Revisiting old posts: My work with Quizlet – quotation retention


There is no doubt the embedding of short, concise quotations throughout literature responses supports pupils to hit Band 5. A member of #teamenglish did a study of her own responses last year and found that the more quotations embedded, the higher the overall level.

Memorisation, however, is not a skill that teachers have had to support pupils with to the extent that we find ourselves doing so now.

This has been a significant barrier for us. Pupils knowing and retaining key quotations that they can interleave throughout their answers has been a great concern. With six weeks to go until the exams and my confidence in pupils’ knowledge of the texts waning, I decided to turn to Quizlet to aid quotation retention and, boy, am I glad I did.

In the space of six weeks, pupils have gone from knowing 5 quotations to 50, to 60, to 70, to 80 and beyond and with it our chances of gaining those top grades ever increasing.

Quizlet is an online flashcard tool. Costing only £35 for the teacher version for a year, this is an absolute steal.  Pupils set their own accounts up and request to join your class.  There is also a mobile app which a significant number of my pupils downloaded on to their phones for testing on the go.

You can set up as many classes as you wish and create as many sets as you want to.

Creating a study set

Creating a study set is easy. Identify the text you want pupils to learn quotations for and choose your key quotations. Then divide your flashcard into two: the first half of the quotation on one side and the second half of the quotation on the other side.

Q1 (2)

How does it support pupils to learn key quotations?


Quotations are provided to pupils on flashcards to support them as they start to learn a key quotation.

Q4 (2)


A voice reads the first part of the quotation and asks you to write down what you hear. This has a focus on ensuring pupils know correct pronunciation and can spell the words correctly

Q5 (2)


A range of activities supporting pupils to learn the quotations you have provided.

  1. Match the start and the end of the quotation
  2. Complete the quotation

If you should get it wrong, Quizlet has you write it out again. (Beware it is funny about capital letters and punctuation, so it has to be spot on – something my pupils found frustrating!)


Quotations come down from up above and pupils need to type in the quotation half before it reaches the bottom.

Q6 (2)


A personal favourite of ours which gets INCREDIBLY competitive. Pupils try to match start and end of quotations as quickly as possible. I genuinely cannot understand how some pupils do this in less than 5 seconds.  A league table helps make it even more competitive.

Q7 (2)


Once pupils have completed all the activities, then they are ready to test. The test takes a variety of different forms as you can see below.

Q8 (2)

But why the teacher package?

  1. You can see who is quizzing and who isn’t quizzing.

Quizlet provides quick information about who has completed activities within your class and who has tested. It also tells you the test score, so you can really see who is learning their quotations and who needs to continue to revise more. (I’ve removed our pupils’ names / usernames)

Q9 (2)

2. You can see which quotations pupils are retaining and which quotations pupils are not. This helps inform my in-class testing and retrieval practice.

Q10 (2)

These tests are then reinforced with weekly paper-based tests which are provided to pupils.

Q11 (2)

As pupils gain confidence with quotations, quotations are dropped off and the next set of quotations are brought in.

In addition, we are building in a quotation retention section in our medium term plans so this becomes ingrained within our practice.

Unlike my colleague, Iain, I have not successfully captured before and after data which I am kicking myself about. However, I have seen an increase in quotation retention and my pupils’ confidence has sky-rocketed. I am hoping that, in actual fact, the results in the summer will speak for themselves.


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