Recall/Retrieve


This is any process by which you try to draw out the information you’ve previously stored. 

  • Soon after leaving class, quiz yourself to see if you can remember the most important points of the lesson
  • Read a passage in your text, then close the book and quiz yourself on what you’ve read.
  • Turn statements in your book/notes into questions and try to answer them.
  • Make flash cards for the new vocabulary words, but try to recall the definition rather than just looking it up.
  • Construct a table, chart or Venn diagram to compare and contrast similar ideas.

Reading and re-reading your notes/book are not active processes!  To learn something well, it is critical that you find a way to use or otherwise engage in the learning.  You must get past memorizing facts and begin to develop meaning for the new material and connect it to previous knowledge.  

When taking notes make sure you put ideas into your own words.  Some students struggle with this, especially in the classroom where they feel pressured to get down everything quickly.  If your professor doesn’t upload notes or audio/video recordings of the lecture to D2L, ask if you can record the lecture yourself.  This will give you the ability to go back and hear the lesson again and you can take the time to put your notes into your own words.  Some students recopy their notes after class, this is also a prime opportunity to use your own words.

Vocabulary is always important, so be sure to look up any unfamiliar words and learn to use them (find synonyms and antonyms to help you hone in on the correct usage).  If you don’t find a way to create meaning for the new material, if you don’t find a way to “own” it and examine it from many different angles, you’ll be confused when the professor uses different terminology in class or on the test.