Remembering something is very important. I mean why would you do all this work of understanding and then not be able to remember the things you learned? I will show you today how to use spaced repetition as a method to remember something for a very long time, maybe forever? 😉
Table of Contents
We all have a forgetting curve. You may see that when you are studying new words in a different language. We look at the word and after a minute we have already forgotten what the word was. That’s why we should use spaced repetition. That means you space your study time at specific intervals over a period of time, so you can remember it for a longer time.
We can take advantage of the forgetting curve. How do we do that? By breaking the cycle by studying at spaced intervalls. The more we practice and the more spaced this repetition becomes, the more likely we are to keep the information in our long-term memory.
The idea behind the spaced repetition is that you allow your brain to forget some of the information.
By spacing our repetition by a day, 3 days, then a week, we allow ourselves to forget some of the information such that when we revise the topic – through active recall – it takes active brain power. Rereading, on the other hand, has low utility because it is a passive exercise – just testing yourself once has been shown to be more effective than rereading the same passage four times.
There was a study where they looked at three different groups of students. The first one looked at a list of words in Spanish and had to recall it once. The second group did the same but had to recall it twice. The third group looked at the words recall them once and waited for 3 days and had to recall it again.
All of the students had to take an exam and the students in the third group were significantly better than the ones in the first and second groups. They were better when it came to remembering the words.
This experiment shows that not only spaced repetition is important but also active recall.
How should I split up my study sessions?
A study published in 2008 with over 1,300 subjects tried to answer this question, but they were considering when the students had to take the test. What they found is that the optimal gap between the first and second study sessions increases in relation to how far away the test is and so remember for certain periods of time.
|Time to Test||First Study Gap|
|1 Week||1-2 Days|
|1 Month||1 Week|
|3 Months||2 Weeks|
|6 Months||3 Weeks|
|1 Year||1 Month|
So if you’ve got a test coming up in a week, you should do your first session today, and then do the next session either tomorrow or the day after. I’d also recommend adding a 3rd session the day before the test.
I hope you learned something new! Have you heard about spaced repetition before? Have you used it? If yes, did it help you remember?