Contrastive Language-Image Pre-training (CLIP) is attracting increasing attention for its impressive zero-shot recognition performance on different down-stream tasks. However, training CLIP is data-hungry and requires lots of image-text pairs to memorize various semantic concepts. In this paper, we propose a novel and efficient framework: Retrieval Augmented Contrastive Language-Image Pre-training (RA-CLIP) to augment embeddings by online retrieval. Specifically, we sample part of image-text data as a hold-out reference set. Given an input image, relevant image-text pairs are retrieved from the reference set to enrich the representation of input image. This process can be considered as an open-book exam: with the reference set as a cheat sheet, the proposed method doesn’t need to memorize all visual concepts in the training data. It explores how to recognize visual concepts by exploiting correspondence between images and texts in the cheat sheet. The proposed RA-CLIP implements this idea and comprehensive experiments are conducted to show how RA-CLIP works. Performances on 10 image classification datasets and 2 object detection datasets show that RA-CLIP outperforms vanilla CLIP baseline by a large margin on zero-shot image classification task (+12.7%), linear probe image classification task (+6.9%) and zero-shot ROI classification task (+2.8%).