Active recall involves actively stimulating memory during the learning process. It contrasts with passive review, where information is processed passively – for example by reading or watching. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that active recall is a very quick, efficient and effective way for students to learn.
One of the studies most often cited is called “The Critical Importance of Retrieval for Learning”, published in 2008. Basically, a group of college students were each given the same 40 foreign language vocabulary word pairs to learn and then tested on their recall. A week later, they were tested again. It was found that those students who were guided to use active recall were able to remember about 80% of the words compared to 34% for the control group.