Retrieval Practice: The Film

In this series of films we take a new and dynamic approach to selling the advantages of study skills to students. This film, the 4th in the series, provides an insight into retrieval practice and how to use it effectively.

Research has shown that we spend most of our free study time re-reading, underlining and highlighting our books and notes. But a problem with passively going over what’s familiar to us is that it can create an illusion of memory, called recognition: a belief that we know something when it’s staring us in the face, but which we can’t recall when it’s no-longer there.

As it won’t be in an exam.

Retrieval practice on the other hand is about trying to recall information when you don’t have it in front of you – and numerous studies have shown how, compared to common student practices like re-reading and underlining notes, it builds stronger, longer-lasting memories.

One of the key characteristics of retrieval practice is that it’s what’s called a desirable difficulty. That is, simply making the effort to retrieve information actually helps to strengthen your memory, making it much more likely that you’ll be able to recall that information at a later date.

The effort of trying to retrieve information creates stronger neural pathways in the brain – which consequently makes for more retrievable memories.

With this in mind the film looks at a number of different ways to practice retrieval – some of which will work for you and some of which may not. The thing here is choosing the strategies and techniques that work best for you and what you’re studying – and engaging in regular, structured, forms of retrieval.

Retrieval Practice is now available to buy – and to see why, take a look at the trailer…

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