As summer classes carry on, we all need a way to study and apply what we learned in class. Active recall constantly tests your knowledge and forces you to increase your focus; if you combine this with spaced repetition, then you will go over the harder information more frequently. Using this technique will not only help you retain your notes, but it will also be helpful long term. Throughout finals, I used an app called Anki everyday for about three weeks before my AICE exams, and I completed all of them easily. I call it my “Secret Strategy” because of how efficiently it works.
As mentioned above, active recall stimulates your memory by forcing you to retain information previously learned. This is easily completed with flash cards or practice tests. The most efficient way to apply active recall is through spaced repetition over a long period of time. For example, if you are learning a subject in school you can have a pile of flashcards for certain time intervals, (once a day, once every other day, twice a week, etc.). Every time you finish a pile, you can then rearrange them accordingly. Then you can go through each pile and test the harder information more frequently.
I used this method most on my AICE U.S. History exam last semester. For three weeks before the exam I used Anki with spaced repetition. The less memorable details like dates and names were recalled everyday. However, certain events like the Battle of Gettysburg barely appeared because I had an understanding of them. I used the program throughout the whole year so many larger characteristics came back to me at the end because active recall helps long term memory. Using this program along with other review strategies will help significantly throughout your academic career.
In essence, the reminders are more frequent the closer they are to memorization. So if something is harder to remember, the reminders will be closer together. In this graph, the spaced repetitions of reminds flattens the curve and after 60 days, there is a 40% chance of remembering; this is compared to the ≈3% chance of remembering without spaced repetition.
Anki uses the studying methods mentioned above and implements them into a very intuitive, useful program. You can create or download decks from online to create flashcards. Then everyday, you will have a set number of review terms and new terms which you can rate on how well you remember them. The scale goes from a 1-5, but fluctuates based on how frequently the card will appear. Each day the app will be catered to your needs and cards can be organized to your liking.
This post is not sponsored, but I wanted to share how useful it was to me during the school year. You can download it here for free on Windows or Mac. I prefer the desktop app, especially because the mobile version is paid. I will guarantee that it will help you for all of your tests and exams in the future.