Three Study Habits for Memorizing

If you’re used to cramming, you’ll need to form some new habits for your spaced repetition. Check out these three simple study habits.

Basically, with memorizing, you don’t want to study too much, or too little. That sounds obvious, but in real life, it takes discipline.

Review in short sessions.

Your brain tires easily. Many short study sessions are better than a marathon cramming session. If you have a lot to review today, do more than one session. (And if you’re already tired, get some rest and review later. You need to be alert.)

How short is short? It depends on the material. You should be able to tell when you’re too tired, or your mind just feels “full”.

How do you know when you’re too tired? When you realize you’ve been staring at the same question for over a minute, thinking about something totally different.

Add a few new cards each day.

Don’t learn too many new cards at once. You’ll set up huge reviews for tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. You won’t be as excited as you are right now.

The exact number of new cards depends on the subject. You might learn ten or twenty new vocab words in a day, but only three or four verses. Whenever you feel yourself getting tired, you’ve probably learned enough new cards for now. If you’re a full-time student, these numbers will be higher, of course.

On the flip side, do try to add a few new cards every day. They’re like planting seedlings. As time goes by, you’ll suddenly realize you’re starting to get a lot of fruit.

Not sure how to track your flashcards? Try Anki (it’s free and awesome).

Review every day!

You can skip one day a week, like Sunday, but otherwise, do try to review every day. If you don’t, bad things happen:

  • Cards pile up. Every day you wait will make it harder to catch up.

  • You have to redo your newest cards. Because you didn’t get to them in time, they fell out the back of your head. Now you have to start over.

What happens if (when) you do miss several days? You’ll have a big “stack” of overdue cards. Don’t feel you have to get through the whole stack to “catch up.” Spend a little extra time each day, and you’ll soon be caught up.

Summary: Don’t study too much, or too little

  • Review in short sessions.
  • Add a few new cards each day.
  • Review every day (except Sunday).