To space reviews. Technique of study 6/8.

We enter another one of the more effective practices of study according to the scientific evidence, although also it is of less intuitive, and most unpopular. To space reviews! To study €œto the day€!

If me they had saying, when she was student, whom it had to begin to review daily or weekly everything what was counted in class from very same day 1, and that was possible to do it, would have thrown to me to laugh.

Good, perhaps no, because it was a €œgrind€ and always it fantasized with the possibility of taking all the subjects to the day. Soon (September-October in Spain) arrived the first school month and the real life prevailed.

Activities that they prevented me to study to the day:

  • Classes of English (boring)
  • Classes of music (funny, and to practice on a daily basis with the guitar)
  • Laziness and passion by the sofa in front of the TV
  • The effect €œdelays€: an examination in December seems taaaan distant in October€¦


Which was my table of salvation? That the Medicine examinations of the Complutensian one then began at the end of November and they extended until January, separated as minimum by 5-7 days. It seated to me to study at the home of November and hecho* was already everything.

to *Sentar to me to study 1 month before turned to me into grind, those that were call oneself €œnormal€ sat down to study 1 week before the examination 😉


Some investigators studied day to day, during weeks, the habits of some students who acceded to be recorded in a common room of study during the experiment. They observed that the amount of time that dedicated to study was increasing progressively in agreement approached the date of the final exam (1).

He is so simple because the students we felt better, and with majors knowledge, when we have amassed the study and thus passed the examination at issue. That is to say, when €œwe have inserted€ a subject in a few days right before the examination.

It does not concern the effect to us of the forgetfulness, that reaches a 20% of the contents only 24 hours after the examination, and much greater percentage according to the days is passing€¦ the perspective to have to pass the MIR at the end of the race is not sufficient motivation.

And nevertheless, it is demonstrated that, if spaced reviews become, the student is able to remember during more time which as much cost to him to turn over in the examination. It can get to remember it during years.


  • With concrete numbers, in a 1979 study (2), memorising foreign vocabulary for an examination that would be place 30 after the last session of study, with 6 sessions of review€¦ the right questions in the examination were
    • 70% when the 6 reviews became in the same day
    • 85% when the 6 reviews became every 24 hours
    • 95% when the 6 reviews became every 30 days
  • The more you space the reviews, the more costs to recall the studied thing, but one remembers during the more time.
  • It works better when the review consists of an examination (it remembers cards), more than in rereading the notes. It does not surprise to me because already we have seen that to be examined it is more efficient than to reread.
  • It works better also when the review is intentional, that is to say, when you are centered in learning the information that you review.
  • Each how much I have to review? According to an experimental work of 2008 carried out with multiple combinations of study, reviews and examinations, the time enters review sessions must be a 10-20% of the time that you wish to remember the examination matter. That is to say, if the examination is within 1 week, it reviews each 12-24 hours. If the examination is within 5 years, it reviews each 6-12 months. If the examination is within 3 months, it reviews each 1-2 weeks.

Its effectiveness in college students has been demonstrated experimentally, children of all the ages, adults majors, people with learning problems (cerebral injuries)€¦ You do not have excuse 😉


The answers to these affirmations are: false; false; and true.

When you finish the race you will concentrate yourself in studying for the MIR and will have a few months to it. By a generally reasonable amount for your family and with the help-push of academies MIR.

But before the academy, it is the university with his dozens of partial examinations and final€¦ You are your own tutor in that case.

It is certain that the massive study really is beneficial when you are examined immediately after the last review. He is demonstrated experimentally (3). For that reason we used it!

But it is in favor clear that not always it works suitably, of several reasons: because you arrive tired at some examinations; because there is few days between an examination and the following one; because some subjects are more complex than others€¦ The learning requires that magical combination between having time to organize the notes, to understand the concepts, to organize them in schemes, to prepare cards of review, etc. This requires time.


I never spaced reviews during the race, so that I do not know to tell you of first hand how to begin to use this method to space the reviews. In this case, I must learn of the experience of others. Only I recommend you that, if you want to prove this method with some subject of that you are going to be examined within 3 or 4 months, you review the notes every week. It proves the Cornell method, it inserts questions of review in the notes, or you do cards. Count me in the commentaries how she goes to you.


Student imagines un/a who from first or second course makes periodic reviews of all the matters that has studied from the home of the race, including the subjects that already have approved, and the subjects of which must be still examined.

When it arrives at the last course, dicho/a student will remember many things. Need will a tutor whom he pushes to him to study an examination type MIR? Perhaps no.

Some students in the USA declare to have been able periodically to review their subjects from the first years of race and have published their method does few months in the form of book: Learning Medicine. An Evidence-Based Guide. This book is upon my table and I get ready to squeeze it to distill its content and to propose an action plan to you that I also will follow in my formation continued as specialist.

If you do not want to wait for summary, here you have a connection to the book, if you want to throw a look to him and to unload a fragment to you.


Other entrances on study techniques:



1. Mawhinney, V.T., Bostow, D.E., Laws, D.R., Blumenfield, G.J., Hopkins, B.L. (1971). To comparison of students studying behavior produced by daily, weekly, and three-week testing schedules. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 4, 257-264.

2. Bahrick, H.P. (1979). Maintenance of knowledge: Questions about memory we forgot to ask. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 108, 296-308.

3. Rawson, K.A., & Kintsch, W. (2005). Rereading effects depend upon the tricks out of test. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97, 70-80.

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.

2 Commentaries
  • Marina
    Published to 14:52 h, 23 September To respond

    I saw a similar study in a connection of twitter that it promoted this spacing of reviews that you comment in this so interesting entrance.

    I have always heard of very studious and constant people who Medicine can be taken to the day, dedicating to him a pair of hours every day€¦ In my case, I have been able to maintain that rate the two first weeks, not more jajajaja.
    With the new schedule of the hospital I have left €œfew hours€ to study, and I believe that to take it more or less to the day it is fundamental not to fall in perforated the day of the examination.
    In order to follow with this advice whom it give us I believe that I am going to mark the days that review each subject in the calendar and thus to know when it is called on to me (more or less) to return to throw a look to him. I will already tell you.
    A kiss, and thousand thanks for the advice!

    • Almudena Trinidad
      Published to 21:02 h, 25 September To respond

      Perfect, Marine. Tell us if it works to you and how you organize yourself. I will continue speaking of this subject in the next entrances of the blog.

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