Monday, August 27, 2012

The Spacing Effect

The "spacing effect" is a simple technique to better retain information - and perform better on exams.
  1. Learn the subject
  2. Take a good chunk of time (e.g. couple days) to do other activities
  3. Come back and attempt to retain the subject
While retaining is difficult because of the gap, it is precisely because of the difficulty long term memory improves. Note: If the interval between learning and retaining is too short or too long, there is no spacing effect.

As an example, an experiment found that an Ontario school 5th grade students remembered far more vocabulary words they learned in 2 sessions spaced 1 week apart vs. 1 lesson.

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