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Drill is for mistakes only.

July 11, 2009

I frequently incrementally read SuperMemo articles from the web site and from time to time little knowledge nuggets come by. Last week an extract about knowing how many mistakes you’ve made came trough.

How can I see how many memory lapses occurred in a given subset of elements?” asked the item?. The answer did not really address to the question, but this reminded me about me  drilling only on the mistakes made after the outstanding repetitions (if you ever finished them).

Cognitive psychology research has shown that correctly answering even when done with hesitation doesn’t benefit from feedback or further learning (over-learning). On the other hand not having feedback has huge impact on further recall, and not learning to, although of much lesser magnitude.

Many times I have a huge load of elements in the drill and don’t make this drill. But If I knew which elements where real mistakes on today’s repetitions (or even in yesterday’s repetitions) I might repeat them that same moment, lowering the forgetting rate for this elements on next programmed repetitions.

I judge how efficient my daily repetition are by taking into account the number of repetitions executed/hour spend. If I go trough all my repetitions and only answer them and later on I focus the mistakes. I make more repetitions/hour and also learn my mistaken items. In contrast with trying to learn during the outstanding repetitions.

Maybe you to have experienced this, those questions that where scored with “pass” (level 3) get fast and easy responses in the drill face, and makes you wonder why did you test them again in the first place.

If you’ve got less then 10 items in the drill queue its probably easier to just do the drill, but for longer drill queues this is my solution:

Element filter configuration for "Drill Today's Mistakes"

Element filter configuration for "Drill Today's Mistakes"


Create a Filter “Today’s Mistakes
1) Open up “View Filter”. Menu View: Filter
2) Check:
– repetitions (min=1,max=1),
– lapses (min=1, max=1000),
– last repetition (min=0, max=0),
– type: item, status: memorized.
3) Click the save icon (save current filter for later use), choose and appropiate name (mine says: “Drill today’s mistakes)


Filter “Today’s Mistakes” and add the to the Drill queue

1) Open up “View Filter”. Menu View: Filter
2) Select previously saved filter: “Drill today’s mistakes”
3) Change “last repetition” min y max to cero (program remembers the lasts date not the number).
4) Click “ok” button
5) In browser (Alt+F10: Tools: Save Drill)
6) Ctrl+F2 (Execute new drill) Original drill minus pass level items.

This same process can be accomplished by using Workload windows (ctrl+w), but the above described procedure is easier. I’m currently using Autohotkey to execute the whole sequence. For the purpose intended its working great!

Tell us what you think about using this sort of drilling phase, or if you think of a better solution or drilling only the mistakes made.

Next time I plan to blog about how to revise before exams with supermemo and not having to review all the material the day or week before.


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