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  • Prem Sundaram

Spaced Repetition

What is Spaced Repetition and How to Use It for Studying?

Humans have a great memory system, but the way we learn has been seen to be enhanced by the idea of seeing the same word at a regular frequency - this has been shown to improve retention. Computer software has of course helped to do this - the mind is able to remember amazing things and many methods and techniques help. You can implement these methods at school and university, and the memory techniques are based on psychology. In this article we will help to improve your understanding of this topic - no need to experiment with new ideas here for your study, especially if you are at gradual school or in higher education.


Spaced repetition is a study technique that focuses on repetition. This technique has three main parts: technique, benefits, and schedule. Each part focuses on one particular concept, and when used correctly can result in improved learning and retention. The technique is effective for many subjects and learning styles. It is particularly helpful for those who need to study independently or for a long period of time. Whether you are a college student, a professional, or simply want to improve your study skills, spaced repetition can be of great help.


There are also many product offerings that help you to learn, and increase the probability you will learn and understand the knowledge you are studying. In particular, some subjects like medicine, chemistry and languages vocabulary require a lot of memorization of facts and data. Lots of textbook pages in the academic curriculum need to be learned. Spaced Repetition Software (SRS) will help you to build neural pathway connections and reinforce these neural pathway connections over time. For example, in medicine you need to learn a lot information such as the nervous system, blood, stress, arms, biceps, blood pressure, breathing, skeletal muscle, anatomy, chemistry, drugs, pathways, medical device types and so much more! Lots of information to remember, all designed to increase your field of view in your subject of interest, so you really do need a tool to help, since in the future you don't want a lawsuit as a result of any medical error from not learning enough :)

Technique

Using the technique of spaced repetition to study is a great way to reinforce information in your brain. It helps to remove learning gaps from memory and improves your ability to retain information for long periods of time. It is particularly helpful for topics that require a great deal of memorization. It works by breaking up your study sessions into smaller intervals that gradually increase as you gain mastery over the material. In addition to this, it allows you to review the material without forgetting it.


The first time you study a new subject, break it into small intervals, or space it out over time. The goal of each interval is to help your brain remember the material while building on it in the subsequent study sessions. This technique will improve your exam performance by helping you remember material better. This taps into the memory curve, and ensures that the physical strength of the connections between neurons is maximum and strengthened. The software algorithms help to ensure that the neuron training is done at the right frequency - based on various theory and algorithms. Eventhough you are going to be under pressure and have high frustration, like feeling you are at cram school, good structure can help you, with good control mechanism it will help. Effective use of flashcards and SRS algorithms will help you.

Benefits

There are a lot of benefits to using spaced repetition for studying. For one, it can help you memorize the textbook information for a course you've studied better than the conventional method. Using spaced repetition can be helpful when learning a new language or for preparing for a test. Students in education can benefit from this method by making a schedule and reviewing material on a regular basis. This technique works well also for students enrolled in distance education or in class.


Another advantage to spaced repetition for studying is that it helps the brain store information for longer periods of time. Using spaced repetition helps the brain do this because it doesn't have to see the same information over again. This way, the brain is not overloaded by the same information and is able to process it faster and better. An image and other annotations on the flashcards can also help.

Schedule

The best way to maximize the effectiveness of spaced repetition for studying is to set a predictable timeframe for studying. This way, you will have more time to learn and apply new information in a subsequent session. It also makes the material easier to retain. By repeating the material often, your brain will become more efficient at encoding it.


The optimal number of study sessions depends on the material you need to learn and the time you have before the test. Usually, a one to two-week window of time works best. For example, if you are studying for a standardized test, it's best to have at least one week before taking the test.


Also important is to have sleep - this is part of the algorithm and the brain neurons need time to bond between reading, practice and problem solving sessions where you are learning and remembering. And like a hyperlink, neurons need to be connected to each other through study reinforcement.

Effectiveness

Spaced repetition is an excellent way to help you memorize information. It is a scientifically proven method for studying. It involves re-visiting the same information at optimal intervals to avoid overloading the memory. The key is to trust the process and be patient; results may take time.


Studying with spaced repetition will increase your memory over time and will allow you to memorize information faster. The method also decreases the time it takes you to review the material. Research has shown that the brain responds better to spaced repetition than to continuous review, which can result in boredom.


It is important to note that the ideal spacing between review sessions depends on the learner. For instance, if the information is easy to memorize, you may want to space the repetition sessions further apart. On the other hand, if the information is difficult to retain, you can shorten the intervals between review, sessions. It's a bit light weight training, but for your mind. Practicing in a good sequence will help you remember more.

Leitner system

The Leitner system for studying is a method for systematically studying and memorizing new material. It relies on spaced repetition to help students learn difficult material and move to easier ones when they are ready. It is also beneficial for students who have trouble remembering complex information or need extra help. The Leitner System is best used for subjects that require students to remember information repeatedly. Often, teachers will give students advance notice of tests and make sure to include flashcards in their study plans. You can see in this diagram.


The Leitner system works by arranging flashcards in three separate boxes, and placing each one in box number one by default. Depending on the answer to a particular card, students move to the next box. The constant rearranging of cards increases the power of this system. Additionally, the Leitner system allows students to adjust the spacing intervals for particular cards. This ensures that the most difficult cards are studied more often and the easier ones less frequently. Also by seeing the same information regularly there is some visual perception memory also that assists in remembering. Thats why if you add an image to your flashcard it may help, using your vision sense as well as your memory!


Leitner System of Boxes

Anki SM2 system

There are also other spaced repetition (srs) computational algorithms, and the Anki is one of them. There are many articles and web content available to read about this and we also have an article with more information. It has proved to be a reliable algorithm, with scalability for small and large data sets. It is one of the online learning systems and through heuristic evaluation has proven to be very useful as a framework. It started off as a computer program in Japan and is now the most widely used in the world, with implementations in javascript, swift, c#, and more.

Software

There are a variety of software for spaced repetition learning, including NoteDex which implements the Leitner system. For less than the cost of a cup of coffee each month you can have access to great software. Talk to you fellow students or your Academy teacher or professor for other recommendations of other flashcard and SRS tools for different computing platforms. Each app will have a study guide and process so you want to make sure it works for you. We have a section of popular software - each with the website hyperlink at the end of this article, for different computing platform. Some apps have graphical user interface, others are more text based like Anki.

Conclusion

Spaced repetition has become part of everyday life for many students in this digital world, and quite rightly. From high school, grammar school, college and graduate school, it will help you remember a lot of lesson information in a structured way. Spaced repetition also goes beyond studying, it has application in helping old age people suffering from dementia or other mental disorder, and to help in cognition. The human body and mind is a wonderful thing and you have a great opportunity with your studies. We hope this short article helped you to learn a little more about what spaced repetition is, how it can help you, and stimulated your curiosity and interest to learn more.

References:

NoteDex - Flashcards with Leitner System

Anki Wikipedia


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