Make It Stick

Peter Christopher Brown , Henry Roediger III , Mark McDaniel

Make It Stick



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As human beings, we share a common goal: to study and acquire new knowledge. Many widely used techniques, however, are not entirely effective, as they are often based merely on intuition and feelings. By understanding the mechanisms of the human mind and memory, we can optimise this process and make it truly beneficial. Make it Stick presents principles and strategies based on scientific research and studies that help students of all ages, teachers and all lifelong learners to develop a solid, reliable and personalised learning strategy.

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Analysis and key concepts


The most effective learning strategies are not intuitive: this is why we need to rethink old practices


Rereading and rewriting does not result in consolidated knowledge: to achieve this, we must reflect and re-elaborate concepts


Effective learning is achieved by retrieving concepts, but it is important to space it out


Tests are learning tools that help consolidate acquired knowledge and identify weaknesses to overcome


It is better to change up different practice activities, rather than concentrate on just one


Information coded by the brain is stabilised during the consolidation process that characterises long-term memory


Remembering and forgetting are two sides of the same coin, and both are necessary to acquire new knowledge


Desirable difficulties: interference and mistakes are an important part of the learning process


The human brain makes mistakes because of misperceptions and memory distortions


The most effective learning model takes individual differences into account




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Discover failings within the traditional learning approach.
  • Learn about effective long-term methods of studying and memorising information.
  • Embrace difficulty and failure as part of the process. 

Originally from Missouri, Peter Christopher Brown worked for a long time as a management consultant. He is now retired and devotes himself entirely to writing. In addition to Make it Stick, he has written novels, such as The Fugitive Wife, as well as manuals such as Jumping the Job Track: Security, Satisfaction, and Success as an independent Consult and The Complete Guide to Money Making.

Henry Roediger III is an American cognitive psychologist and researcher specialised in memory and learning, who initially became known for his work on false memories. He has combined his academic career with editorial work for magazines such as Psychological Science in the Public Interest, Psychonomic Bulletin and Review and The Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition. He was president of the Association for Psychological Science in 2003-2004.

Mark McDaniel is a cognitive psychologist and researcher and focuses on memory and learning. He is well known for his extensive work on ageing and prospective memory, as well as applications of cognitive psychology to education, aimed mainly at investigating the importance of tests and questions within the process. His goal has always been to research these cognitive processes in the field, so in actual school or college classrooms.

Publishing house:

Belknap Pr