Participants studied lists of rare words and their definitions (e.g. the fleshy area at the base of the thumb = thenar). They were then given recognition tests in which they were shown the definitions and asked to identify the target from a choice of four. Participants categorised each decision as a remember, know, familiar or guess response and rated their confidence on a seven-point scale. Recognition tests were administered 5 minutes, 4 weeks, 8 weeks and 6 months after study. Remember responses dominated recognition on the first test but decreased on subsequent tests, whereas know response increased across successive tests. Familiar and guess responses peaked on the second test and then declined. Remember and know responses were associated with higher levels of accuracy and confidence than familiar and guess responses. The findings are consistent with the remember-to-know (R-to-K) shift and show the trajectory of changes in memory awareness across repeated tests. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.