Forgetting

Memories decay over time. This process can be represented by a forgetting curve like the one shown here. The gradient of this curve represents the rate of memory decay. Several factors contribute to the rate of this decay. The ReVision approach applies a number of techniques, to reduce memory decay and improve your ability to recall knowledge in an exam situation.

Cognitive Map

Understanding and Meaning

The stronger your understanding, or greater the meaning you attach to information, the slower the potential rate of memory decay.

The Cognitive Mapping techniques employed in the ReVision approach build your understanding of topics, and hence improve your recall of knowledge in the exam.

Cognitive Map

Rehearsal

Another factor influencing the rate of memory decay is the level and nature of rehearsal of information. The more often and actively the information is rehearsed, the stronger the memory will become, the lower its rate of decay, and the less often it will need to be rehearsed in future.

To help you manage the timing and quality of rehearsal you should combine the following two revision techniques : Spaced Rehearsal and Active Recall.

Cognitive Map
Spaced Rehearsal is a technique of gradually increasing the intervals of time between your review of previously revised material.

So, when you first revise a topic, revisit this topic the next day, then return to the topic in 3 days perhaps, and then revise the topic again in 7 days. The spacing of revision sessions will vary between topics. Topics which you struggle to understand should be reviewed more often, with shorter interval spacing.

Active Recall gets you to actively apply the knowledge you are attempting to recall. Rather than simply re-writing your notes, or reading through them again, which is considered a less effective 'passive' review process.

In the above example each revision of the topic involves a different Active Recall task;

  • creating a Cognitive Map of the topic,
  • completing a Recall task in the examstutor StudyRoom
  • taking a Test on examstutor
  • attempting Exam Questions in the examstutor ExamHall.

Interference

Interference theory suggests that learning something new can cause us to forget older information. As an A level student, probably revising for exams in more than one subject, this can have considerable influence on your ability to recall specific items of knowledge.

Rehearsal in multiple formats has been shown to reduce this interference effect, revising using auditory or visual input, revising by watching video tutorials, by attempting worked examples or past exam questions. By revising in different formats you generate more associations or 'neural pathways' to recall the information, and examstutor provides you with opportunities to rehearse topics in multiple formats.



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