I was told about this little test called the GRE towards the end of my last semester at University. The GRE is essentially the SAT for graduate school, and it is rarely talked about. This meant a lot of studying in a very short time. Like the SAT, the GRE has a lot of vocabulary involved, so there was a rush to face my life long nemesis. You’d think as an English major I’d be good at it, but turns out being bilingual means I’ll always have a hard time with vocabulary. So here is what I found:
A bit of a DIY project. You’ll need four boxes and notecards with the vocab words, or whatever subject you’re learning.
Step 1: Write all your note cards with the vocab. I like to write the word on one side, color code it by part of speech (adjective, verb, adverb, etc.), and write the definition and a sentence using it on the other side.
Step 2: Write “1 Day”, “3 Days”, “5 Days”, and “1 Week” on each of the boxes.
Step 3: Read through the notecards and place them all on the “1 Day” box.
Step 4: Quiz yourself with the notecards. The ones you get right you place them on the “3 Days” box. The ones you get wrong you place on the “1 Day” box. The next day you’ll revisit the “1 Day box” and three days later you’ll revisit the “3 Days” box.
Step 4 continues similarly through each box. Every time you get a notecard right, you move it up to the next box, up until the one week box, where it will stay. Every time you get a notecard wrong it gets knocked back to the “1 Day” box. Even if it was on the “1 Week” box, if you get it wrong, it returns directly to day 1.
The purpose of this is to practice repetition. Also, rather than spending your time looking at what you already know every day, it actually allows you to focus on what you’re struggling with. Another good thing about this method, is that it will force you to develop long term memory links with the information. You’re stretching your ability to recall information that you perhaps haven’t looked at in a week. This practice of recalling is very useful for tests specially, because it requires very little memory trigger.
This tip can be applied to more than just vocabulary. Any information that can be put on notecards. I used it also on my linguistics final and I wish I had known it when I had to suffer through biology. I can see it used for physics and geometry formulas, and much more.