How to Remember

How to Remember

January 18th, 2021 [WIP]

"Memory is like a spiderweb that catches new information.
The more it catches, the bigger it grows.
And the bigger it grows, the more it catches."

- Joshua Foer

Every time you learn something new, you begin the journey to immediately forgetting it :)

Have you ever studied hard for a class only to forget all the material within, like, a year? Yeah, me too. It turns out that cramming entire courses within weeks is not exactly the best way to remember things for the long term. The longer you go without reviewing newly learned information, the further it slips into the void. This relationship is captured by the forgetting curve*: * The simplest proposed model is exponential decay (\(e^{-t}\)), but this turns out to be a bad fit to existing data. Hermann Ebbinghaus, who first studied this phenomenon (and revolutionized experimental psychology with his work, came up with a better fit to his data: \(\frac{100k}{c\log (t) + k}\)

Flashcards are good...

They allow you to atomize information and easily review it.

...but spaced repetition systems are exponentially better!

While regular flashcard review strategies use a constant interval between reviews of a card, spaced repetition systems use a variable interval, which grows (or shrinks) exponentially.