Click here to order Better Grades in Less Time


Right after you read, review what you highlighted! Review within ten hours, otherwise you will forget it all very quickly. Here's a graph of how our memory works.

The chart above is based on the experiments of Ebbinghaus, a scientist and pioneer in the study of memory and forgetting. Retention is measured in terms of how much time it takes to re-learn the forgotten material to the original level. The greater the forgetting, the more time it takes to re-learn the material.

Our memory of what we read drops soon afterward. We lose eighty percent of what we hear within a few hours if we don't go back and review. Within 5 hours of reading the material, go over your highlights and you will find that you remember what you read. It's still familiar to you, all you have to do is read it over quickly. If you review within 5 hours, you'll be able to review at an incredibly high rate, and save yourself a lot of time. If you wait any longer than 24 hours, it will take you much longer to review what you already read because the information will not be fresh in your head. The amount of time it will take you to reinforce the information in your memory will be much greater. After this initial review, all you have to do is read over your highlights once more before the exam. A final review just before the exam will lift your comprehension enough to have excellent recall on the exam. The final review will go quickly, because you will remember the information from reviewing it the first time.

Some students will still cram and not take the few minutes to review each day. Don't be one of those few ignorant students wasting your time.

If you want to learn the information in the shortest amount of time, make sure you distribute your learning over several days -- rather than the fools who try and cram the night before, thinking they are saving time. Research shows that when you distribute learning it takes less time to learn, and you remember better. You learn in about 3/4 the time, and the information gets firmly implanted in your memory!

Years ago, the British Post Office decided to mechanize its letter-sorting procedures. They started using a new electronic system, and needed to teach their postmen how to type. They were not sure of the most effective way to teach the postmen, and asked the advice of the Applied Psychology Unit in Cambridge.

The question was whether they should teach the postmen by giving them several hours of practice per day, or whether they should have them distribute their learning over a longer period. The results were shocking.

They had four different groups they worked with. One group learned for 1 hour, once a day. A second group learned for 1 hour, twice a day. A third group learned for 2 hours, once a day. And a fourth group learned for 2 hours, twice a day. The result showed that the group that learned only one hour per day learned the information in the shortest number of hours -- they ended up learning in about 3/4 the time! And not only did they learn the information in 3/4 the time, but they learned the information best -- they made the least errors. So every day, whether there is a test or not, spend just a little time reviewing your notes or reading assignments. You will learn the information better, and in less time!


©1996-2004, The Society of Success and Leadership