There are generally three different ways that memory recall is studied:
1. Free recall refers to the ability to remember items in any order. An example would be remembering your grocery list. As long as you can remember each item, you are successful.
2. Serial recall applies to remembering items in order. Examples would be memorizing a speech or remembering driving directions to someone's house. Not only do you need to remember each item, but the order matters too. Naturally, this is more difficult than free recall.
3. Paired associate recall defines the type of recall where you are given the first word and must remember the second. Learning foreign language vocabulary is a good example. The benefit of this type of recall is that it is aided. In other words, you are given a clue to jog your memory.
When you are trying to learn something, you should identify which type of recall you will be required to demonstrate. This should affect how you study the material.
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