What is Spaced Repetition?

By: Morten Vindberg, Published on April 25th, 2020

Spaced repetition is a centuries-old psychological technique for efficient memorization & practice of skills where instead of attempting to memorize by ‘cramming’, memorization can be done far more efficiently by instead spacing out each review, with increasing durations as one learns the item, with the scheduling done by software. Because of the greater efficiency of its slow but steady approach, spaced repetition can scale to memorizing hundreds of thousands of items.

How does it work?

Decades of research in the function of memory has shown that there are two main factors storage strength and retrieval strength. Storage strength remains constant and determines the amount of memories a person can have. Retrieval strength is the ability to recall a memory. Retrieval strength fades over time, and we need to periodically train the retrieval strength of a memory to in order to keep it. But there is a kicker; Using a spaced repetition you'll train recalling the memory excatly at the point where the retriveal strenght has dropped below a point.

A picture showing the forgetting curve

Furthermore, by tracking whether or not you remember things, a spaced repetition system (SRS) can customize review intervals for every individual piece of information - so you spend more time with things you're having trouble learning, and very little time with things you've mastered easily.

How do I get started?

As Long as you can create memory cards with the information you want to remeber you can simply start learning using spaced repetition. Learning with spaced repetition is particularly popular with students from all ages. A lot of language learners also use study using spaced repetition. One teacher have even used spaced repetition to remember the names of his students, the possibilities are endless!
The key for having success using spaced repetition is to create good memory cards and staying (somewhat) consistent with your studying. We have listed some great tips to help you creating lasting and productive memory cards.

Tips for creating good memory cards:

  • Each memory cards needs to have a single brief clear answer. If you are writing a memory card with a long answer, split it up into multiple cards!
  • Keep it short and simple. Each memory card should focus on one specific topic.
  • Use images. A picture says more than a tho-- it really is true. If you find an image which perfectly explains something use it!

It takes practice creating good memory cards, but if you keep these simple tips in mind you will soon be reaping the benefits of spaced repetition!

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