Flashcards - drill or space it out?

Published 5 August 2022

The idea of spaced repetition is to review flashcards at optimal, increasing intervals. Review after 1 day, then 4 days, 10 days and so on. This achieves the optimal retention with the least amount of time spent reviewing.

The forgetting curve with spaced out recalls

The forgetting curve with spaced out recalls

But while time spent reviewing is the least, it may still take a while for you to master a flashcard since the reviews are spaced out over time. Sometimes you can’t afford to wait for two weeks or so until a flashcard comes up for review again. For example when your exam is next week and you haven’t fully mastered the subject yet.

In those cases it makes sense to drill down on the flashcards for that subject, and review them before they’re actually due for review.

How to drill flashcards in Traverse

In Traverse, there are 2 ways of drilling flashcards.

  1. If you want to review all the flashcards within a topic, go to that topic and click the blue Review flashcards button. Then, make sure that the box saying Include cards that are not due yet is checked.

  1. If you want to review all flashcards from a certain page and/or subpages, go to that subpage and click the Review button at the bottom, and choose whether or not to include subpages in your reviews.

Drill flashcars only when it’s necessary to achieve a short-term learning goal. For the long-term, it’s recommended to stick to your spaced repetition schedule (these are the flashcards included by default when you click the blue Review all flashcards button).

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Dominic Zijlstra

6x polyglot, ex-spacecraft engineer, and founder of Traverse.link

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