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This is another fantastic memory-based task. I often use it with students in class if they finish reading a text a little earlier than others: “Wonderful”, I say, “Now write down everything you can remember!” It’s a great way of identifying which parts of the text you understood and which you haven’t quite got yet.

Woman Writing

The Basics:

  1. Choose a text which you’ve read a couple of times and understand well. It shouldn’t be too long - one paragraph or two is plenty.

  2. Read the text over once again, focussing on the main points.

  3. Cover the text, and write down everything you can remember. 

  4. Compare your version with the original - did you forget anything?


  1. Focus on the language. The task above prioritises the memory of ideas, but you could easily change this to prioritise the language used. Take a slightly shorter text and try to write as similarly as possible to the original text. When you compare, identify structures and phrases which you changed - is your version correct but different, or did you make a mistake?

  2. Make it relevant. Choose a text which is useful for your life: a cover letter for a job application, or an article on a topic in your field, perhaps.

  3. Get competitive. Give yourself a score - perhaps the number of points you remembered or the number of phrases you successfully remembered. Wait a day or a week and repeat the task with the same text - see if you can improve on your score.

  4. Help your studies. If you’re in college or university, or perhaps taking part in a training course at work, it’s likely you’ll have to read articles or essays as part of your course. You could use this task as a revision tool to help you recall the ideas of a particular writer or text.


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