Simple repetition techniques may help you commit any item or list of information into your long term memory, but it has one major problem – it never actually helps you learn or apply any of that information. The information simply sits in your mind, waiting for you to pull it out when necessary without any modification to it whatsoever. So, what if you want to not only memorize some information, but be able to apply it later to whatever it is that you are working on?
This is a problem that has been baffling scientists, mathematicians and all other types of scholarly individuals for many thousands of years. People memorize what they need to know but many times they do not actually learn it so that they can manipulate it later.
In order to combat such problems with repetitive memorization, there is another technique that was mentioned earlier that you should highly consider spending some time learning. This technique, although it goes by many names, is usually referred to as spaced repetition. Unlike regular repetitive memorization techniques, spaced repetition combines the repetition used by people around the world and combines it with a time factor so that you can not only store information in your memory but so you can also learn that information and be able to mentally manipulate it to your whim.
As with simple repetitive memorization techniques, there are a few things that you need to master if you want to be the best you can be at spaced repetition memorization techniques. The first thing that you need to know is that there is no single time period between repetitions that works best for everyone. This has been studied, and scientists have concluded that no matter how smart you are, how high your IQ is or how well read you are, none of it makes any difference in determining how much time should elapse between your repetitions of information. So, some people will find that they need to repeat a piece of information once every five days while another person may need to repeat it once every twenty days.
Secondly, after the initial memorization of the information that you need to know, the amount of time between when you need to re-repeat that piece of information will change. For most, that time will increase so that even though you may have repeated what you needed to know a lot in the first couple of weeks, after that, you may only have to repeat it on a monthly or even a yearly basis for it to stay in the back of your mind. This is because spaced repetition works on various active recall sectors in your brain which conditions your mind to store information that has been repeated and then recall it a long time down the road as if you learned it only a few minutes ago – effectively allowing you to learn the information instead of simply memorizing it.
The primary use of this type of repetitive memorization is for people who are trying to learn a foreign language. Instead of cramming all of the information in at one single time, it is best to space the learning process out so that you can retain more and better recall it when you need to. You will often find that most computer programs and classes that are designed to help you learn another language will use this spaced repetition style of memorization technique. For example, you may learn a few words of Italian which you will use simple repetition to commit to your memory and then, a few weeks down the road, you will be asked to recall those words on a test or in a conversation. This will allow you to not only memorize the word, but keep it in your mind under learned information for maximum effectiveness.