Boost Your Memory By Testing Yourself, Not Re-Reading

Boost Your Memory By Testing Yourself, Not Re-Reading

There’s a reason why practise tests are so effective. If you need to memorise something quickly for a presentation or interview, create a list of questions and test yourself to boost your memory.

Picture: Klearchos Kapoutsis/Flickr

Authors Jeffrey D. Karpicke and Henry L. Roediger III explain:

Repeated studying after learning had no effect on delayed recall, but repeated testing produced a large positive effect. In addition, students’ predictions of their performance were uncorrelated with actual performance. The results demonstrate the critical role of retrieval practice in consolidating learning and show that even university students seem unaware of this fact.

When you reinforce your memories by testing them, they get much stronger than if you simply re-read a passage. Don’t waste your time trying to re-read rules or textbooks in order to memorise them (see: Ebbinghaus forgetting curve). Test yourself to bolster your memory.

The Critical Importance of Retrieval for Learning [Science via BBC]


  • And one of the best ways to test yourself is to try and explain it to someone else.
    If you get stuck on a point you don’t understand or start relying on parroting back memorized facts, you’ll realize you aren’t 100% on your understanding, pretty quickly.

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