Study Arata! Today we are going to talk about a technique that I really like. If you’ve been researching and interested in study techniques, you’ve probably stumbled upon this concept out there already – let’s talk about spaced repetition, which is one of the techniques I apply to Arata Academy training.
Repetition and memorization
This technique is successful because of the way your brain learns and forgets information. If you always forget some things, rest assured, this is absolutely normal. If you remembered every little thing happening around you, it would drive you crazy.
Your brain forgets many things to remain healthy. You remember things that happen to you during shorts period of time. After a few minutes, you’ll start forgetting. In a few days, you won’t remember a thing. Memories you don’t forget are the ones you keep thinking about over and over again.
This means that to record some information in your head, you need to repeat it. However, there is a clever way to do these repetitions efficiently.
Efficiency is key
If you keep repeating things without needing to, it will be a waste of time.
It is crucial to know smart learning techniques as you study. After all, you can’t afford to keep repeating the same thing every minute of every day.
Of course, you would memorize the information if you did this. Here is the problem: if you are working with lots of content, such as Civil Law, it would take decades to memorize all the details you need for that test by repetition.
By then, the laws will probably have changed, or the interpretations of the judges could have changed. You need to learn an efficient technique.
Now you will learn how to repeat and memorize in a different way: it will depend on the quality of how you have assimilated the content or concept.
You don’t need to repeat the information you have mastered often, it’s already stuck in your brain. In this technique, you must focus on repeating the content you haven’t learned well with a higher frequency and in shorter intervals.
Do you know when you are thinking intensely? When you use your brain to try to find out what the past associations are… or reminisce the necessary ways to get to that knowledge? You are practicing your ability to retrieve information. The Spaced Repetition technique will help you improve your memorization skills significantly.
As usual, I’ll give you a more practical example. Suppose you are studying vocabulary of a foreign language and you are currently learning the names of different animals.
When you need to remember how to say the name of a particular animal, and feel that you have to struggle to remember the right word, you are taking that mental path: trying to retrieve the information you know, but don’t remember at that moment.
The best time for you to do spaced repetition efficiently is right before you completely forget. So, if you learned the name of an animal in another language today, it may be a bit of a waste of your time to repeat the name of that animal almost immediately, because that information is still fresh in your head. You could dedicate this time to learn the name of different foods or means of transportation instead.
Attention: If you get to the point that you need to read the name of that animal again, you have waited too long – you have to be careful not to forget permanently. Remember that the best time to repeat the information is a little bit before it is completely forgotten.
Learning also requires effort
I know some people will complain that studying like this is very tiring because, in fact, it’s as if your brain has to do even more. In the meantime, I’ll tell you one thing: If you’re not feeling anything while studying, or you remember everything quickly, it’s probably because everything is still too fresh in your head.
The learning process involves a little more mental effort and is intense. You have to create the brain connections to master a subject.
Mental work involving more complex operations, such as analyzing and synthesizing information, needs to be spaced out so that new neural connections can be consolidated – that’s why sometimes we put our hands on our jaws or our heads to try and retrieve a particular word. Ha!
If you exercise often, you may have realized that you need to take some time off every now and again. You can’t push your muscles too hard with constant workouts and no rest.
The same thing happens with our minds. You have to allow yourself to forget a little until it’s time to review the material and strengthen those neural connections.
It won’t be simple at first – you have to find out what your ideal point of oblivion is to avoid repeating knowledge that is still fresh in your head. There are several programs and applications for mobile phones that can help us today, such as Anki or Memrise. Before these alternatives came, people would do the same using study cards or flash cards.