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Active Recall – How to Use This Effective Study Technique to Score a Good GPA?

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If you want to become a successful medical student and perform well in exams, then re-reading the textbook, highlighting your notes, and watching YouTube videos isn’t enough. Medical students have to master a lot of course material in a short amount of time. Thanks to active recall, an effective learning method that actively stimulates your memory for an important piece of information.

Active recall is a retrieval practice which can significantly improve your memory retention and academic performance. It is one of the most effective study techniques to retain information and prepare you for your medical school exams.

Let’s explore how active recall works and how this high yield learning technique will help you perform better in exams and score a good GPA?

What is Active Recall?

Active recall is an effective study method that retrieves information from your brain. During active recalling, you force your brain to recall the information you wish to master. This process will ensure that you save the information in your long-term memory. It also highlights the topics you don’t understand and require additional attention.

Whether you want to learn medical terminologies or important concepts for your shelf exams, adding active recall to your study plan is the best way to improve your academic performance. In fact, active recall study techniques can help you master all the important concepts and prepare you well for exams.

Active Recall – How Does It Work?

Active recall is the study hack that can improve your academic performance and score impressive marks in exams. According to several studies, students who used active recall study technique scored better grades than those students who used passive study techniques.

It is the quickest way to study that helps students learn the information and prepare for the exams. The retrieval practice trains your brain to retrieve information from your memory. The repeated process of recalling information which lets you remember information from scratch will help you permanently remember information.

Using active recall strategies at frequent intervals enables students to remember information they have learned. According to researchers, active recall retrieval practice is the most effective study method than re-reading and concept making.

How to Use an Active Recall Study Method?

Active recall is a powerful way to permanently store information in your brain. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to incorporate active recall to your study routine. From remembering lecture slides to watching YouTube videos, or practice questions, active study techniques can help you memorize the information in the long-term memory. You can harness the power of active recall study method and remember important concepts more efficiently by following these methods:


Flashcards are the simplest yet useful active recall study technique that help students recall the answer from memory. The one side of the flashcard contains the medical term, topic name or question and the other side contains a detailed explanation. Practice reading the explanation side of the flashcard and when you have to answer the question, it prompts your brain to actively recall the answer from memory.

Practice Tests

Taking practice tests is a great way to test your knowledge to prepare for a quiz, shelf exam or board exam. Several studies have shown that practice tests are the best way to prepare for exams. The retrieval practice pulls the information out of your memory to answer the questions. The active recall strategy helps you identify the weakest areas that need your attention, so that you can study those topics before the actual exam.

Visual Aids

Believe it or not, visual aids are a useful active recall study method that can help you understand the topic and quickly recall everything you need to know for your exam. By seeing charts, graphs, images, symbols, and concept maps allow you to visually understand the information.

For instance, if you want to learn anatomy of the cardiovascular system, you can draw a picture and label each organ to easily remember what it calls and does. This process makes learning easier and fun. Similarly, you can watch videos to understand the concept discussed during lectures. Visual aids improve your concentration and memory retention ability, which will eventually help you perform well during the exam.

Are You Ready to Use an Active Recall for Your Exams?

Active recall is a key study method that allows you to repeatedly test your brain to answer the questions or learn the topic. Many researches have suggested that active recall can significantly boost your memory retention ability and improve your test performance. Using active recall study methods can help medical students to maximize their learning efficiency, ace exams and score straight A’s.

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