STUDENT SUCCESS & Research Shows Repeated Testing Enhances Learning

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: This research shows that students remembered more if they are subject to a test after they’ve learned something rather than simply trying to memorize the concepts. So, giving information followed by a test (which is designed to make them think about how to apply the information) is the best way to foster learning.

“Strengthening concept learning by repeated testing” by Carola Wiklund-Hörnqvist,1 Bert Jonsson,1 and Lars Nyberg2 Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 2014 Feb; 55(1): 10–16.


The aim of this study was to examine whether repeated testing with feedback benefits learning compared to rereading of introductory psychology key-concepts in an educational context. The testing effect was examined immediately after practice, after 18 days, and at a five-week delay in a sample of undergraduate students (n = 83). The results revealed that repeated testing with feedback significantly enhanced learning compared to rereading at all delays, demonstrating that repeated retrieval enhances retention compared to repeated encoding in the short- and the long-term. In addition, the effect of repeated testing was beneficial for students irrespectively of working memory capacity. It is argued that teaching methods involving repeated retrieval are important to consider by the educational system.

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