What is this spaced repetition methode everybody is talking about?
It is a methode that claims to make you remember up to 95% of all facts you want to keep in your head.
If you hear this for the first time, the credibility of this claim will probably rank among the typical bro-science stuff you find on the internet daily.
But surprisingly, the efficiency of spatial repetition is backed by science.¹ Therefore, it’s no wonder that this method has become incredibly popular, especially among medical students and language learners.
But how can spaced repetitions generate such impressive results?
The core of this method is based on calculating optimal intervals between repetitions of knowledge units. For finding the correct intervals, it makes use of the forgetting curve: also known as the rate at which we forget information.
For remembering a certain fact, a repetition is done just slightly before you will forget this fact again.
In the beginning, you need to repeat the fact more often, but the better you remember something the less often you need to repeat this fact.
With time, the repetitions are spaced out.
Let’s say that you are learning something new, for example, the name of the 108th chemical element which is called Hassium.
The first repetition should be done the next day. However, if you then recall the information correctly – Hassium – the next repetition shouldn’t be done the following day!
Instead, the optimal time for the next repetition is four days after the first. After 11 successful repetitions, the interval is even extended to 2 years and after 15 repetitions to 18 years.²
You see, it’s growing exponentially.
This way the spaced repetition algorithm allows you to remember facts forever, with just a couple of repetitions spaced over your lifetime.
How much more efficient is this methode compared to bulimia learning, where you cram facts into your brain before exams, just to forget them immediately the days after?
How to do spaced repetitions correctly?
The easiest way is using a physical flashcard box: If you answer a question correctly, you put it at the very end of the box, if you however made a mistake, you put it close to the beginning, to make the card appear soon again.
While Physical flashcards are a great tool to learn facts and prepare for exams, today most people prefer using flashcard apps.
The reason for that is simple:
While physical flashcards work great as an exam preparation tool, they become cumbersome when you try to use them for lifelong learning.
Apps allow you to easily create thousands of flashcards and allow you to review them long-term. They don’t require any physical space, you can carry them with you all the time (even on holidays), and you can easily back them up.
Additionally, apps can calculate the exact review date far more accurately than you could ever do with a stack of physical index cards
The first flashcard app on the market was a program called Supermemo, which was created by the polish entrepreneur Piotr Wozniak. Supermemo still exists today, but Wozniak’s program never reached the mass market.
Mainly because of the lack of usability, for example, Supermemo doesn’t work on phones even in the current year.
This is the reason why in the last decade the open source application Anki took over the flash card market. Anki is mobile-friendly, comes with many extensions created by the community, and is easy to use.
Nevertheless, Anki’s is still based on Supermemo’s algorithm.
Can Notion be used as a Spaced Repetition System?
Notion is the second brain app of choice for many students and knowledge workers. But while second brain systems like the Zettelkasten or Tiago Forte’s PARA system are great ways to store knowledge, they don’t help a lot in transferring knowledge to your first brain.
A lot of Notion users are therefore searching for a way, to combine their spaced-repetition software with Notion.
Unfortunately, to date, there is no easy way to integrate Anki into your Notion dashboard. Additionally, all spaced repetition systems built for Notion to date paled in comparison to Anki
How I built a reliable Spaced Repetition System in Notion
I don’t claim that my Spaced Repetition template for Notion will make Anki obsolete. Still, after looking at most existing spaced repetition solutions for Notion I am confident in my opinion that it is the solution that comes closest to Anki.
So, if you are building your knowledge vault in Notion, checking out my template is highly recommended (I know I am biased)!
Every day the template displays new flashcards that are up for review. This is also indicated by the statement “🟢 Review Today”.
Click on “Reveal Answer” to see the correct answer.
Now be honest with yourself and drag the flashcard to the appropriate field.
- Very easy → if you didn’t hesitate to answer
- Easy → if you could answer after some seconds
- Medium → if you needed to think a while before answering
- Hard → if you needed to think hard before answering
- Fail → if you couldn’t answer or answered incorrectly
Important! Uncheck the box again. Otherwise, the answer stays revealed.
What makes my Spaced Repetition System different?
So far, this is not any different from the existing solutions.
The main innovation compared to these templates is that my template automatically creates intervals that become longer and longer after each successful repetition.
Danny Hatcher attempts something similar with his template, but his solution requires you to manually enter the interval-category of each flashcard.
My solution works automatically because the intervals are time-based:
The algorithm takes into account the creation time of each flashcard and assigns each flashcard to a different category according to its age. A flashcard that is one month old gets another interval than a brand new flashcard or one that is more than one year old.
This way, the algorithm of this template mimics Anki pretty well, as long as you are using it regularly.
Check it out for yourself, by downloading my template for free:
One more thing: Please leave your feedback in the comments. This is a free template I have built for the awesome Notion community and I am wishing to improve it continuously!
- For example Toppino, Kasserman, & Mracek, 1991, or Smith and Scarf, 2017.
- Biedalak K., Murakowski J., Wozniak P. (source: SuperMemo 6 User’s Guide, 1992