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There are some topics that you just can’t avoid when looking into modern strategies for studying. This weeks question is about one of those topics: spaced repetition.

I keep hearing about spaced repetition. A bunch of websites offer tools to study more effectively claiming spaced repetition is the key to their tools. I don’t remember ever reading your thoughts on spaced repetition. What do you think about it?
-Caleb

For the readers that haven’t come across spaced repetition in the past, it is the idea that you can’t just study once and remember it. In fact, you can’t just study something twice and remember it. The more times you study something, the less often you have to study it to keep it in your memory but you can never completely stop using something and remember it forever.

For example, if you want to remember that “caminar” means to walk in Spanish, you can’t just study it now and remember it forever. A week from now, you might have to restudy it. Then a month from now you should restudy it again. Then a year from now you should restudy it again. Then, you pretty much have to continue this forever. This is, to some extent, the nature of memory. Instead of studying it once, you need to study it repeatedly at extending periods of time.

Science has backed up this idea. Spaced repetition is definitely a factor when trying to remember something. This is really a common sense concept for anyone that’s dedicated themselves to studying. Eventually, you forget what you already learned. To get information to stick better, you need to be willing to review that information regularly. In fact, I recommend that all the time on this blog.

It is definitely a factor but there is a serious problem when most people discuss spaced repetition. Spaced repetition may be useful but the vast majority of spaced repetition tools are based heavily on pseudoscience.

These tools claim to have a serious scientific backing to them but the backing is generally too flimsy to count on to be anything consistent.

Right now, in my opinion, there is not enough information on spaced repetition to create a solid and consistent study tool relying on it. Each spaced repetition based tool will end up working great for some people and working terrible for others.

My point is not to say spaced repetition tools are useless because I’ve used them myself. I’m just saying to be cautious when anyone is trying to sell you on the concept of a “scientifically proven” spaced repetition tool. (Many of these tools take science on spaced repetition and claim it’s proof for their specific timeframe. The timeframe is the really tough part that needs the scientific backing.)

Some of these tools can be used and adjusted to make spaced repetition work well through experimentation but these tools are not the important part of the solution. It’s the experimentation that’s doing the real work. 

I highly recommend spaced repetition. I’ve even recommended it a few times without actually calling it by its name. You need to be willing to review information regularly to get it to stick. That being said, don’t trust people claiming to have figured out the ideal time frame for this repetition. There are no strong scientific backings for specific tools I’ve looked into. Many of these tools are just cookie cutter guesses at what a good routine should look like. While they may work alright, I wouldn’t be betting too much on them.

Keeping repetition to a minimum is my preference though. For more info on that read Repetition Helps You Remember. It Doesn’t Help You Think.

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 to learn more. If you’re looking to learn it all even faster, be sure to check out the ebooks in the sidebar.

Q/A – What’s The Deal With Spaced Repetition?

A B&C Students Guide To Mercilessly Crushing A Students At Their Own Game (While Laughing Your Way Towards The Ivy-League)

Are you smart but getting meh grades?

The smartest students are often the ones the school system leaves behind. It’s easy to motivate a half-wit (or even almost-wit – like a horse with a carrot dangled in it’s face to get it running. Giddy-up horsey!

You would never fall for that, right? Then this is for you.

It’s easy to procrastinate when you’re getting a raw deal. That’s the smart thing to do.

Academics is a game – and its prizes are good. Really good! There is more to the story than that though. What do you have to do to get that prize? And that matters even more than the prize. Study 18 hours a day for straight-A’s and a high-paying job someday in the distant future? Ughhh… Not me. That’s for sure.

I scored near the top of my college Engineering class while studying less than 15 minutes a morning. And seriously, I don’t sound like a super genius, do I?

Hint: I had barely scraped a 1.0 GPA in high school and I wasn’t skipping and having fun with friends either – I was… dare I say… trying my best.

Big Tip: trying doesn’t matter unless you’re experimenting or already using an effective strategy. Trying without an effective strategies is a waste that can plop your grades in the stinker. First step – STOP TRYING with ineffective strategies.

You got that?

Look… I’m a bit crazy. I get it. I’ve read hundreds of books on grades, learning, and memory. I spent sleepless nights studying obscure academic journals. I swear, I even read the book “How To Read A Book” and didn’t have to drink alcohol to do it!

WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF!?

You wanna’ know why?

Don’t tell anyone but… I care. I was emotionally crippled by the school system. I had heartless, lazy, and downright mean teachers (and a couple good ones that couldn’t help.) It took years for me to untangle their mess…

And I went to college and beat them at their own wretched game. Top scores. Easy studying. Time to make friends and impress the ladies. (You know… the important stuff!)

But I know… I wasn’t alone and I know there are others facing similar and worse challenges than I did. And I may be out of the warzone now but I can’t in good conscience leave you behind without my arsenal.

That’s why a decade ago I founded Smart Student Secrets and got link backs from LifeHack, HuffPo, and good college professors with names I can’t pronounce from all over the world that see these strategies crushing every day. But forget about them… the emails I get from grateful students… that’s the stuff a good life is made of.

My newest book is, in my opinion, the best book ever written for students that want to absolutely crush the academic game.

It gets you to focus your energy on the most important aspects of grades – giving you leverage on the system.

It shows you the big painful studying, you’re not benefiting from – that you thankfully get to stop today and forever.

It takes the latest in academic research on memory and puts into your hands, the exact memorization strategies that a Purdue Professor proved can let someone memorize 2.35 things for every one they’re memorizing now.

And this isn’t about “working harder” – and it’s not about “working smarter” either. (I cringe every time I read that phrase.)

It’s about working only when it matters most and creating the habit of motivated and effective learning.

I guarantee this… You can skyrocket your grades with my book while studying less than you ever had to study before. If I’m wrong, send me an email and I’ll refund you – no questions asked.

Please give me the chance to change your life for the better – it’s on me to prove it. What you’re going to do is: click on the link here or below, click “Buy Now”, fill in the boxes, and you’ll get your copy of the book through an instant download.

Get How To Study Happier Here

Warning: Inflation is eating my butt right now. My accountant is saying the prices need to go up to keep up with server costs ASAP or this whole site is in danger. I’m writing this one last message as a last ditch effort to get this book to anyone that wants it. If you want it, do it now while the guarantee and price are still available. You will have it for when you’re ready to start.

Last chance! Don’t miss it at the lowest price and best guarantee I can do.

 

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8 thoughts on “Q/A – What’s The Deal With Spaced Repetition?

  • June 16, 2021 at 3:56 am
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  • July 3, 2019 at 3:23 am
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  • June 13, 2019 at 6:36 pm
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    Next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won’t fail me as much as this particular one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read, but I genuinely thought you would probably have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something you could fix if you were not too busy searching for attention.

    Reply

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