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Reviewing learned texts

This article will show you how spending a little time reviewing information after a presentation can help you to vastly improve your recall of that material.

Why review text?

Information learned can be recalled most effectively 10 minutes after that learning has stopped. After this information is lost rapidly, so that after a few months only a tiny percentage can be recalled. By spending a few minutes reviewing material after the learning session, you can quickly refresh your memory, and:  

  • significantly reduce the time needed to relearn the knowledge when you need it,
  • ensure that you have a reasonable basis of knowledge all the time.
  • allow you to improve the quality of future learning, by building on a well-remembered foundation. This allows your mind to make connections and linkages that it would not otherwise make.

The aim of frequently reviewing information is to end up storing it in memory for the long term.

How to review

Reviewing information before reading should be relatively easy and need not take long. Reviews are recommended at the following times:

  • as soon as possible after reading has stopped. This can take the form of rewriting and tidying up notes
  • after one day - take a few minutes to jot down everything remembered and compare this with your notes.
  • after one week - as above.
  • after one month - as above.
  • after four months - as above.

By reviewing frequently, information should be fresh in your mind, should be clearly structured, and easily accessible when you need it.


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