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Have you ever learnt something, only to have forgotten it completely a couple of hours later! It’s an awful feeling. When you know that that you only just learnt it, and yet you cannot remember it to save your life! This not-so-nice cycle of forgetting is the called The Ebbinghaus Curve of Forgetting (aka The Forgetting Curve).
In this post, we will be discussing what this curve tells us, and how to beat it!
So – what actually is this curve?
The Ebbinghaus Curve (see above image), tells us that only a day after learning the content, we only remember 50% of what we learned. 2 days later we have forgotten 35%. 3 days later 25%. 4 days later 15%, and so on, as you can see in the image above.
This just keeps going! We keep forgetting!
Luckily, we know how to beat this cycle of forgetfulness, with the method below.
Step 1 – Understanding the content
Memorising the content on its own is pretty much useless. I mean, if you get question on your exam that asks you to explain the process of Filtration, and why everything works, you need to understand the method of Filtration completely. Memorising it will only get you so far!
Read the text, watch the video, have someone explain it to you again, and again, and again until you understand it completely. You should be able to explain it to a child, or someone who had never heard of the topic before.
Create Flashcards on the content, covering every sub-topic within the topic, covering evrything you need in order to understand it. Review these flashcards (should be question and answer flashcards) as though you are marking a test without a mark scheme. The flashcards should be perfectly correct.
Step 2 – Memorising the content
Once you completely understand the content, you need to begin memorising it.
Grab a calendar and schedule out the days that you will review your flashcards. Make sure that the gap between these days gets bigger by one or two days each time. This is called Spaced Repetition. You can do this with multiple subjects/topics at once.
Follow this calendar and you will ace every test on this content easily.
Do you have to use Flashcards?
You can use whatever you want. I strongly recommend using a question-answer format, which makes Flashcards the most obvious choice.
Of course, you can use physical or digital flashcards, depending on what’s easier for you. Some apps have spaced repetition built into them, so you review each flashcard when you need to, instead of reviewing the whole topic at once.
You could even use two sheets of paper, and write questions on one, and answers on the other.
Whether you are studying physic, history, or something totally and completely different, the curve of forgetting is still relevant to YOU!
In this post, you learned what the Ebbinghaus curve is, what it tells us, and how we can use it to our advantage
Thank you for reading this quick post! I try to post twice a week every week, but sometimes life gets in the way and i can only post once. Don’t miss out!