why we forget and how to remember

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AN D H OW TO

REMEMBER
Unless you have a photographic memory, you likely find it hard to remember everything you learn, even an hour or two after you learn it.
Why? Research about how we remember and forget gives us a clue.

01

HOW QUICKLY
WE FORGET

19th century psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus created the “Forgetting Curve” after studying how quickly he learned, then forgot, a series of three-letter trigrams. Here’s what he discovered:

In the time it takes to make and drink a cup of coffee, you’ll forget
42% of what you learned.

42%
20 MIN

56%

In about the time it takes to watch your favorite TV show, you’ll forget 56% of what you learned.

1 HOUR

During the course of a normal workday, you’ll forget 64% of what you learned.

64%
9
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Stress helps imprint these “flashbulb memories” into our minds for easy recall.

BEST METHOD

HOW TO
REMEMBER

SPACED REPETITION
Reviewing what you learn strengthens the memory of it. Every additional review renews the learning, slows the forgetting curve, and makes the information more permanent in your memory.

04

HOW TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF
SPACED REPETITION
It was Ebbinghaus who first identified the phenomenon of spaced repetition for improving memory. Since then, numerous studies have affirmed its powerful effects. Here’s how to use spaced repetition to improve your learning:

QUICK REVIEW
Within a few hours of first learning something new, read your notes, adding thoughts or summaries of the notes every few lines. If you don’t have notes, reread the text or, if you’re learning online vs. a classroom, re-watch portions of the course, taking notes this time.

SKIP A DAY
While it may be tempting to repeat the process as soon as you can, an important part of spaced repetition is the spacing. The first review should be quick. Each subsequent review should take place at a longer interval than the previous one.

12

REVIEW THE MATERIAL AGAIN
Review everything you’ve learned, not just what you’ve forgotten. For example, if you learned a new skill from online training, watch the course again, adding to your notes to make them more complete.

TAKE A TEST
Testing your memory improves retention by 20-50%. If your

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