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SPACED PRACTICE – WHAT IS IT?
Spaced practice (also referred to as distributed practice) is the opposite of cramming! Spaced practice involves studying information in repeated increments over time to ingrain the information into your long-term memory. There are a couple of ways that you can space out your review sessions. It is recommended that you schedule your first review session soon (within 1-2 days) after your initial learning of the material for an exam that is in a week, as illustrated in the table below:
There are a couple of different approaches to setting up a schedule for studying.
1. Equally spaced review sessions – Scheduling regular review sessions at equally spaced intervals (i.e. every 3 days you review for a class)
2. Expanding (spaced) review sessions – Scheduling regular review sessions with increased intervals between each review.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Everyone has to battle against something when you learn new material – you have to battle against the “forgetting curve”. The more time that passes after initially learning new material, the more you are going to forget. Instead of waiting until a day or two before the exam to look at the material again, spaced practice encourages you to schedule regular study times to help you learn, retain, and recall the information when you need it. Incorporating retrieval practice as a part of these study sessions is a great way to enhance your learning.
Below is a short video that will walk you through the ins and outs of this particular learning strategy, including how to use it with flash cards that you have created. Check it out!
TOOLS FOR USING SPACED PRACTICE
- Anki is a very popular memory app that enables difficulty ratings for flashcards, which determines the frequency that you will see it come up! This app works wonderfully with images and sign-up is FREE except for the Apple store (where it costs $25).
- TinyCards is a very similar to Anki but it is only available to iPhone users. Also, TinyCards is a great app for visual learners.
- Quizlet is a excellent way to study information in multiple different formats (flashcards, practice tests, memory games). However, there is a fee if you want the special feature that assists in spaced practice.
HOW CAN I IMPLEMENT SPACED PRACTICE INTO MY SCHEDULE?
1. Start with setting time aside (15+ minutes) after each class to review the notes you took that day.
2. Over the weekend, have a hour or so to go over that weeks material and maybe spend a few minutes going over the previous weeks to refresh.
3. As the exam approaches, set up an accumulative study session (whether it is solitary, or a group study session) to be most familiarized with all the material.
For a better understanding of what a schedule may look like when implementing spacing repetition, here is a simplified sample schedule for an upcoming Biology exam (in blue):
Frank, Thomas (2016, August 7). How to Remember More of What You Learn with Spaced Repetition. Retrieved from https://collegeinfogeek.com/spaced-repetition-memory-technique/