[personal profile] notyourbroom
Especially for those of you still in school, I want to take a moment to talk about Mnemosyne again.

I now bring my laptop to class with me every day, and instead of taking traditional notes, I create Question-and-Answer pairs on the material being taught in class. I generally create about 20-50 of these flashcard notes per day.

Then, in the evening (or any time of day on the weekends), I do a short but comprehensive review: I review all of the flashcards automatically scheduled for that day (which is generally about 50-80 out of my database of ~2000 cards), then review the ones that I had created earlier that day in class. This all tends to take less than 15 minutes, though I might take some extra time to edit typos and rephrase ambiguous questions as I come across them.

And then I'm done.

I haven't really needed any further studying time, and I'm beyond convinced that I know my course material much better using Mnemosyne than I would if I were just taking normal paper notes and never bothering to flip through them. For example, even though I did no special preparation work before my recent statistics exam, I felt over-prepared, if anything. We were given a list of "possibly helpful" equations on the test, but I already had all of them memorized, so there was no need for that. It was relaxing and easy.

This is why I'm [theoretically] writing a senior thesis on this stuff. It works. There's a hundred years of memory research behind this technology, I know it works, and I want to see it catch on more.

Date: 2008-09-19 06:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tatoeba-tadayou.livejournal.com
will it help even if I don't have all of my test-material-info until 48 hours prior to the exam?

Date: 2008-09-19 04:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] notyourbroom.livejournal.com
I like this question, since it hits right at the weakest point of spaced repetition.

alright, generally speaking:

Two days of cramming (massed repetition) is going to give you better recall at the end than two days of relaxed studying (spaced repetition). On the other hand, two days of massed repetition right before an exam is going to give you worse recall than a week of spaced repetition leading up to the exam.

However, the difference in the first case isn't too big, since there are diminishing returns on studying a whole lot in a short period of time-- as in, you get a lot more out of the first hour of studying a certain amount of material than you would get out of a second hour of studying that same material.

And you can sort of 'approximate' cramming when using a spaced repetition program by repeatedly grading all relevant material as "unmemorized" for awhile. When you mark something as unmemorized, it just gets put back into the studying queue for the same day, so it'll keep looping back around. If you do that until you're 95% sure you'll still remember any given piece of information by the next day, rather than just being "pretty sure", then you can increase the amount of material you'll remember-- it'll just be more effort for not so much more gain.

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notyourbroom

September 2008

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