How to study: Active recall and how to use it efficiently

Traditional methods of study are deemed to be inefficient. This came as a surprise to me considering I used the study techniques based on traditional methods of study throughout my educational journey. This includes my favorite way of studying, that is making notes, and also the popular method which is passive review. So here I will dive deep into how you can study efficiently for your ACCA exams using the active-recall strategy to maximize your chances of understanding your study content, and therefore result in improved performance during your exams.

Active recall is a principle of efficient learning, which claims the need to actively stimulate memory during the learning process.

This strategy is deemed to be the most effective and efficient methods of studying for problem- solving exams like ACCA. It involves constant retrieval of information from the mind, through testing yourself at every stage of the revision process. A study done by J. D Karpicke and H. L Roediger III in 2008 concluded that practicing information retrieval is integral to learning.

Passive review entails reading through text but not engaging with the content. So just reading the book without actively challenging the mind. Also just listening to lectures is a characteristic of passive review. The goal with active recall is to read ideas through interaction forcing the brain to retrieve, process and come-up with the correct answers to questions. Passive review entails merely taking in information with a goal of getting finished with studying a particular topic, paragraph or book.

Active recall strategies to use during your studies

1. Making notes

Traditionally you would make notes by looking through the textbook for problem areas or the most relevant and important information then jotting it down in full or as a summary. To do it efficiently the active recall way, make sure you read through text, then close the book, then take down your notes. This will challenge you to retrieve information from your mind. Only open the book to check for any information missed when doing this method and consolidate.

2. Teaching

Learning by teaching can help improve student efficacy, confidence and communication skills.

During your ACCA studies, this will be best achieved through engaging with other peers in group discussions or in class. This develops a deeper and long-lasting understanding of the material than students who do not teach. Being asked questions during this process will help challenge your mind and help build knowledge about a particular subject.

3. Read to remember

It is vital that you challenge yourself when studying as aforementioned. Reading through text, and then closing the book and reciting out what you have just read helps understand. For example going through the Porter’s 5 forces, closing the book and reciting them will help cement your understanding of the theory or model. Do this throughout your study as it will help substantially in building knowledge that will be important come exam day.

4. Flash cards

A flashcard or flash card is a card bearing information on both sides, which is intended to be used as an aid in memorization. Each flashcard bears a question on one side and an answer on the other.

Flash cards are useful tools of study. Institutions like BPP Learing Media and Kaplan Publishing have flash cards to help students prepare for their ACCA exams. To make full use of flash cards, it is important that you make your own. This creates strong neural pathways that will enable it to be easier to retrieve the information at a later date. Make sure you break the difficult parts of the syllabus area you are covering into multiple questions as that will help you recall.

Generally, this method of study is more modern than the other traditional methods and is now gaining popularity and is supported by science. Check out this post on how I passed my ACCA in 2 years and I hope that motivates you to study harder. I believe that if active recall is implemented effectively, it will help substantially in helping students pass their exams. Goodluck…

9 thoughts on “How to study: Active recall and how to use it efficiently

  1. Warm greetings,

    The practical applications provided here are simply wonderful. I cannot wait to implement them in my own life and improve myself. Thanks a lot for enlightening me.

    I want to remain updated with your work, so I have decided to follow you! 🙂

    Kiran Kandel


      1. You are welcome, Keith! 🙂
        Keep your articles coming.
        Also, may I ask you for a small favor? As we write on similar topics, would you mind going through my blog at my new site I would love to hear your recommendations. Thank you so much!


  2. It is true that teaching others help to consolidate knowledge in particular topic, thank you for sharing this


    1. Thanks for your feedback! Please follow the blog for more posts like that! I’ll follow your website too thanks! Looking forward to working together.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website with
Get started
%d bloggers like this: