What is Spaced Repetition?
Studying a new language can be daunting – especially when it’s a language like Chinese, with thousands of squiggly little characters to remember! Fortunately, there are many techniques that you can use to memorise Chinese characters and ensure that you retain them in your long-term memory.
One commonly used technique is Spaced Repetition. Spaced Repetition is a method that utilises the way your brain processes and recalls information to allow for more efficient memorisation.
When you learn something for the first time (for example, a Chinese character), your brain stores the information in your short-term memory. While initially safe, the information becomes more and more difficult to recall over time.
Studies show that after learning a new word, it should be reviewed again soon afterwards;
“Useful vocabulary needs to be met again and again to ensure it is learned. In the early stages of learning, the meetings need to be reasonably close together, preferably within a few days, so that too much forgetting does not occur. Later meetings can be very widely spaced with several weeks between each meeting.” (Nation and Newton, Teaching Vocabulary, 1997)
Actively retrieving the information before it leaves your short-term memory enables you to strengthen your brain’s neural pathways. This lengthens the amount of time before you’re likely to forget the information again.
At Speedy Vocab, we have incorporated the Spaced Repetition technique throughout our course. Following the Flip-Shuffle-Test flashcard stage, you are given Smart Sentences to interact with and use the vocabulary you have just learnt. With an extensive database of Chinese sentences based on HSK vocabulary, we can ensure that each word you memorise continues to appear in sentences throughout the course.
By reintroducing vocabulary at increasing intervals, Spaced Repetition builds on what you know, making it easier to recall the words you have already learnt. Furthermore, you are exposed to unique sentences each time the vocabulary item is repeated, providing you with a large database of sentences to inform a deeper understanding of grammatical structures.