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Say It Right Series

The use of a Leitner System

Posted by mandarinboy August 25, 2008 in the Group General Discussion.

To learn a new word/character is one thing but to make it stick in your brain another. Recent study has proven that up to 10% of what we know is learned in the past one year. The longer it is since we restudied something or uses it, the more likely it is that we forget it. A German  student named Sebastian Leitner "invented" a system to handle flashcards. A quote from Wiki

"This is how it works: you try to recall the solution written on a flashcard. If you succeed, you send the card to the next group. But if you fail, you send it back to the first group. Each succeeding group has a longer period of time before you are required to revisit the cards."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flashcard

This is very useful. Some words you exposes to very often, such as I, he, too etc. They will be repeated very often and hence also stick better. Others you use more seldom and needs to be repeated over and over.

I mis this functinality in Chinesepod but many of the commercial or free programs on the net do have this. What i do is this: I use a program, in my case my own Chinese homework trainer but there are many others that have this as well,

E.g. http://www.stackz.com/Stackz/chinese.htm

http://www.supermemo.com/

Chinese homework trainer i have written my self to help me study. That link is in one of my first posts.

So, what i do is that i use the test functionaly in any of those programs but it can also be a paper flashcard. I take a set of cards and performs a test. If i am very sure that i know the words every parts, pinyin, translation, strokes i put it in one stack/pile. If i am not 100% sure i put it in another the same goes for if i do not know it at all etc. The ones that i do not know at all i study harder until i know them and can promote them to an higher category. The other i study an revisit every now and then until i can promote them to the top stack/pile. The top group I then revisit around once every 1-3 month but that can be much more seldom, it is up to each student how often.

This approach makes sure that i do not forget any words and always refreshes my knowlege in Chinese. For words that is hard to learn i try to study in other ways, breaking down the character, study word patterns with them, try to use them in own sentences etc.

Since most of you are much younger than I am you might not need this but for an old brain like mine this is important;-) Repetitionis very importnat. That is why I also like to go back to old Chinesepods from time to time to repeat old stuff.

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