These two memory strategies will help you to stop forgetting things

These two memory strategies will help you to stop forgetting things

Experts have pinpointed the two strategies they believe are key to successful studying or learning.

Researchers at Iowa State University in the US said two methods – spacing and retrieval practice – showed the best results.

The study, published in the Nature Review Psychology journal reviewed studies spanning more than 100 years, finding that using both methods could result in a “dramatic increase” in learning.

Spacing is defined by learning in small doses over a long period of time. Meanwhile, retrieving is a habitual recalling of information a person has just learned, such as using flash cards and doing mock tests.

Previous research found that medical students who received repeated surgery training over a period of three weeks performed faster and better on tests, both two weeks and one year later, compared to students who received the training on one day.

Additionally, more than 200 studies showed that people retain more information for long periods of time when they use retrieval practices.

The analysis found that retrieval practice was especially helpful for learning when people were able to check responses for errors or were able to get feedback right away.

Shana Carpenter, a psychology professor and lead author of the study said the findings showed that returning to material after forgetting some – but not all – is an effective learning strategy.

“Forgetting is a very natural thing; you can’t stop forgetting even if you try, but you can slow down forgetting by using retrieval practice and spacing,” Carpenter said.

Experts said their findings showed that simply re-reading a textbook or highlighting key points is an “illusion of learning” as opposed to retaining information.

“Probably the number one misconception is that learning has to feel easy in order to be working, and that’s just not true at all,” Carpenter added.

“You’ll learn more durably and more effectively if you persist and get through those challenges than if it had felt easy the whole time.”