The action of a synthetic peptide Selank on learning and memory in active avoidance conditioning test was studied in rats with initially low learning ability and normal animals. The peptide was administered repeatedly 15 min prior the training session (4 days). The effect of Selank (300 micrograms/kg) was compared to that of Pyracetam (400 mg/kg). Selank was found to significantly improve learning in rats with low level ability even after a single administration on the first day of training session. The effect progressively increased with repeated Selank treatment: the total numbers of reactions and correct reactions increased, and the number of errors decreased (p < 0.05). In normal rats, the effect was maximal on the third day of treatment and training, i.e., after the completed initial consolidation. Some distinguishing features were revealed in the dynamics of activatory effects of Selank and Pyracetam. These data together with the evidence for ansiolytic effect of Selank show that this drug is promising for optimization of mnestic functions under conditions of high emotional stress.