Can understanding the forgetting curve help you achieve a 4.0?

Imagine what your grades would be like if you could remember things more easily and ensure that all your study methods are working to their fullest potential? Hermann Ebbinghaus discovered the method of savings and the forgetting curve by testing his ability to memorize a list of syllables in a longitudinal study. An article from the Independent News of International Students explains why understanding Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve is essential for improving your memory and boosting your grades.

The article begins by discussing the steepness of the forgetting curve, which means that as soon as we learn something, we quickly begin to forget the majority of that information. The article compares this progression to cramming for a big exam. When attempting to memorize a large amount of information in a short period of time, you only hold onto the information until it isn’t necessary anymore (i. e. a few days later). However, this article gives a few tips on how we can improve our memory and ensure that the information stays with us for a much longer period of time.

The first tip the article gives is to connect new information with what you already know. They claim that the knowledge you already possess is not affected by the forgetting curve; therefore, connecting new memories to older memories that are already fully integrated would result in quicker memory gain. In one study, A Replication and Analysis of Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve, they found the same correlations as Ebbinghaus’ original research. However, this tip cannot be backed up by this research because there was no instance in which the new information being learned was connected to previous knowledge. Even so, we can assume that, since the forgetting curve pertains to new memories, previous knowledge is most likely unaffected by this theory. Therefore, the article was accurate in saying that integrating new information to previous knowledge would positively impact your studying and information retention.

The second tip the article gives is to keep accessing and activating the information in regularly spaced intervals. They claim that this will ensure that the knowledge becomes fully integrated. I completely agree with this tip based on the replication of Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve which had near-identical results that supported the original findings of Ebbinghaus’ method of savings or savings affect. In this study, the researchers activated the information at twenty minutes, one hour, nine hours, one day, two days, six days, and thirty-one days. Congruent with Ebbinghaus’ findings, the subjects memory improved significantly as time progressed. Therefore, this tip of repetitively accessing information on a schedule should impressively increase your memory!

The final tip the article suggests is to download memory games that integrate information that you’re studying. The writer claims that through this memory testing software, you can train your brain to turn learning into an engaging activity and, therefore, increase your chances of remembering. However, in one study about the effect of brain training games on working memory and processing speeds in young adults, the results do not indicate that brain training games would work for everyone. Some games might improve some cognitive functions, but this is not a strong enough correlation to support this article’s tip that brain games will improve learning.

Overall, this article applied Ebbinghaus’ research fairly well. They understood the large aspects of his studies and used this knowledge to come up with a few good tips on improving memory for students. This said, the writer did not have research to back up a few of these tips and, therefore, wrongly assumed that brain games always improve memory. Even though this could be the case in some individuals, based on the research I found, we cannot apply this to the general population.

Nonetheless, I believe this is a very relevant article that contains a few great tips that everyone could begin to integrate into their studying routines. The most reliable tip is to access the information your studying on a regular basis to ensure that you are retaining the information, just as Ebbinghaus’ original research found with the savings affect. An easy way to do this is to plan your studying strategically each week, staying on a routine schedule. What tip will you start using in order to make your studying becomes more efficient in order to boost your grades?

2 thoughts on “Can understanding the forgetting curve help you achieve a 4.0?

  1. thares

    I really enjoyed reading this blog post. The graphics that you included kept the post creative and pleasing to the eye. I was fully engaged the entire time and thought that you explained some interesting tips that could really help me in my future when studying. Your title of the post is what initially drew me in, I mean who doesn’t want a 4.0? The application of the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve was done in a manner that made the whole post easy to understand and follow. I also really like the analogy of it being like cramming for a big exam. It made the entire topic relatable because almost every college student has been there. I think the first tip is very interesting with connecting new information with stuff that you already know. Even though not enough research has been done to apply the idea to the whole population, it is still an intriguing idea. I do agree with you and your assumption. We can assume that it can be true due to the fact that the forgetting curve only is applied to new memories and doesn’t really pertain to older ones, so I think you made a good point there. Overall, I think your post was a successful interpretation of the forgetting curve and applying Cognitive psychology to daily life, especially to the life of a college student.

    1. sierrahorton Post author

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts about my post! I also agree that, even though the article’s claim of attaching new memories to older ones in order to remember things more easily isn’t backed up by research, logically, it sounds like it would be very helpful. Of all the tips this article gave, I would suggest regularly accessing your course material in order to decrease the steepness of your personal forgetting curve, since this is backed up my well-reviewed research. I wish you the best of luck with your studying and I hope that the research I was able to find allowed you to determine which tips you would like to integrate into your studying routine and which ones you may want to skip over.

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