Making knowledge stick

How and why retrieval practice improves results

Retrieval Practice: free guide

In the jam-packed, knowledge-rich curriculum, covering all the content can be a struggle. Even the best taught topics can be entirely forgotten in a matter of weeks, leaving students struggling when it comes to exam time.

It is for this reason that many teachers have started adopting retrieval practice (sometimes known as the testing effect): using the science behind the way our brains store information to ensure their students can recall much more, for much longer.

Get the guide

To help you understand and implement retrieval practice, we have created a free guide which introduces the research behind the practice and the most effective methods for using it to enhance teaching in your department.

Read this guide if you want to:

  • Find out why your students forget so much of what they are taught
  • Develop strategies to ensure that learning is stored in students' long-term memory
  • Improve your students' knowledge retention and exam performance

Read time: 10 minutes

Fill in this form to download the guide:
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The sooner that students adopt retrieval practice as part of their study strategy repertoire, and teachers do the same as part of their teaching repertoire, the sooner they can reap the rewards of more efficient and more effective long-term learning.

Pooja K. Agarwal et al (2014), Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition


Implementing retrieval practice with Doddle

We know that implementing new strategies in your department can be a difficult task.

If you want to reap the rewards of retrieval practice without putting extra workload on your teachers, see how Doddle's self-marking quizzes and online assignment tools can help.


By submitting your details you agree that we will add you to the group of teachers we email from time to time about Doddle and related products. You can unsubscribe from these communications at any time by clicking the 'Unsubscribe' link.

Photo credit: “Students in a science lesson” © DGLimages