You can improve your study skills by using a variety of methods. Recently, we discussed the SQ3R technique for reading textbooks efficiently and the importance to forget what you’ve learned and then revisiting it with retrieval practices.
Leitner System is another method many people use to improve their memorization. This method involves reviewing material more frequently as you get familiar with it. Most commonly, it is done with flashcards.
The Leitner System relies on the principle that repetition over time will help our brains better retain information. Science has repeatedly backed this idea as the best method to retain information for long periods.
How To Get Started
Three things are required to get started using the Leitner System:
- Create physical or electronic flashcards (one per concept).
- Label 3 to 5 electronic or physical boxes according to the study period (e.g. Box 1 for cards that need to be reviewed daily; Box 2 for those cards that need to be re-read every other day).
- Organize your schedule by adding your study time to the calendar.
How It Works
Start all flashcards in box 1. Each flashcard should be reviewed on the first day. If you make a mistake, you should move the flashcard to the first box. Create a new flashcard if you need one at any time during the study period. Place it in Box 1.
- Box 1 – everyday
- Box 2 – Every other day
- Box 3 – Once a week
- Box 4 – every two weeks
- Box 5 – Review before the Test
If you do well, the flashcard will appear less frequently. This is a form of spaced repetition that allows the student to choose the flashcard they think needs the most attention. Students can create a weekly or bi-weekly schedule based on the above schedule.
The Leitner system is unique in that it has a schedule for how often the flashcards should be reviewed. It is important to quiz yourself repeatedly until you have memorized the concept or term. By placing flashcards into specific boxes, you can determine which words to focus on.
Flashcards that are more difficult and those newly introduced should be seen frequently. Less difficult flashcards can be seen once in a blue moon. Each flashcard should be seen a few times before the exam.
Why It Works
Leitner System stimulates the brain in a way that passively reading complex or new information cannot. The Leitner System allows us to access information that has been stored in our memory over time by actively answering questions or recalling information.
The brain cannot handle all information at once. This makes it more likely that we will forget a majority of concepts. Our brains are unable to process all information at once. This makes it more likely we will forget the majority of concepts. The Leitner System is based on active recall and spaced repetitions of information. This allows our brains absorb and process information better.
Some people may find it difficult to change the study method that they are used to. The Leitner System incorporates new elements to increase efficiency while maintaining the core principles of flashcards. The Leitner System is a great way to achieve your learning goals, whether you are studying for an examination, learning a language, or a hobby.
How to start studying with the Leitner System
All of your flashcards will begin in box 1. Start by reviewing each card and quizzing yourself to see if you remember or can explain the information.
If you correctly answer a flashcard, place the card in Box 2. If you don’t get it right, put the card in Box 1. After you have gone through your flashcards you will see that the concepts you know better are in Box 2 and those you need to practice are in Box 1.