I’m not a fan of overly repetitive study strategies. Study strategies typically need some amount of repetition to work but for every bit of repetition you add to a routine you need to squeeze out a little bit of the logic.

Repetitive study strategies tend to work because they present information so many times that our brain thinks it must be important. At first your brain can come up with good reasons to think about the information. You might start noticing the sound the words make. You might find a rhythm to the knowledge.You might start thinking how that information relates to other stuff you know.

After a few minutes of repetition your brain starts to run out of easy things to think about related to the information. It may recall some of the previous thoughts you have but it gives up on developing new distinctions. And, at a certain point, the information just becomes second nature. You have a trigger for the information and you remember it without the strange detours.

Remembering information as second nature feels really good but it’s rarely objectively better than remembering it through strange detours. The funny thing about the strange detours is that they encourage your brain to turn up new stones and remember those stones better too.

For example, remembering 1898 was the start of the Spanish American war might make you think of Roosevelt and his rough riders that fought there. The next time you’re wondering when Roosevelt was president you may not know it off the top of your head but you’ll quickly realize it couldn’t be 1898 because he was busy in Cuba. You’ll suddenly be close to right on other information.

When information becomes second nature you stop making those extra connections with other information in your brain. And, really, as soon as those new connections stop being made it’s probably time to stop studying that information.

Repetition Helps You Remember. It Doesn’t Help You Think.

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This is an absolutely essential read for anyone on this blog.

I’m about 4 hours away from something big.

The story began a decade ago when I first started to share my study strategies with other students.

I had figured out the Holy Grail of academic optimization strategies – and every intermediate step to get to it. Using this strategy, I pulled a nearly 4.0 GPA while running a double course load in college – and once I started sharing it.

Students noticed.

Droves of them.

And then teachers noticed.

Most of the teachers that were looking out for their student’s best interest got what I was saying and supported the cause. Others… well… not everyone has the student’s best interest at heart.

Anyway…

Early on (even before Smart Student Secrets,) I started writing for average students.

I knew… I was NEVER one of the “smart kids”. I was mediocre at best. And I knew, if these strategies worked for me then they could work for just about anybody. And that’s who I wanted to connect with.

But… There was a problem…

I built an audience giving these strategies away. Sure…

And I’d get messages from them. And we’d talk. And I’d hear their stories.

I’d hear from A+ students that cut their study time by 90%.

I’d hear from B students that took their grades up to A’s.

I’d hear from teachers that were sharing my strategies with their students.

I’d hear from older students how these strategies changed their life.

I love it. I love introducing these strategies that changed my life to other people.

But there was always this… but…

What about the C students?

What about the D students?

What about the students that are currently failing?

Sure… Some would reach out.. but…

They never followed through… They’d take a small step. They’d sign up. They’d learn some killer strategies. Seeing right there how powerful they were going to be…

And then… life kicks in. They lose sight of their goals.

And it’s gone.

Forever.

Student’s came to this site to improve their life. They see the possibilities. But then… they move on.

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2 thoughts on “Repetition Helps You Remember. It Doesn’t Help You Think.

  • December 6, 2019 at 6:03 pm
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    You can solve your problem with Spaced Repetition.
    Use something like “Anki” search on YouTube to learn about it

    Reply
  • February 4, 2016 at 6:53 am
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    Because of my memory problem, I have to repeat information for a week before I remember the small details that teachers love to ask about. The first two-three times I read notes or a textbook, I do it to understand the topic and get a general idea of it. Then I repeat.
    I wish that teachers and lecturers were more interested in checking if their students understand the topics and less about memorization of superfluous details.

    Reply

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