This week I got a question that was one of the tough ones that I really hate to try to answer. I wasn’t planning on posting this response but after completing it I thought it could help clarify a few things.
I’ve been using (removed. It’s a flashcard study program.) to study for classes. I’ve found it pretty useful. It’s nice to have something organized to ask review questions regularly. Studying and memorizing has never caused me much trouble. It’s always been trying to find a good review schedule that sucks. I’d learn all the material I need but I’d avoid review it as often as I’d have to to actually remember it. I was wondering, how often should I review study material to ensure I don’t forget it.
That is one of the best things about using a flashcard program for studying. Organizing a review schedule is one of the most challenging parts of creating a good study routine. There are so many different ways to do it but it’s hard to do it correctly. If you review something too soon after studying it then it won’t really help you learn it. If you wait too long then you might just end up having to relearn it completely.
Flashcard programs take that responsibility and pull it out of your hands.
The programs take that responsibility and that alleviates you from having to worry about it. The reality is a little more complicated than that though. While it may take the responsibility from you, the programs are rarely calibrated in any deeply efficient way. Most of them are just regular wing it intervals.
The amount of time between first studying information and reviewing it is unbelievably personal. Some people need to review things sooner and some need to review them later. There is no one size fits all formula. These programs are designed to provide one size fits all strategies (or in some of the better programs, offer you enough settings to adjust it for your own personal preferences.) A one size fits all review will always be less efficient than a personalized solution.
The programs are great because they can get a person to start studying instead of worrying about perfect efficiency. They give the illusion that they’re using some kind of a secret formula for remembering information. There is no secret formula and if there were it would have more to do with the individual using it than the actual program.
How often should you review the material you’re studying? The stubborn answer is “how often do you need to review it and still remember it?” On that note you might enjoy learning about The Secret Of Stubborn Study Tactics.
Do you want to know how to study in less than 15 minutes a night? That’s what this blog is all about. Be sure to follow and check out the archives for all the details. Also, the ebooks in the sidebar can help you increase your grades while investing less time in school. Want to learn more? Be sure to read them.
Let me tell you (an inappropriate) true story…
It was high school Spanish class…
I was a Senior in a class of Sophomores. There was one other Senior in the class. Best of all –
She was smokin’ (as the old folk say.) She was gorgeous. 10 out of 10. Tight jeans. And she always sat right in front of me in class (gulp.)
We were the only Seniors in the class. By default… that made me the coolest guy there… And trust me… I’m never the coolest guy there.
But we’d talk. Sometimes in class she’d lean over. I’d continue to pretend me importa la espanol stuff pero… Seriousamente… 😛
Sure… I’d show up to class. But my brain rarely stuck around for the lecture. And that’s why you might not be surprised I was getting a C- in class.
It’s funny how that stuff that distracted me in highschool wasn’t so problematic in college where I took a double course load and still scored near the top of my class…
You don’t need to be perfect to score near perfect.
You just need to know how…