Best Practice

Exam preparation: Retrieval practice and interleaving

Research shows that two of the most effective revision and study techniques are those of retrieval practice and interleaving. John Dabell looks at what the various academic studies can tell us

Many students do not know how to study effectively and often rely on time-consuming techniques or approaches that do not promote longer term learning and retention.

As Taylor (2017) points out, when left their own devices, students are over-reliant on “bamboo revision strategies”, those techniques that have “pitifully low neurological value” – such as re-reading their notes, highlighting key details and summarising (see also Cohen, 2013). They also avoid a “practice, practice, practice” regime.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when learning how to effectively study, but there are some techniques that have been proven to work better than others. It is these evidence-based methods based on decades of learning science research that we need to tap into.

Register now, read forever

Thank you for visiting SecEd and reading some of our content for professionals in secondary education. Register now for free to get unlimited access to all content.

What's included:

  • Unlimited access to news, best practice articles and podcast

  • New content and e-bulletins delivered straight to your inbox every Monday and Thursday


Already have an account? Sign in here