How to Not Forget Things (Conquer the Forgetting Curve)

I’m pretty sure that all of us at some point in our life has wondered how or why we forget things quickly. The information that you learned today very well, the next day you remember only bits and pieces. Sound familiar?. Most people think that this is their fault but actually it’s not at all your fault. If you forget things the next day after you learned you’re completely fine, this happens because of the way our brain has been designed. But there are exceptions.

Our human brain forgets things because of something called The Forgetting Curve. It is also called The Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve. The theory is that humans start losing the memory of learned knowledge over time, in a matter of days or weeks, unless the learned knowledge is consciously reviewed over again. The forgetting curve is exponential because memory loss is rapid within the first few days of learning. But the rate of memory loss decreases and the rate of much forgetting are much slower from then on.


Suppose you study a topic “A” today and you review it tomorrow you have interrupted the forgetting curve. Now you will forget only 25% the following day and if you review it three days later you go back to 100% and now it’s going to take you even longer to forget it. The idea is that the more times we do this the more spaced out our repetition becomes the more likely we are to encode this information into a long term memory. Now you’ll never forget the topic “A” because we have repeated it so many times that the forgetting curve does not apply to it anymore.

The idea behind spaced repetition is that you allow your brain to forget some of the information such that when you revise it again it’s not mindless repetition it’s actually taking you some brainpower to retrieve the information. It is a scientific fact that the harder your brain works to retrieve something from it the stronger that information gets encoded in your brain. So the more brainpower it takes, the more you’ve forgotten and harder your brain has to work, therefore more strongly the information gets encoded in your brain. Studying by this method is much more efficient than any other method. You’ll save much more time and energy by this method. Even medical students use this study technique.

This is such a valuable piece of information that everyone at every age will benefit from. You can use this technique to learn any sort of information. If you got to know this at a young age then your extremely lucky because you can save so much time and learn things with much greater understanding and efficiently which will greatly affect you in a positive way in the long run. If you’re not young it’s still fine, learning is a never-ending process. Even if you have got a job, to grow in it you have to learn more, you can use this technique from now and I promise you will never go back to studying the same way as before.

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