How to revise English?

How to revise English? Finding an efficient and smart way to do this is the key to not forgetting new information. Today you will find out how to apply the technique of spaced repetition in your English studies (and not only) to retain new vocabulary effectively.

What has spaced repetition?

The Romans said that repetition is the mother of wisdom, since it allows us to retain new information, but the Bulgarians said that it is also the father of stupidity, because if we revise the same thing too often, we will end up getting bored. As with everything in life, you have to find the balance and that is exactly what the famous linguist Paul Pimsleur did. He did research to learn what the optimal intervals are to review new information often enough to remember it, but not so often that you get bored.

It’s a technique that can be applied in any field, but it’s especially useful in language learning, as it’s a skill that requires a lot of repetition .


How does our memory work?

The human brain naturally forgets information that we do not use. It is for this reason that we sometimes try to memorize the same words hundreds of times and still fail to recognize or use them orally.

To avoid this, it is necessary that we review regularly . As we said at the beginning of the outline, we must find the balance of the intervals to be revised. When you learn a new word, you forget it after a while. This is represented by what is called the forgetting curve . It was highlighted in 1885 by the German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, in his study of memory:

The forgetting curveHow to revise english

On the vertical axis the strength of memory, on the horizontal axis, time.

The memory of the word gradually disappears over time. A word that we retain 100% at time t0 will eventually disappear if we do not revise it. Revising it often reinforces it. This then degrades a little less quickly than the first time. Then, our memory of the word disappears a little more slowly the next time we see it again, which is represented by the green curves on the graph.

So you have to find a way to practice your English several times a day. How often should you review then?


Spaced Repetition System (SRS)

So, how to revise English in an optimal way? Pimsleur, the American linguist already mentioned, discovered the optimal intervals for reviewing new information. A spaced repetition system that respects these intervals will allow you to optimize your review times by managing for you the frequency with which you should review information.

These ideal intervals are:

5 seconds, 25 seconds, 2 minutes, 10 minutes, 1 hour, 5 hours, 1 day, 5 days, 25 days, 4 months, and 2 years

After these 11 revisions, you would be quiet for… 7 years!


Apps to revise English

All good modern English training uses spaced repetition, whether you notice it or not. Here are some spaced repetition software recommendations you can use to learn English vocabulary :

  • Click & Speak : Our own practice uses a spaced repetition system to ensure effective vocabulary teaching. The other great advantage of this training is that all the important vocabulary that you absolutely must understand and be able to use is already integrated into it, as well as this intelligent revision system. All this means that everything is already done for you and you just have to learn.
  • Anki is the other popular software that uses spaced repetition. The disadvantage is that we have to integrate our own flashcards and we are therefore still left with the problem of identifying which vocabulary to learn.
  • a free site for creating flashcards, which also allows you to use existing lessons to learn new words and phrases.

Effective revision is absolutely essential to success in your quest to become bilingual in English. To optimize your time, find and use spaced repetition software to learn vocabulary in a smart and effective way . We hope that thanks to this article, you will now know how to revise English!