Beast Mode Study – Part 1: Spaced Repetition

Just as study is a way to remember topics, concepts, lessons etc. the art of effective study, study itself, is also something that can be learned. And just as every new challenge has a learning curve, which is sometimes excruciating, so does learning how to study have its own exhausting trials. Once you get it though, once it all clicks – look out world!

There are tons of tips out there, but we can narrow it down to science backed, provably effective methods. Over the next few blogs, I’ll share the most powerful methods of study, divided into bite sized chunks. The point of this is that, like course study itself, to try and consume everything at once will only leave us feeling bloated, heady, and ready for a nap.



Psychologist Herman Ebbinghaus was famous for studying his own memory and concepting what is called ‘The Forgetting Curve’. 

After we form a memory, over time we forget bits and pieces of the information used to create it. This is the Forgetting Curve. 

We can retain information by working on retrieving it at first often, then every once in a while, just as we begin to forget it. The problem of course is that we consume so much information that to use fact repeating exercises for everything would cause our heads to explode. Possibly literally.

This is where the ‘Spaced Repetition’ method steps up to the plate.

Spaced repetition is a very effective learning method. It is about increasing the intervals between memory retrieval. It’s not tautology or broken record rote learning. It’s basically checking back in on a lesson every so often (shorter intervals at first and then longer intervals as the cemented learning sets). How many parents have been asked by their kids for help with their homework only to discover that a lot of what they themselves learned in High School, is now a struggle to recall?

Cramming is the antithesis to spaced repetition. Yes, some students will swear by it but often, if not an anomaly, it can’t actually be compared to the superior method of spaced repetition if you haven’t given that a proper crack. By proper crack I mean to the point where a student hits and breaks past that painful learning curve. Beyond that learning curve is a sun-soaked beach where dancing unicorns serve beverages and tasty morsels. I promise.

Studies show that studying for 8 hours over a 2-week block generally produces superior performance and results compared to one 8-hour study session. It’s also better for retention beyond any exams and final papers.



– In your study schedule, make time for purposefully reviewing (and not just re-reading which I’ll talk about in a moment,) older material even if you have already been assessed on it.

-Check out study Apps that can help with review. Try Anki. Anki is the Japanese word for memorisation. It’s a great free, open-source App for this purpose as Anki was designed around the method of spaced repetition.

-Simply re-reading notes is a less-effective strategy. Re-reading will just remind you of what you believe you already now. You’ll switch off in no time. What can be done instead is to test yourself. This is called the ‘Active Recall’ method and when combined with spaced repetition creates a power duo. Think re-writing notes, flash cards etc.

I’ll talk more about that method in the next blog.

In the meantime, give Qualify Now a call or drop them a line if you are considering hitting the books and becoming a TAE40116 qualified Trainer.

The Certificate IV in Training and Assessment is essential for many Vocational Training jobs and for the unaccredited training is an excellent knowledge provider (and it looks damned good on the resume).