What is Spaced Repetition and How Does it Improve Your Memory?
Everyone has their own way of going about studying for an exam. Some see success reviewing the material weeks before the exam daily. Others stay up late before the exam ‘cramming’ as much information as possible. In the end, it all boils down to finding the best way to memorize and retain information so that you can pass the exam. Enter spaced repetition, one of the best-known methods of strengthing your memory.
Cecil Alec Mace was the first person to write about spaced repetition in his book Psychology of Study. Mace writes, “Perhaps the most important discoveries are those which relate to the appropriate distribution of the periods of study…Acts of revision should be spaced in gradually increasing intervals, roughly intervals of one day, two days, four days, eight days, and so on.” His idea about repetition concerning timing fascinated others, inspiring further trials and research. In 1973, Sebastian Leitner developed the “Leitner system,” which is an all-purpose spaced repetition exercise. The video below explains more.
Curious about finding a new way to recall information for exams? Here are some tips on how to practice spaced repetition that will help you to be better able to recall information.
Review material before you go to bed
In a previous article, we discussed the benefits of reading before bed. Besides it being a relaxing activity, it follows the three functions of memory; acquisition, consolidation, and recall. All the information you learn before bed gets processed as you sleep, making it easier for you to recall the information the next morning.
Give your brain a break
Take a break! Yes, the test is days away, but your mind needs time to absorb all of the information you are throwing at it. This is precisely why spaced reception is a great skill to learn. Spaced repetition gives you breaks between memorizing information, allow the time your brain needs to absorb it.
Establish a connection
In addition for you to remember and repeat new information in your head, you also have to associate it with something to help it stay in your memory bank. Seeing how education builds on itself, take the new information, and link it to something you’ve already studied that is around that topic.
Use multiple ways of learning
Say the information out loud, write it down, and use your imagination to help store new information in your mind. Getting creative with the information makes it more memorable and will be easier to recall it later down the road.
Spaced repetition and speed reading can be tough to wrap your head around. If you need help, we suggest taking our Maximizing Memory course. This course will cover practical techniques to help you remember what you read and memorize key information. It’s ideal for both students and professionals. Click the link above to learn more.