play/read time: 5 minutes

WAY back in Greek mythology Mnemosyne was the goddess of Memory. music theatre weird fanfic So, how's Memory going in schools these days? bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla Yeah. Not only are common practices like lectures, cramming, and re-reading boring, science has shown they don't work well.* But what if I said there's a way to learn that's evidence-based and fun? What if I said there's a flash card game you can play in minutes a day to store anything you choose into long-term memory, forever?* And it's awesome. I started using Spaced Repetition earlier this year to learn French. In two months, I learnt more words than I did in two years of high school French classes. Since then, I've used Spaced Repetition to remember all sorts of things... ukulele chords computer code friends' birthdays anything interesting i find in books, talks, articles, etc! ...and this lil' flash card game became a core part of my life. In short, Spaced Repetition = testing + time. You test yourself on a fact repeatedly, spacing out your repetitions over time. Spaced Repetition is evidence-based and so simple using Literatu Presto. nicky shut up So, why isn't everyone already doing Spaced Repetition? Because most people don't know it dramatically reduces study time and increases memory. teacher's coming That's why I made this badly-drawn interactive comic. In this comic on Spaced Repetition, I'll show you WHY it works, HOW it works... ...and help you get started with it TODAY. Also, throughout this comic, you can test yourself on what you've learnt, at spaced-out intervals. That is: you'll use Spaced Repetition to learn about Spaced Repetition.

Like so:
Still, isn't "rote memorization" bad? Can't we look everything up these days? Shouldn't we learn creativity & critical thinking instead? There is no "instead". Cognitive science shows you need memorization for creativity & critical thinking. (Imagine writing an essay if you know no words!) MEMORY art science Spaced Repetition isn't a fad or a short-term study hack. It's a way to take back control of your mind. To make long-term memory a choice. To develop a lifelong love of learning...
In 1885, Hermann Ebbinghaus performed an act of scientific masochism. The German psychologist memorized thousands of nonsense words, recorded how much he forgot over time, and discovered... THE FORGETTING CURVE He found that you forget most of what you learn in the first 24 hours, then – if you don’t practice recall – your remaining memories decay exponentially.* * technically the curve isn't exactly
exponential, but, eh, close enough.
Philosophers have debated about memory for millennia, but Ebbinghaus was the first to do actual experiments. (which have been replicated) plz... kill... me... For that reason, Hermann Ebbinghaus is known as the pioneer of the science of memory. Here’s a playable simulation of the Forgetting Curve. Change the rate of memory decay. What happens to the curve? As you can see, the less the decay, the flatter the curve – that is, the longer the memory lasts. How fast a person’s memory decays depends on the person and the memory... hi! sorry, what's your name again? haha. it's susan. But in general, a memory’s “rate of decay” slows down each time you actively recall it. (versus passively re-reading it) susan. susan. susan. susan. susan. (although, when you stop practicing, it still decays.) okay bye sarah! susan. bye sandy! SUSAN. Here’s the simulation again, with a single active recall session.
(grey line: what memory would've been without the recall)
Change the recall timing to see how it affects the curve:
A single recall boosts memory for a bit... but in the long run, due to exponential decay of memory, a single recall changes nothing. Is there a better way to learn? There is! The trick to remembering... to almost forget. To understand this, think about training your muscles. You’ll gain nothing with a weight that’s too easy... ...nor one that’s too hard. The same’s true of training your brain. You need desirable difficulty: the sweet spot of just-hard-enough. comfort discomfort too easy just right too hard Therefore: to best learn something, you need to recall it... ...just as you’re about to forget it. Same simulation as before, but now it shows the sweet spot – where you’ve forgotten just a little bit. Put the recall in the middle of the sweet spot. What happens? See? If you time a recall just right, you can slow down the decay by a bit! Now, what about multiple recalls? Let’s say you’re lazy time-efficient, so you’re only doing 4 recall sessions. Question: what’s the best way to spread out your recalls? susan Should you have evenly spaced gaps? Gaps of increasing length? Gaps of decreasing length? Or make it unpredictable, to keep you on your toes? = recall time even gaps: increasing gaps: decreasing gaps: random gaps: Give it your best guess, then when you’re ready, flip the card over ↓ Which is very counter-intuitive! You can prove to yourself this is true, by playing with the sim below. Get all recalls into the middle of the sweet spot. What spacing do you get? Why must the gaps increase? Because: each time you do a recall at the sweet spot of forgetting, the memory’s decay slows down... it's SUSAN! –the fu ...meaning it’ll take longer to hit the sweet spot next time! But you know what’s sweeter? This also means if you time your recalls just right... can easily keep any number of things in your long-term memory, FOREVER. And speaking of doing active recall in order to learn, let's do some active recall on what we just learnt: Well that's nice, but actually finding a good Spaced Repetition schedule must be hard, right? Nope. It’s simple, and you don't need a pen, cards or a shoebox (AKA spaced repetition from the dark ages) ...
Literatu Presto handles it all! It can even create flash cards from your study content :) Presto is my private tutor ??? I got 100% we're not friends anymore (It takes mere minutes to get started) Oh, and Presto's AI does more than spaced repetition. It takes the content you are learning, and creates study notes, auto-marking quizes, flash cards, and finds you videos to help you learn. Let's let that sink in for a few seconds ... So what can you learn with Presto and Spaced Repetition? WHAT: definitions, terms and jargon
WHY: so you can communicate in your field like a smarty pants
WHAT: facts, facts, facts
WHY: for exams, of course
WHAT: quotations
WHY: for kick-a** essays and articles
Pretty much anything.
Finally, no matter what you're learning, by helping you study smarter and faster... ... Presto gives you time to do what you love Sniff... It's always so hard to say goodbye... HONK I'll miss the time we had together... ...but I hope we live on in each others' memories! If you're a student, I hope Presto's Spaced Repetition helps you be more confident, and take learning into your own hands. If you're a teacher, please oh please tell your students about Presto Spaced Repetition (& other evidence-based study habits) early on. Join us at ! See you (and your mind) soon!
Intro · The Science · try to recall ↑ then flip ↻ (cards left: [N]) did you remember this? nah, try again yup, onwards! done for now! keep scrolling
that's all, folks!
strength of memory → time → decay: sweet spot: timing of recall: timing of recalls: auto-optimize! On Day [N]... review Levels [N] (in that order) (and then loop back to Day 1!) Day [N] to review: Level review Level [N] add [N] new cards total: [N] cards! ([N] retired) next step next day next week next month [N] new cards a day recall [N]% of cards wrong RESET Q: type your answer here or pick one of these suggestions:
  • Anything interesting!
  • A language
  • Music
  • Coding
  • Personal
  • (other)
  • For people I love
  • For my own sake
  • For curiosity's sake
  • (other)
  • Leitner Box
  • Anki
  • TinyCards
  • (other)
  • In the morning
  • On my commute
  • In the evening
  • (other)
  • WHAT: WHY: DO ME! wallpaper a wallpaper for your desktop, a lock-screen wallpaper for your phone, a video, by my dear friend Chris Walker, on how to craft your very own Leitner Box!

    (And here's a similar tutorial, in IKEA form:)

    click to download PDF
    a link to download Anki! And here's a video tutorial on how to use it:

    a link to TinyCards! (i recommend checking out their geography decks) links to tutorials on crafting a Leitner Box [video] [pdf], the Anki app, and TinyCards! DOWNLOAD ALL CARDS DOWNLOADING... DONE! Check your Downloads folder. How To Remember Anything Forever-ish an interactive comic on the art & science of memory
    and the name of this game is...
    Spaced Repetition = ____ + ____
    testing + time
    3 common but ineffective learning/teaching practices are...
    ...lectures, cramming, and re-reading
    In Greek Mythology, the goddess of ____ was the mother of the goddesses of ________
    Memory is the mother of Inspiration
    the best way to space out your recalls is...
    ...with increasing gaps!
    The pioneer of the experimental science of memory was...
    Hermann Ebbinghaus
    The Forgetting Curve (without any recalls) looks like...
    (note: it decays quickly, then slowly - "exponential decay")
    The Forgetting Curve (with well-spaced recalls) looks like...
    (note: the gaps between recalls increase in length)
    In the Leitner Box, we ______ the gap (# of days between reviews) for each Level
    double the gap
    The Leitner Box game:
    when you get a card right, you move it ______ .
    up one Level
    The Leitner Box game:
    when you get a card wrong, you move it ______ .
    back to Level 1!
    According to some random comic-game on the internet, my Spaced Repetition flashcards should be ______ , ______ , and ______ .
    small, connected & meaningful
    What's this?
    This organelle is called "mitochondria". Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. They're found in almost all eukaryotic (nucleus-having) organisms. The most widely-accepted hypothesis for the origin of mitochondria is Endosymbiotic Theory: around ~1.5 billion years ago, a prokaryotic (nucleus-lacking) cell that was "eaten" by another cell, somehow survived, and has continued to live inside them ever since.
    What's this?
    Mitochondria is the _______ of the cell
    powerhouse // bonus note: seriously though, we'd all be dead without 'em.
    Mitochondria is found in almost all ____ organisms.
    Eukaryotes are cells that...
    have a nucleus // bonus note: "eu"=good, "karyon"=kernel
    Prokaryotes are cells that...
    DON'T have a nucleus // bonus note: "pro"=before, "karyon"=kernel
    The most widely-accepted hypothesis for the origin of mitochondria is...
    Endosymbiotic Theory // bonus note: "endo"=inner, "sym"=together, "bio"=living
    According to Endosymbiotic Theory, mitochondria arose around ____ years ago
    ~1.5 billion years ago
    According to Endosymbiotic Theory, mitochondria first arose when...
    when a prokaryote was eaten by another cell
    then back to doing... ↻
    then back to learning... ↻
    WHAT do you want to learn?
    Anything interesting!
    WHY do you want to learn?
    For curiosity's sake
    HOW do you want to do Spaced Repetition?
    Leitner Box
    WHEN do you want to do Spaced Repetition?
    In the evening