Space Out Your Learning

Spaced Learning is a tried-and-tested method which can work wonders in helping you retain information more easily as you study. It might be tempting to cram all of your revision in at the last minute – but we believe that spacing out your learning will be much more effective. Here’s how you can do it:

1. Space out your learning.

Spreading your learning out over time, with plenty of breaks in between, will help you retain a lot more of the information you revise.

2. Start planning early.

Your exams may seem like a long way away but in order to have time to space out your learning, you need to start studying as early as possible.

3. Revise little and often.

Fifteen minutes a day is better than five hours in one go! Give yourself time to process the information properly.

4. Make revision a habit.

Add a small amount of time into your daily routine to revise. Doing it at the same time every day will help it become normal and also help you to space it out effectively.

5. A change is as good as a break.

When planning your revision, try to intermix the topics you’re learning about. It’s better to change the subject every 20-30 minutes than spend entire days focusing on one subject. 

6. Review the material from your lessons…

…but not straight away! You don’t have to read over your notes every evening Instead, try explaining what you’ve learnt that day to a friend or family member (even the family cat if they’ll listen!).

7. Don’t forget what you learnt last term!

It’s important to keep reviewing anything you’ve learnt that might come up on your exam, even if you studied it last term. Try and fit in time to review things you learnt a while ago.

Why you should space and interleave your learning….


It may seem very tempting to leave all your revision to the last minute and just cram it in. But this isn’t the best way to get the most out of your brain.

For about a hundred years psychologists have known that spacing out learning in smaller chunks is better for long-term retention (Edwards, 1917; Gordon, 1925). What do we mean by spacing out learning? Say you have 7 hours spare to revise for a test. You could either spend 7 hours the day before cramming or you could space out your revision to half an hour a day for 2 weeks. In both cases, you would have spent just 7 hours revising. But in the spaced-out case, there is consistent evidence from the psychological literature that spaced learning helps with long-term retention (as confirmed by a recent review: Carpenter, Cepeda, Rohrer, Kang, & Pashler, 2012).

Why might this be? It may help with the survival of your neurons or connections between your neurons in the memory area of your brain – they are used over a longer period of time so that knowledge is worth keeping as you clearly need to know it regularly (Sisti, Glass, & Shors, (2007)). Your brain has developed to be efficient – if something isn’t relevant you tend to forget it fairly quickly.

By spacing out learning to still cover everything it means that you are now interleaving – and interleaving has been shown to help you make links between topics. This, in turn, can help you to make the links between topics to be able to elaborate on them, strengthening the memories even further.  

So if we’ve known for around a hundred years that spaced learning is better – why isn’t it more commonly used? The answer is in two parts. Firstly massed or crammed learning feels more like it works better and people believe that it works better (Yan, Bjork, & Bjork, 2016) – unfortunately, it just doesn’t; it often compromises sleep and doesn’t lead to long-term learning. Secondly, spaced learning requires more planning and would be practically hard to do in schools. The curriculum is usually set up to cover each topic only once and there is precious little teaching time to come back and go over content again.

This is where Get My Grades comes in. We have broken the topics down into short content pages which can then be easily spaced out and interleaved with other topics. And we have even taken away your need to plan by developing a recommended assignments feature, designed to help you space your learning – although we’ve gone beyond this to recommend that instead of re-reading our content pages that you space out your learning through testing yourself. This means you can easily space out your learning. But our recommended assignments are even cleverer than that…

A Get My Grades account gives your child access to:
  • A huge range of resources and online textbook content, arranged into units, topics and subtopics.
  • Over 75,000 practice questions of varying types, like those on exams - not just multiple choice - written by experienced teachers.
  • Instant feedback after each question, with student-friendly mark schemes and explanations.
  • Automated tracking, so that you can see where they are doing well and where they are struggling - which you just can't get from a traditional textbook or revision guide!

Get My Grades subscriptions cost just £9 per student per month, or £75 per student for access for the year - with all our subjects and qualifications included, including many of the most common GCSE and IGCSE courses.

Sign up now to explore the platform - and, to give you a chance to start making the most of Get My Grades, use discount code MONTH1 to get your first month for just £1!

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