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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Hudson-Weeks

The Study Skills Series: Retrieval Practice using the Instant Study Guide

At Empower, we often hear that “studying doesn’t work” or that our students “don’t know how to study.” With all of the ways that students are taught to study, which are most effective?

Retrieval Practice is the process of pulling information from your own brain and committing to actively learning it. Think of it as the"practice of remembering." Retrieval using flashcards, writing prompts, and mini-quizzes are among the best ways to implement this practice.

According to, 72% of middle and high school students surveyed expressed a decrease in test-taking anxiety by the end of the school year using retrieval practice.

One way, we incorporate retrieval practice is through the use of the Instant Study Guide!

How does it work?

  • Take a sheet of paper and fold it in half, hot dog style.

  • In class, write your notes on the right-hand side of the page only. (You may have seen versions of this style of notes before, which are called Cornell Notes.)

  • After class, as part of your study time, create questions on the left-hand side that are answered by the material on the right.

Why is it effective?

  1. It helps to create an instant study guide

  2. It gives students an opportunity to really assess what is important to know versus what is interesting

Bonus - you can also use the instant study guide to self-quiz, every couple of days, to ensure you are learning the material! You can even give yourself feedback based on areas that need more attention and continue adding/making adjustments to further make this guide work for you!

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