What it is

Just like highlighting, this strategy mostly speaks for itself: rereading means that in order to learn a text, you read it, and then read it again. Often, this is done immediately after the initial reading.

How to do it

More explanation is hardly needed: you read the text multiple times.

Does it work, and why?

This strategy is not useful, at least for understanding and/or long-term learning, but has some potential when combined with other -effective- strategies.

Since an overwhelming majority of students reports using this strategy, let us start with the good news. It requires no training, makes modest demands on time, and has shown some bene­fits on recall and ­fill-in-the-blank-style tests. However, the evidence is muddy that rereading strengthens comprehension, and whether its effects depend on knowledge level or ability is also woefully underexplored. Most of the bene­fits of rereading appear to accrue from the second reading, with diminishing returns from additional repetitions. No experimental research has assessed it using materials from actual courses—ironic, given that this strategy is the one most commonly reported by students. Therefore, try to always combine rereading with self-explanation or asking yourself questions about the text.

One common pitfall with rereading is that it feels good and creates a fluency illusion: while rereading the learning material over and over again, students think they learn because it feels familiar. It is an easy learning strategy, which creates a feeling of knowing. However, when asked to actually explain the content they just read or answer test questions a few days later, students are barely able to.

How can you make rereading more effective?

Make rereading more active, by for example spacing your rereading sessions over time, combine it with elaborations or first try to test yourself and then, after having practiced retrieval, reread the information.