build confidence in your knowledge and abilities.
Some ways to practice active recall include:
- Covering notes and trying to recall facts, definitions, processes, etc.
- Using flashcards and trying to recall the answer without looking.
- Explaining concepts to someone else without referring to notes.
- Quizzing yourself or having a study partner quiz you.
The more frequently and consistently you practice active recall, the greater the benefits will be for your learning and memory. So don't just re-read or highlight - test yourself and try to recall as much as you can from memory.