Forgetting Curve for Newly Learned Information

Youโ€™re reading an excerpt of Admitted by Soundarya Balasubramani. Written by an Ivy League graduate from India, this is the proven guide for students worldwide looking to pursue undergraduate or graduate study abroad in the U.S., Canada, or Europe. Purchase for instant access to the guide and other exclusive resourcesโ€”including sample SOPs, sample resumes, scholarship lists, and a private community with other readers.


Now, you must be thinking, how will I know when Iโ€™m about to forget something? You donโ€™t. Thatโ€™s where technology can help.

There is a software called Anki* that lets you create flashcards and displays them to you at intervals set by the algorithm (following the spaced repetition technique). When you review a flashcard, you can choose options such as hard, good, and easy, which sends the app feedback to show you at the right intervals. If that is too much work for you, you can always use ready-made flashcards by apps such as Quizlet and Chegg that contain the word and meaning, but donโ€™t necessarily implement the spaced repetition technique.

โ€‹dangerโ€‹ For the AWA and writing sections, pick one of the 200 questions provided by ETS and time yourself to write the response once every few days. Unless youโ€™re a frequent blogger, itโ€™s not natural or easy for someone to write a cohesive response to a question without practice. Among all the new words and concepts youโ€™re learning and practicing every day, donโ€™t lose sight of the writing (and speaking) sections.

Keep Testing Yourself

This goes without saying. Practicing without testing is akin to wandering in a maze with no idea as to where youโ€™re going.

You canโ€™t improve something you canโ€™t measure.

If you have one month before your exam, you should take a test every five days, or at least once a week. This is so you can monitor your progress and get acquainted with the act of sitting in the same location for four hours and thinking critically.

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