Spaced Repetition

Spaced Repetition-   For Students

Do you find yourself forgetting chapters you learnt just few days/ weeks back ?

Do you feel that that even after completing the chapter earlier, it takes quite a lot of time to revise it at the time of examinations?

Do you feel no gap/ single day gap in the examinations is very less to revise the complete syllabus?

If Yes, probably you need to review your study patterns.

Remember, as much as learning the subject matter is important, equally important is the study pattern you follow.

Practicing questions, writing down learned material, making notes are some of the techniques employed by students to retain the learning to their memory.

Is there anything else that may help the student improve his retention?

Yes and this technique is well synchronized with our brain patterns. It is called spaced repetition.

Simple to use, repeat the learning at desired intervals, the interval may be more initially and can be increased later on.

In this respect, we may refer to Ebbinghaus forgetting curve:

In 1985, Ebbinghaus did a study on himself and found that our memory tends to lose information exponentially. A sample graph is shown below :

Training Memory Recall


As seen, in almost twenty four hours, nearly 70% of the information is lost. In a week time, almost 90% of the information is lost.

In general, the memory is lost governed by the following formula :

R= e-t/s where, R is memory retention, t is time, and s is relative memory strength.

So what is the solution. Actually, solution is very simple : Repetition at frequent intervals.

Since the piece of information is repeated again and again, the graph above forms a picture like this :

Top up Training

Thus we are repeating the same piece of information after one day, then after three days, then after 5 days, then after 8 days and so on.

Notice that since the rate of loss is highest in the initial 24 hours, it is necessary to repeat the learnings first within a day, then gradually we can have a increased frequency.

This technique is called spaced repetition. Students may best do to create notes in their language while learning chapter for the first time, then revise it first within 24 hours, then after 3 days and so on. After few days, the chapter would stick to your memory and very less revision might be needed just before the examinations.

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