Yes, you read that right.
Learning isn't just about how fast you can learn something, it's also about remembering it later when you need to use it in everyday life.
Practicing what you've learned is important, but studies have shown that practicing in short, spaced-out sessions (known as spaced repetition) is more effective than cramming everything in one long session.
Although cramming might make you feel like you're making quick progress, you're actually more likely to forget what you learned later on.
Practicing in shorter sessions with breaks in between, mixing up what you're learning (known as interleaving), and trying different methods will help you remember what you've learned for longer and be better at using it in different situations.
However, this type of learning requires feels more difficult and might feel slower than cramming, but it's worth it in the long run.
People often think cramming is better because it feels like they're learning faster. But that’s an illusion. 🦄
Everywhere you look, you can see people trying to learn a lot of things quickly. For example, online English “challenges” or language schools that offer fast language learning programs. Cramming for tests is also a type of this kind of massed practice.
Even though it may feel like a good way to study, you'll forget most of the material soon after the test.
The lesson you should draw is this: space out your practice, even if it feels like you're not learning much and despite having to work harder to remember things. You will thank yourself later.
Tina is a professional English Teacher with a Cambridge education and 10+ years of teaching English to adults in-person and online.
She wants you and English learners like you to develop a solid understanding of what you need to do to start speaking better English faster (and not fall for English-in-a-month scams).