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11 March, 2024

INBDE Strategy: Active Recall

The INBDE is a standardized exam to obtain licensure and practice dentistry in the US. In this article, we will discuss a study technique.
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As you begin the studying process for one of the biggest exams of your life, the INBDE, you may be wondering, where do I start studying? How do I study?  What is the best way to tackle this exam? Well, we will briefly discuss one of the most important study strategies that you should utilize, active recall.  You may ask, what is active recall? Active recall is an important study technique in which large complex concepts are broken down into smaller pieces and questions are derived from them. This has been coined the “atomization of knowledge.” Active recall is a technique in which you learn to retrieve these pieces of information from your brain.

There have been many research articles including a study conducted by Henry Roediger and Jeffrey Karpicke showing that students who utilize the active learning technique far outperform students using other forms of passive study methods.  Passive study methods include reading and re-reading notes or listening to lectures. These researchers concluded that optimum results are achieved when repetitive testing is applied, which helps retain information at faster rates and for longer periods of time.

Active Recall Techniques:

📝 Create your own Questions and Flashcards:

You should create questions/flashcards from our INBDE Booster notes. You should then answer all the questions to the best of your ability. If you answer the question incorrectly, you should review this material in your notes and re-answer the question and understand why you answered the question incorrectly. You should do this repeatedly until you are confidently able to answer the question without hesitation.

📖 Take Practice Questions:

You should work through countless practice questions. Anything answered incorrectly should be marked and reviewed later on. Repetition will force your brain to retrieve the material that was learned by reading and studying the notes. In fact, studies show that repetition is a very powerful tool in active learning—as several times students will miss the same question or concept more than once.

📚Use Anki Decks:

Anki is a software that uses a unique algorithm that combines both active recall with spaced repetition. Space repetition is a concept of implementing active recall at increasing intervals. As you can see from the image below, the first curve on the graph displays retention when you only review the material one time. However, we can see how the curve flattens over time more the material is reviewed.

Thus, studies reveal that if information is not periodically reviewed, it is exponentially lost with time. But don’t worry, INBDE Booster has created custom Anki decks devoted to each INBDE subtopic! Download the decks today and start appreciating the benefits of active recall.

All in all, research shows that studying and preparing for a big exam should be cognitively taxing. The harder it is to retrieve information, the stronger the brain becomes at storing and recalling the information in the future and more importantly on test day!