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Retrieval Practice

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Retrieval Practice is deliberate and systematic recall practice to help move ideas, concepts, and skills into working memory.


To combat learning loss and increase long-term learning durability, implement regular metacognition and reflection strategies that require students to think about what they know. Common considerations for retrieval practice activities include:

  • Self-quizzing: students ask themselves and answer questions about key concepts, terms and vocabulary, or skills.
  • Flashcards: students create flashcards on topics then review individually or in pairs.
  • Think-Pair-Share: students reflect, then discuss in partners, then share with the group or class.
  • Consider these other retrieval practice activities: Braindump, Spaced Practice, Expert Practice, and Walk & Talk.

Retrieval Practice is effective when students are regularly thinking about what they know, but the benefits of such practice are reduced when activities are branded as assessment as opposed to practice.


Consider four more Retrieval Practice strategies at

Read more about retrieval practice and other metacognition considerations in The Metacognition Guide.

Watch a demonstration about why retrieval practice improves learning from author Pooja Agarwal below:


Watch another concise explanation from here:

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