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Retrieval Practice

11-March 2023

Retrieval practice is a powerful learning technique that involves recalling information from memory. This technique has been shown to be highly effective in improving long-term retention of knowledge and is increasingly being used in a wide range of places. If you ask your child about the start of their Science lessons at school, they will hopefully have some experience in this already. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of retrieval practice and how it can be implemented within tuition classes.

What is retrieval practice?

Retrieval practice involves recalling information from memory as a way to reinforce learning. This technique can be used in a variety of ways, such as by taking practice tests, answering quiz questions, or recalling information from memory. The act of retrieval itself strengthens the connections between different pieces of information in the brain, making it easier to recall the information in the future.

Why is retrieval practice effective?

Evidence supports that retrieval practice is highly effective for several reasons. First, it engages the brain in a process of active learning, rather than simply passively reviewing information. This active engagement with the material makes it more likely that the information will be retained over the long term.

Secondly, retrieval practice strengthens the connections between different pieces of information in the brain. By recalling information from memory, the brain is forced to retrieve related information from other parts of the brain, strengthening the connections between those pieces of information.

Finally, retrieval practice is highly efficient. By focusing on recalling information from memory, rather than reviewing the material repeatedly, students can learn more effectively in less time.

How is retrieval practice implemented within tuition classes?

Retrieval practice can be easily implemented within tuition classes in a variety of ways. Here are a few ways in which Sinclair Education supports learning through retrieval practice within our online classes:

  1. Start each session with a quick quiz: Begin each tuition session with a short quiz or set of questions that students must answer from memory. This will engage students in the process of retrieval practice and help to reinforce the material from previous sessions.

  2. Use flashcards: Create flashcards with key terms, concepts, or definitions and have students recall the information from memory. Flashcards can be easily integrated into tuition sessions and are a highly effective way to reinforce learning.

  3. Practice test-taking: Provide students with practice tests that simulate the format and content of actual exams. This will help students to become more familiar with the types of questions they are likely to encounter on exams and will reinforce learning through retrieval practice.

  4. Incorporate spaced repetition: Spaced repetition involves revisiting material at increasing intervals over time. By incorporating spaced repetition into tuition sessions, students will engage in multiple rounds of retrieval practice, which will help to reinforce learning and improve long-term retention.


Retrieval practice is a highly effective learning technique that can be easily implemented within tuition classes. By engaging students in the process of recalling information from memory, tutors can help students to reinforce learning, improve long-term retention, and become more efficient learners. Incorporating retrieval practice into tuition sessions is a simple yet highly effective way to help students achieve academic success.


Karpicke, J. D., & Roediger, H. L. (2008). The critical importance of retrieval for learning. Science, 319(5865), 966-968.

Roediger, H. L., & Butler, A. C. (2011). The critical role of retrieval practice in long-term retention. Trends in cognitive sciences, 15(1), 20-27.

Rohrer, D., & Taylor, K. (2006). The effects of overlearning and distributed practice on the retention of mathematics knowledge. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 20(9), 1209-1224.

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