Memorisation – Long term (Part 2)

This part is literally about my story on using this technique, won’t make too much sense if you don’t check out part 1.

To recap, I’m using a memo program like Anki, and filling it with cards related to what I study by the week number (in the semester) and the module name. i.e. one card for week 1 calc iii, another for week 8 linear algebra, etc. And every day anki tells me what to revise, if i find it easy it reminds me to revise after a long time. If i found it hard then it’ll be a much shorter time.

So back to my story, this whole process of revision is very long term because it does take literally months to do. But I confidently stand by this approach. I experimented with this during my first year of university. During the summer break prior to the year I managed to nab the notes for most of my modules (6 out of 8). And all my friends were like I’m just going to forget everything and they’d be right if i didn’t have some system to review myself. So I thought to myself I need a plan to help me remember and came up with this idea of using Anki like this.


And boy did it work. Man. This is probably the worst advice to give. I missed so many lectures. My attendance was like 10%, it was awful. But every time I went, it just was stuff I already knew very well. And if I really needed to go I could just watch it online at double the speed. So I spent the academic year chilling like jack frost on Christmas eve. I had a lot of time for video games; eating out with friends, it was beautiful. I had warnings after warnings. To the point where I became a cause for concern and my possible expulsion was being discussed. Both fortunately and unfortunately, I got very very sick. I was on anti-biotics for like a week. It was one of the most awful experiences in life I’ve ever had but it pretty much saved my academic life because I was let off for ‘extenuating circumstances’.

At the end of the year I scored a 90% average for my tests. Please don’t take this the wrong way, I only say this to emphasise how amazing this method is. I’ve never been the smartest guy in the room (except for like empty rooms). I got a C for physics A level, B for chemistry. By all means, if I was to cram exams like i used to I would have flat out failed.

A bit of math for you, I roughly worked an hour a day for six months: 6*31 = 186 compared to cramming 9-5 (8 hours) over the last month before exams: 8*31 = 248. Then consider the amount of time in lectures,  9 hours a week with 26 weeks: 9*26 = 234, so that gives me about 234+248=482 hours of work for a lecture+cram style academic year. Whereas with my awful attendance that gives 10% of 234 = 23.4 which leaves me with ~200 hours of work for my grades. Its a pretty sweet deal but the thing I should stress is don’t miss lectures that you don’t know the material for.


Still, it was only the first year, and the second year is proving to be more difficult content-wise but having this system of revision in place really gives me a lot of free time to spend doing other things i love. Aiming for that sweet 80% is optimal especially when you think about the pareto principle.



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