Contact Katrina Patterson for further information about this technique

Professor John Hattie in Visible Learning:  The Science of How We Learn, recommends Look-Say-Cover-Write-Check!

Do you remember it from primary school and from language learning?  It’s really good for revision!  John Hattie says there’s no such thing really as ‘rote learning’, but that we learn and retain information with ‘strings’ or in short sequences.  Here is what he says:

‘How we acquire strings.  Strings are acquired through deliberate focus and repetition.  The mind needs to be cleared.  The new string entity can be rehearsed in working memory where you can deliberately vary the speed of information.  For example, you get a new VISA card number and so need to say it quickly, and then slowly.  Say it under your breath, then write it out.’

It’s simple, it works for language learning and any fact and information learning.  The brain loves it:


1  Clear your mind.  No music or distractions.

2  Read and say key info out ALOUD.

3  Say it several times.

4  Vary the speed at which you say it.

5  Vary the volume at which you say it.


7  Write what you have now nearly learnt.

8  Check.

Force yourself not to take a sneaky look!  It has to be a little struggle for your brain to retain.  There’s no cheating or ‘saying it in your head instead’ or skipping steps.  You may not like this – but it works.  Don’t listen to anyone who tells you there are any easy answers to learning and revising.  No pain: no gain.!