Retrieval Practice Can Protect Memory From Stress

Getting ready to take a test in the future? Many adults find test taking stress inducing, both in the study time leading up to it and during the exam itself.

Read more to learn about “retrieval practice” below to help with test success.

Tufts University reported on a study on learning methods, particularly retrieval practice (learning by taking practice tests), and how this strategy can protect against the negative effects of stress.

The researchers analyzed two approaches to learning:

  • one group was given multiple study periods to memorize a set of images and word (memorization)
  • the other group took timed practice tests, attempting to recall as many items as they could (retrieval practice).

After a 24-hour break, half of each group was exposed to and experienced an episode of acute stress.

After this, both groups were given two memory tests to recall the words or images studied the previous day: one immediately after the stress scenario, and one twenty minutes after.

The stressed group who practiced retrieval practice remembered more items than their non-stressed counterparts who simply used multiple study periods (memorization). Those who used memorization and were exposed to a stressful scenario remembered the least out of the groups.

This study suggests that retrieval practice can help with long-term memory retention and guard against the adverse effects of stress!

Are you enrolled in our Diabetes Ed Online University?

We are proud to be using “retrieval practice” as the mode of studying for our practice tests and courses based on these scientific studies.

Our test results let students know if they chose the right our wrong answer. This approach encourages review of the material and retesting for better recall in finding the right answer. By omitting the answer key and encouraging retesting, we provide the opportunity for students to enhance long term knowledge retention and incorporate “retrieval practice” into their studies.

Read the full study here.

We hope you all appreciate and enjoy the test questions we come up with for our Question of the Week, Free Quizzes, and for all of our courses!

Interested in more practice? Our Test Taking Toolkit offers over 200 practice questions for the exam! You can purchase that here for only $49.


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