We studied the role of the hippocampus in memory retrieval at 1 day and 1 month following associative learning of word pairs. Retrieval-related brain activity was recorded using functional magnetic resonance imaging in 20 healthy students, of which 12 were good learners and eight were poor learners. At the day lag, the poor learners exhibited enhanced neural recruitment in the hippocampus and neocortex to reach a retrieval performance comparable to that of the good learners. Over the 20 subjects, there was a positive correlation between retrieval-related hippocampal activity at the day lag and forgetting over the month retention interval (the greater the activity, the more forgetting). Although the poor learners' retrieval performance declined dramatically from the day to the month lag, the good learners maintained a high retrieval performance, which distinguishes them as good memory consolidators. Their retrieval-related hippocampal and neocortical activity increased from the day to the month lag. This increase was observed both when retrieval performance was matched between the day and the month lag and when the learning procedure for information retrieved at the day and the month lag was matched. This activity increase in the task-specialized neural network from the day lag to the month lag may reflect an increase in task demands or the proliferation of hippocampal-neocortical memory traces during memory consolidation as suggested by the multiple trace theory.