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How to Repeat the Material and Not Forget It?


You noticed that very often useful material in the English language does not stay long in the memory, but any obsessive song is remembered easily and for a long time? And all because we hear this very song several times a day. Repeat actions make perfection, and, fortunately, it is absolutely the same for our brain what to learn. Well, let us make it remember not the next "hit", but useful information.

The word "repetition" rarely causes joy and enthusiasm, because not everyone knows interesting ways of learning information. Therefore, we decided to give you a few tips that will help make the repetition process fascinating. In addition, we will try to explain to you how to better fix material and what it is needed for.

Why Do You Need to Repeat the Material?

First, let us figure out why a person needs to repeat something. Cannot you just learn and forget it? The fact is that it is possible, but it is more difficult to learn and, if necessary, to recall.

Let us give an example. Imagine that you are not a student, but an athlete, and want to become a champion in archery. It is unlikely that you will be able to score bull's eye the first time, for this, you will have to shoot 100-200-300 times. Gradually, your hands will stop shaking, movements will become sure, and the arrow will get closer to the coveted object. So in learning: constantly repeating material, you will not be afraid to use different phrases, the speech will become confident, and you will gradually approach the coveted goal (for example, the Intermediate level).

Some will object: "What if I score bull's eye at the first time? Maybe I should not bother myself?". It is necessary, an accidental shot can be accurate, but not frequent. At the competition (at the exam or business meeting) you can fail, because you can forget about accurate shots and solid knowledge without constant training.

How Many Times Do You Have to Repeat the Material?

The answer is simple: until you fix it in memory. There is a certain memorization scheme developed by professional psychologists and educators.

Many people do not believe this, but it has already been scientifically proven that knowledge is acquired and forgotten unevenly. The scholar Ebbinghaus even proposed a so-called forgetting curve. As a result of the research, he found out that we begin to forget the information immediately after studying, and for the first day, we lose up to 60% of knowledge! Then the process of "weathering" the material from a head slows down. However, with periodic repetition of information, we arrive at a reliable fixation of it in memory.

Yes, it is difficult to grind away at your studies! But do not be in a hurry to get upset, you can ease this task by yourself, for this, use different types of repetition and tricks that will help make it not boring.

Types of Repetition to Be Used

  • Active repetition. Means disabling the "autopilot". If you periodically "run through" new vocabulary with your eyes, without thinking about what you are learning, you waste time. Get involved in studying, try not only to learn, but also to "feel" new words or grammatical construction. Include imagination, associative thinking, attention. It is necessary to comprehend new material, to pass it through yourself. Try to find new ways of using vocabulary or come up with a short story with a learned idiom. It is best to make new material "your own", that is, to invent a story about yourself;
  • Retelling. This is a kind of active repetition. It does not mean memorizing by heart. It is much more useful to try to present information from the text in your own words. This will force you to use new vocabulary, you will practice rephrasing texts, and grammar in the context will be well remembered.

How to Repeat Material. Interesting Methods

  1. Favorite books

    Each author has his or her own style and specific vocabulary. When reading a long enough work, unfamiliar words will often be repeated. The first time you need help of a dictionary. We recommend that you immediately write out a new word. The second time you will need to look into your records, the third time you will hardly, but still remember it, and on the 4-5 "replay" you will not pay attention to it, because you will remember it. This is a comfortable passive repetition: while you read a book, all steps of memorization will pass unnoticed.

  2. Fascinating series

    Heroes of series, as a rule, operate with certain vocabulary, which rarely goes beyond the framework of general speaking English. When viewing first series, you need to work hard, sit with a dictionary learning new vocabulary. In the second-third episode, you will already recognize familiar expressions without translation, and by the end of series, you will pass all stages of repetition. It is a very pleasant way to make repetition unobtrusive. There are a lot of series now, you can find something to your liking.

    However, we want to warn you against the choice of series with specific vocabulary. For example, popular "House, M.D." will fill your vocabulary with not very useful words like names of rare diseases and other medical terms.

  3. Interesting news

    There are websites where the news is presented for three levels of difficulty. Authors of articles periodically repeat the same expressions in the news of the same level. Reading only two entertaining publications a day, you can significantly expand your vocabulary, and the process of memorization will be automatic.

  4. Favorite themes and the Von Restorff effect

    It is always easier to study and repeat what you are interested in. And what about "boring" topics? You should "embed" them into fascinating material! Use Von Restorff effect. It sounds abstruse, but in fact, the method is very simple and entertaining.

    The effect is that human memory perfectly absorbs everything that stands out from the general mass. How to apply in learning? Let us say, you repeat 10-15 words every day (we really hope for it). To 10 words on your favorite topic about traveling, add 1-2 words on the topic "Environment". To 15 words on the topic "Seals and other cute animals", add 2-3 words on the topic "Technique". No matter how strange this method may seem to you, it really works very well. Try to conduct an experiment: make a funny text with such diverse words, we guarantee that it will be remembered for a long time!

  5. The Roman room

    This method is also called the Cicero chain. Quite an interesting thing, which was successfully applied by Julius Caesar himself, a person quite intelligent, you will agree. The idea is to structure information. Shall we try? When learning a few words or expressions, go around a room and mentally determine a place for each word/idiom. At the next repetition, try to walk around the room and remember what word "lies on the nightstand", how it is translated. Further, we complicate the process: now you do not go around the room, but just remember it, the information will automatically "pop up" in your head. Actually, this method involves associative thinking. The main condition is that the room should be well known to you.

  6. Smartphone assistant

    This method is suitable for busy people. Create your own audio lessons for repeating words in a convenient order to you. Each phone has a voice recorder function. Make a note: a word in your native language – a pause of 10-15 seconds – a translation into English, then the next word in your native language – a pause – a word in English, etc. Listen to this recording on the way to study or work, try to remember studied vocabulary at a pause. This method has two more advantages. First, you will listen to your pronunciation from the side. Second, you will repeat words while you record.

    As an alternative, we recommend trying different applications. Thanks to them, you can learn 10 words a day and repeat them in time to fix them in memory.

  7. The law of vivid impressions

    What do we remember best? Holidays, happy moments, significant events – everything that is associated with strong positive emotions, vivid impressions. Hence, the studying, including stages of repetition, must be made vivid. We do not advise you to learn English for a festive dinner, sometimes you need to change not the situation around, but yourself. Let repetition be a pleasant pastime for you. A positive attitude is an important component of success. Change the attitude "how it is boring to repeat" to "hurray, I have remembered new words". Psychologists advise imagining a situation where this knowledge would benefit you, help in a difficult situation. This approach will create a strong connection between studied material and positive emotions in your head.

  8. Laws of retroactive and projective inhibition

    Despite the awesome title, these laws are simple and important. The essence of retroactive inhibition: if after studying some information you will go to the next block, the first information block will quickly erase from memory. Watching TV, surfing the Internet, reading a book, etc. can interfere with normal memorization. So we recommend learning and repeating something before going to bed. Repeat the material that has been learned for 10-15 minutes before a dream, this will work better than studying during the day.

    The essence of projective inhibition: if no information has come to us before the studying, remembering new material or repeating the old one will be easier. In simple terms, try to repeat what you learned in the morning when the brain is rested and not full of various information.

To summarize, we want to say that without the repetition of material, it will be difficult to keep it in memory for a long time. However, this important stage can be made interesting and fast. And to make material even better fixed in memory, use it in practice.

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