Interleave. Technique of study 7/8.

Good looking me what you want to that you do not know to what demons talk about the experts with this palabreja. She is the one that I have chosen to translate the English term €œinterleaving€.

This technique talks about to the process to each other to combine, to put in or to alternate different contents related at the time of studying on a concrete subject.

Habitual and the intuitive thing is that a student groups in unitary blocks the material of a subject to gain efficiency at the time of studying. For example, in the otolaryngology subject you can group all the oncology in a same session of study; Perhaps the diseases of ear on the one hand, those of pharynx on the other, etc. you do the same with cellular Biology and an afternoon you study the mitosis and to following the meiosis.

To group in blocks is very effective in the same session of study. All the oncology of the ORL shares common etiol³gicos factors, and the therapeutic approach. The same happens if you group all the pulmonary restrictive pathology on the one hand and the obstructiva by another one. You rise of the table of study with very clear ideas.

However, every time more scientific Literature exists than it demonstrates that, if you put in different contents in a same session from study, this allows you to remember better the matter and more precise being in the medium and long term.


This has been demonstrated clearly with exercises of mathematics, physics and chemistry. When a group of students alternates in a same session the formulas necessary to calculate the volume of 4 classes different from geometric bodies, he is to them more difficult in that session to solve problems that the group of students who studies each geometric body in block. But after one week, the group that learned these formulas with interleave surpassed in the examination to the other training group in a 43%.


Here diverse hypotheses exist:

  • To alternate exercises or matters stimulates his the mental processing for the mental organization of those exercises and the comparison between different concepts.
  • Rotation forces time and time again to recall content that has happened to the memory of long term, which power the memorization of that content, as we already explained at the entrance on the effectiveness to be examined to one same one when you are studying.

That is to say, we return to be with the positive effect of being more active while we studied, to demand something more to us than simply to reread the notes.

On this speech widely in its Barbara Oakley book, an engineering professor that spent his first 30 years of life thinking that it was not worth for sciences (To Mind For Numbers: How to Excel AT Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra) , connection of affiliate, thanks). It seriously recommends to the students of mathematics and other technical subjects that alternate between different types from problems in a same session of study. This can at the outset make this session of more confused study something, but you make sure that the inverted effort is going to be more productive in the future and facing the examination.


Obvious, in the preclinical subjects as biostatistical, biophysic, etc, can be used whenever we must prepare examinations in which there will be problems where to use formulas.

But the great majority of subjects of sanitary races moves away of the use of formulas. We enter the comparison between diseases, classifications and taxonomies, diverse psychological and physiopathological theories.

The key is in determining similar contents to each other, that they present subtle differences and that we must know how to distinguish in the actually welfare examination and. Some examples:

  • To combine in a same session of study the approach of diseases of an organ from Pathological Anatomy and the General Pathology/Physiopathology (or as this subject in your faculty is called). This can reinforce in the mid term, and facing the examinations, the memorization of key data. If you take to the Pathological and worse Anatomy the Physiopathology well, for example, the data of one can serve as association to memorise the other. To this equation the Pharmacology can be added, if the same semester or fourth month period agrees in. Or even if they do not agree, but the first subject that you must study you took it well, it can serve as support and springboard to you to sustain the study of the following subject.
  • Within a same subject, P. ex. Cardiology: different types from cardiac arrhythmias that differ in their treatment but share clinical manifestations, or the other way around.
  • Obstructivas pulmonary diseases versus restrictive in a first boarding. But later, to differentiate different obstructivas diseases to each other, and to center some sessions of study in selecting the differences between some.
  • Causes for a same symptom that normally you would group in different blocks in a first review, as for example the crosstalk causes (hoarse voice): benign pathology on the one hand, malignant neoplasms by another one. Possibly a first study approaches the laryngeal pathology generally, and diverse categories can produce crosstalk: Malignant infections, Neos benign, Neos. The following review could consist of retaking all the malignant neoplasms of area ORL and to verify itself those of larynx can produce crosstalk, or if also it produces pharynx crosstalk those, those of oral cavity€¦

In summary, to alternate the approach by organ with the approach by symptom and the approach by type of disease. This can be very muddied and confused the first day of study, but diving through that confusion is going to you to provide major domain after a few sessions of review. However, calm! A realistic technique to work this in a reasonable time is to use comparison tables, that already I explained in this entrance. Fundamental so that you can learn to use well this technique is that at the outset you do not compare more than 3 items to each other. Advancing of that way, little by little, you will be able to include complex subjects.


Other entrances on study techniques:

Almudena Trinidad

I am otorrinolaring³loga doctor in a hospital of Madrid and Professor Asociada de Medicina in the UAM. I help Medicine students to develop more effective techniques of study to obtain better notes, to remember during more time and to feel like more happy insurances and with its studies.

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