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J Exp Psychol Gen. 2006 Nov;135(4):553-71.

Retrieval-induced facilitation: initially nontested material can benefit from prior testing of related material.

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Department of Psychology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130-4899, USA.


Classroom exams can assess students' knowledge of only a subset of the material taught in a course. What are the implications of this approach for long-term retention? Three experiments (N = 210) examined how taking an initial test affects later memory for prose materials not initially tested. Experiment 1 shows that testing enhanced recall 24 hr later for the initially nontested material. This facilitation was not seen for participants given additional study opportunities without initial testing. Experiment 2 extends this facilitative effect to a within-subjects design. Experiment 3 demonstrates that this facilitation can be modulated by conscious strategies. These results have implications for educational practice and the theoretical developments of the testing effect, associative memory, and retrieval inhibition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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