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How to Avoid Forgetting Information You’ve Learned

Stack of textbooks

At this time, it’s expected that the March/April IBLCE exam won’t be held. Earlier, I had some suggestions on how to study when you find out that your exam is postponed, and that’s all still true. But, with your “March” exam now being in September, are you worried that you’ll be forgetting information you’ve already learned? If so, here are some pointers.

Remember, this is common

It’s not just you. So, don’t beat yourself up too much. 

Over the summer, it’s not uncommon for primary school students to lose retention of material they learned during the school year. I’ve heard it referred to as the Summer Slide, Summer Slip, or Learning Loss.

Obviously, you’re not a student in primary or high school. But as you’re preparing to take your IBLCE Exam, face the fact that you’re not exempt from the Summer Slip. Not by a long shot!

Studies show that students in higher levels lose more retention over the summer. In fact, on average, most students lose up to a month’s worth of learning over summer vacation.  

How do you avoid forgetting information you’ve worked hard to remember?

Use a study guide

Keeping yourself on a schedule will help you keep using the material on a regular basis. While you may not need to study as hard as when you learned the content for the first time, adhering to a schedule helps to keep information fresh.

Use material daily

You may not have the same opportunities to study as you did before teleworking, distance learning, and stay at home orders went into effect. Just like in the workplace, it’s important to keep using the material you’re reviewing on a regular basis. Reviewing each day, even if it’s just for a few minutes, will help you to avoid or minimize forgetting information over time.

Do you have a study buddy? An accountability partner?  I’ve explained why an accountability partner is important, and how to use that model to your advantage.

Having someone to chat with using terminology will help keep those words fresh. Terminology is one of the most critical aspects of passing the exam. If you don’t know what the term means, you certainly can’t answer an application-level question related to the term.

Flashcards can also help you to review material and terminology.

Master the material

Researchers at Nagoya University in Japan have found that mastering material by developing your own competence is more effective than comparing your own performance to others. By striving for mastery, you avoid forgetting information and having issues recalling information later on. (Otherwise stated, you’re comparing your yesterday’s performance to your today’s performance.)

If you are enrolled in my 95-hour lactation-specific course, there are plenty of quiz questions and other learning activities to use. Even if you complete the course by May 29, all of those materials will remain in your account for several months, so use them again. And again!

Take a review course and practice

If you haven’t already done so, now is a good time to take a review course. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, we have canceled long-running, globally-recognized live review course this summer. But you can still get my online Review course. The audio format is great if you’re on the go. But I’ve also provided a bound companion guide (hundreds of pages!) of outlines and notes.

Working on drills or practice exams will help identify weak areas and help you to guard against forgetting information. We’ve had excellent feedback from hundreds of Exam candidates and re-certificants who have used these in the past. 

The bottom line on forgetting information

The best way to avoid forgetting information is to use it often. You may have heard “use it or lose it.” This is true! If you don’t use the information you are at risk for forgetting information.

How are you studying to avoid forgetting information you’ve learned? What techniques have you found to be helpful? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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  1. Jean Gloria

    Hi I have completed your 90 hour lactation course, I have been self studying for the board examination for September.Our lactation consultants in our hospital has given me books for practice test questions .What is your recommendation for me ? Thank you

    • Marie Biancuzzo

      Great question! Thank you for asking. I see you bought my “old” 90-hour comprehensive course before we phased it out at the end of last year. It’s a little less robust than my new 90-hour Lactation Education Course that we rolled out in 2020, but it should still serve you very well. Nonetheless, you’re wise to recognize that meeting the eligibility requirements (including the 90-hour course) is somewhat different that prepping for the exam.

      At this stage of the game, you will now need to figure how (or if!) you are recalling and applying that information. Wow, I have a LOT to say on that! Let me start by saying, start with “free” and “simple.” Download my free 1000+ terms. It’s the cheapest most basic way to ask yourself, “Do I really know this stuff?” If there are words you don’t know, look them up!

      Next, read any, some, or many of my blog posts. There are more than 100 posts on prepping for the exam. You won’t need them all, but nearly all of those posts were written in response to someone’s question, so I have to believe you’ve got similar questions or needs.

      Next – SPOILER ALERT!— I have almost completed a new Study Guide that will be ready within a month or so. Stay tuned. (Become a Marie Biancuzzo Insider to hear more about this!) We haven’t determined a price yet, but it will be between $5-10. It’s more than 50 pages in length, and would serve you well.

      If you’re worried about the photos on the exam (and you should be!) then consider my Guide to Decoding Lactation Photos Course. However, don’t spend your money for that unless you can commit to doing the written exercises and the quizzes in each chapter. We’ve had fabulous reviews because those active learning strategies for recall and retention of information truly work. Just “reading” it won’t get you very far.

      My online Lactation Exam Review is hugely popular, and available now. Finally, do practice exams, practice exams, practice exams. Do every practice exam out there. My practice exams are probably the toughest you’ll find, and they are all online. I always want people to be over-prepared! We also have money-saving packages, so see what will best meet your study needs and your budget. Hope this helps. You can ask questions here, or email if we can be of further help!

  2. Jean Gloria

    Hi I am planning to take your All Online Lacration Exam Package 189.00
    What is exactly practice Exam A, B and C .Am I able to print the practice exams.I already have the Breastfeeding Atlas from my work .And also did the 90 hour course from you.What is your recommendation?
    Thank you
    Jean Gloria

    • Marie Biancuzzo

      Jean, good that you asked! I would love to take your money today, but I think you might want to wait! We are running a discount soon, very soon! The practice exams are “all online” but we also offer a PDF of the tests that you can print yourself, if you want a paper-n-pencil experience. (Although you can also re-use and even re-shuffle the electronic tests.) I think the PDF automatically ships when you buy the electronic version, but I am unsure; I write every word the the books, courses, tests etc. myself, but I don’t know the mechanism of how the PDF is delivered. Please send inquiries to to confirm. On the Breastfeeding Atlas: If you own the 6th edition, I would strongly recommend that you consider using my workbook to help you de-code the photos. But a word of warning, it won’t work if you have a different edition of the Atlas, because the photo numbers and the pages and everything won’t match. And a second word of warning. Don’t spend the money for the workbook unless you can commit to doing the written exercises I’ve created, because they are a hugely powerful learning tool (and there are also short quizzes at the end of each chapter.) We’ve had rave reviews for my workbook, but again, stay tuned, it will soon be on sale! Keep reading the blog for more information!

  3. Kim Cook

    Do you have the Study Guide done? I just scheduled my test and so am trying to get fully back into studying. I am taking a practice exam today to find my areas of weakness (pretty sure it will be anatomy and endocrine systems). I did the photo book with exercise way back in Jan/Feb. So I will probably review those again. Any other suggestions? (I did class in Dallas in November)

    • Marie Biancuzzo

      Oh, I remember you exactly, Kim! Thank you for staying in touch.

      My “Study Guide” has been completed. We just put the cover page on it yesterday. We cannot launch today, but it will be available to you very, very soon. We always worry about a last-minute glitch, but i can assure you, it will be within a few days, maybe sooner. It is done, we just need to do a little testing to make sure it all works right.

      Thank you for the question. I’m happy to help!

    • Marie Biancuzzo

      Kim, it’s a PDF. Hopefully, you have it by now. Any problems, send a message to info@mariebiancuzzo.

    • Marie Biancuzzo

      Kim, it’s my understanding that someone on my team helped you with that yesterday, and that you’re now set. If not, please let me know!

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