Would you rather study harder or smarter? Most of us say we would choose the latter but ironically, we spend most of our time studying harder instead. Maybe that’s because we are creatures of habit who believe that more effort means better results. But research has shown that more work does not equal better information recall. It should come as no surprise then that some study methods and learning techniques are more effective than others, and scientists agree one method is superior: spaced repetition.
Spaced repetition is a study method that emphasizes the repeated review of information at increasing intervals over time to improve long-term recall. Basically, this means that short study sessions of a topic should be repeated more frequently at first, then less and less often as time goes on.
The first few days and weeks of more frequent review cement the information in the brain longer. As time goes by, the goal becomes simply to review the data before the brain starts to forget it. If that pattern is maintained, the information will be easier to recall. As you master the concepts, it’s more likely that you need to see them less frequently to remember them.
One study found that the number of review sessions was not a predictor of the best retention rates but rather the intervals at which review sessions were completed. The study also found that the information should be reviewed just before the brain starts forgetting it, rather than as part of a consistent schedule. The research concluded that studying more often did not generate significantly better results than studying less frequently but at the most appropriate times.
In a nutshell, less is more. But how can you identify the ideal intervals and optimal tools for your study sessions to get the benefit of spaced repetition? There are various helpful tools at your disposal, but, in our opinion, the best tool that maximizes the benefits of spaced repetition is flashcards.
As a leading provider of advanced test-preparation materials, UWorld integrates these evidence-based methods into our products to give you the best resources for your exam prep. Our CFA Level 1 flashcards not only offer instructive questions covering all CFA Level 1 learning outcome statements (LOS), but they are also integrated with spaced repetition.
Spaced repetition is scientifically-proven to improve concept mastery and boost retention. And by preparing with our CFA online learning platform, you can take full advantage of this practical learning method to optimize your chances of passing the CFA Level 1 Exam.
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