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How Active Learning Helps Memory Retention

Active learning is precisely what it sounds like – a participatory learning style designed to help students engage more with their study material rather than passively being taught information. Studies have shown that students retain more information when they actively participate in the learning process and that active teaching styles may lead to improved student learning outcomes.

Active Learning and Flashcards

One especially important method of active learning for CFA Exam candidates is the use of flashcards. Using flashcards engages an active learning and recall process, aiding overall memory recall and retention most effectively. Reviewing study material with flashcards also empowers candidates to think about what they are learning as they participate in reviewing concepts.

The Spacing Effect

The best way for students to learn and retain difficult information through active learning is by having an initial study session and then spacing out other study sessions (spaced repetition) over some time. This is also called distributed practice. Spaced repetition leads to deeper understanding and long-term recollection of information. Spaced repetition has demonstrated the most evidence of success over any other type of study practice and has been proven to increase rates of learning (see figure below).

This means that CFA candidates are more likely to pass the CFA Level I Exam when implementing the spacing effect into their study methodology. When students use spaced repetition, they are likely to retain more information in less time with less strain, improving time management issues, study-related stress and resulting in overall likelihood of success.

Flashcards and Spaced Repetition

The use of flashcards is the best way for a self-learner to use spaced repetition. Our new digital flashcards automatically incorporate the concept of spaced repetition to help you learn quicker and better. When using our flashcards, newer and more difficult concepts are presented more frequently, while older, less difficult concepts are displayed less often. This type of spacing has been proven to increase retention and strengthen memory recall.

As a high-stakes exam prep leader, UWorld’s goal is to give students the best and most technologically enhanced tools to learn. That is why we have integrated spaced repetition technology into our digital flashcards, available in our CFA Exam prep products, at no additional cost. With our spaced repetition flashcards, students can master the most heavily tested CFA Exam topics and be confident on exam day.


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