Most Effective Way to IMPROVE MEMORY (& Memorize ANYTHING)

Most Effective Way to IMPROVE MEMORY (& Memorize ANYTHING)

As a student, you have a lot of information
to understand and memorize for your tests. If you have powerful photographic memory,
your job is much easier. But if you’re one of us mere mortals, then
you face two issues: first, you don’t remember everything you should, and second, it takes
too much time to memorize! What if I told you you could have your cake
and eat it too? Here’s how you can boost your memory, memorize
more facts, and spend less time doing it. Dr. Jubbal, For more lessons, insights, and tips, follow
me on Instagram @medschoolinsiders. Now there are different types of memory, such
as procedural memory, like knowing how to swing a golf club, and declarative memory,
like being able to recite and draw the cervical plexus for your anatomy exam. We care about semantic memory, which is a type of declarative
memory, which is what’s going to help you get an A on your chemistry final and a 525
on the MCAT. From examining neural networks in sea snails
to caring for amnesic patients with localized lesions, neuroscientists have learned a great
deal as to how human memory works and how to squeeze the most utility out of our hippocampi. The hippocampi are the centers in our brain that store long term memory. Looking back over a century ago, we can thank
the psychologist Herman Ebbinghaus for studying his own memory and generating what is now
known as the Forgetting Curve. In its simplest terms, the Forgetting Curve
demonstrates that after forming a memory, we gradually forget more and more of it as
time elapses. Retrieving memories is a separate process
from storing them, and this too is imperfect. That’s why eye witness reports are notoriously
unreliable. We know from neuroscience fundamentals that
repetition potentiates neural connections and allows us to remember information more
effectively. The problem is that we have far too much information
to learn – we can’t repeat every fact we need to know on a daily basis. Enter the Spacing Effect. By repeated exposures to a piece of information
at increasing intervals between each repetition, we can optimize memorization and retain the
most information in the least amount of time. The key here is that you must recall the information,
and not simply recognize it. Recall refers to being given a cue and retrieving
the relevant information on your own. Recognition refers to seeing a piece of information
and finding it familiar, thinking “oh yeah I know that.” For memory purposes, recall is far superior to
recognition. This is correlate to the testing effect, whereby
being tested and having to recall a piece of information strengthens the memory encoding
process. The Spacing Effect is most powerful when the
timing is just right. If too little time elapses between repetitions,
the information is not reinforced as strongly. If too much time passes, you forget and are
unable to recall the desired information. Medical students are tasked with learning
insane amounts of information in a very short time frame. Through necessity, many have turned to less
common study tools to aid them in overcoming this seemingly insurmountable feat of knowledge. Enter spaced repetition software, the king
of which is Anki. Anki and other spaced repetition software
automate the process of scheduling facts that you need to learn in the form of flashcards. While far from perfect, Anki is the best option
we have right now. I have no affiliation with Anki, but I used
it heavily as a medical student and ascribe much of my own success to using it properly. It’s cross platform and syncs across all
your devices, which is important for reasons I will get to shortly. Inevitably, many students ask me whether or
not they should create their own cards or if using a pre-made deck is ok. There are pros and cons to each approach. If you make your own flashcards, you are implementing
a form of active learning, and therefore you will learn the information on those flashcards
faster and more effectively. Second, if you create the cards, they are
in your own words, and you’ll have no difficulty understanding them. Lastly, you can practice good flashcard principles
and best practices, which most students do not follow in creating their flashcards. Creating these ineffective and “bad” flashcards
is the most common mistake and main reason that students end up dropping Anki altogether. The main benefit to using a pre-made deck
is that you’ll save time on the card creation process. However, if you are following the principles
from this channel, you should be efficient enough to create your own cards and reap those
additional benefits. As a medical student, I always created my
own flashcards. That being said, if you find a high quality
deck with high quality cards, one could justify taking the hit in active learning for the
benefits in time savings. When learning memorization-heavy information,
like studying for the MCAT or USMLE Step 1, using Anki will not only help you learn the
information faster, but also retain it for longer periods of time. By using Anki in your biology or psych classes
as a freshman, you’ll remember more information 2 years later when you’re studying for the
MCAT. But not all information is created equal,
and for some classes I would recommend Anki, but for others you may not need it, or you
may find yourself making only a few cards. For information heavy but conceptually light
courses, like biology, sociology, or psych, your Anki reliance should be higher. Other courses, like physics and organic chemistry,
are more conceptual heavy. There is still use for flashcards for all
of these subjects, but I would make fewer cards here and prioritize doing more practice
problems instead. Some people suggest creating multiple choice
practice problem cards, but I advise agains this, as you may find yourself simply memorizing
the answer to the question, rather than reinforcing the information and concepts you need to learn. More on card creation best practices in the
part two video. If you’re a medical student, know that most
of your subjects will be quite conducive to flashcards. I have an entire playlist on how to use Anki
most effectively. If you aren’t already familiar with the
program, these short videos will get you up to speed in no time. In next week’s part two video, we’ll cover
specific best practices on how to create good flashcards. Remember, the benefits of Anki are only as
good as the flashcards you create. Now while creating good flashcards is key, the
proper daily use of Anki is equally important. Here’s how to realistically achieve a daily
practice. First, Review Strategically As a medical student, I was reviewing between
50-300 cards daily for months at a time. As someone who went into an ultra competitive
surgical specialty, there were many early mornings and late nights, limiting the amount
of time I had to review my Anki deck. So to reasonably get through all my cards and
make this habit sustainable, I learned to use any down time I had to review flashcards. Unlike studying an entire lecture, Anki cards
are self-contained, meaning reviewing even 5 cards in the course of one or two minutes
is a good use of your time. That meant cranking through 10 or 20 cards
while waiting in line for breakfast, while waiting for the elevator, or even while walking
between buildings. These few cards here and there added up quickly,
allowing me to complete most of my reviews before I got back home for the day. It’s not glamorous and it’s not easy,
but practicing cards in such a manner was one of the key factors allowing me to crush
my boards and impress attending surgeons on my audition rotations. I personally am not a fan of doing Anki for
more than 30 or 60 minutes straight. Therefore, if it was a weekend and I was spending
most of the day studying, I would set a single 25 minute Pomodoro of Anki to break up the
monotony from other studying. This is a great trick to enhance your mental
endurance over the course of the day. It’s ultimately much easier to do four chunks
of 75 cards than a single session of 300 cards. Number two, Practice Every Single Day Anki runs on an algorithm which optimizes
for learning information, but it is not easy to schedule days off. It doesn’t care if you are sick, if you
want to relax, or if you’re on vacation. It’s therefore critical you do your flashcards
every single day. This is challenging in the first few weeks
as you’re building the habit. During this time, your review burden also
builds, meaning the number of cards you are assigned to review each day. Number three, Avoid Getting Behind on Cards Inevitably, you will fall behind. You will skip a day here or there. Understand that this should be an exception,
not the rule. The more often you skip days, the harder it
is to keep up, and the less utility you will get from Anki. When you do fall behind, your best bet is to take a couple days playing
catch up to power through your overdue cards. Avoid skipping days and avoid resetting the
cards, as you’re losing valuable interval information that ultimately helps to consolidate
your semantic memory. Number four, Don’t Make Too Many Cards The two biggest reasons students fail to stick
with Anki is creating poor flashcards, which we’ll talk about in part 2, and creating
too many flashcards, resulting in an unrealistic daily review burden. Students often get carried away when first
using Anki, sometimes creating over one hundred cards for a single lecture. Understand that each card you create is a
card that you’ll have to review in the future. Practice some constraint and create cards
for more important information while leaving out the less important details. We go over how exactly to do this in a previous
video. And lastly, Be Honest with Recall vs Recognition Remember, this algorithm and the spacing effect
works best with recall, not recognition. So don’t cheat yourself. If you aren’t able to get a card correct
without flipping to see the back, then mark the card as incorrect. Often times students are forced into a situation
where they must cheat on cards for fear of an unrealistic review burden. In most instances, this can be solved by creating
better flashcards. On the other extreme, if you forget a single
word or a minor detail on a card, don’t be so hard on yourself that you never get
past the 1 day interval. In the part two video, we’ll cover the art
and science of how to create good Anki flashcards. While a big part of doing well on your tests
comes down to improving your memory, there are several other important factors you need
to optimize. Our tutors at can help
you crush the MCAT, USMLE Step 1, or any other pre-med or medical school test you need help
with. They’ve scored in the top percentiles and
can help you do the same. If you regularly watch our YouTube videos,
chances are you know how heavily we emphasize the importance of systems in creating desirable
results. Our tutoring is no different. We have painstakingly taken months crafting
the systems in place to provide the best quality tutoring. We examine your test taking strategies, study
methods, road blocks and sticking points, and customize a tailored plan to optimize
your performance on test day. Visit to learn more. Thank you all so much for watching. If you enjoyed the video, let me know when
a thumbs up, and comment down below if you have any questions. New videos every Saturday morning, so hit
subscribe if you have not already, and make sure you have the notification bell enabled. Much love to you all, and I will see you guys
in that next one.

Comments (67)

  1. Play competitive chess

  2. How to be amnesia?
    Pls answer…

  3. Forced friendships will force you to be someone you're not. It’s better to be yourself and vibe with those who resonate with your frequency. When you put authentic energy out there, the Universe reveals more authenticity
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  4. Hi,
    While techniques like Anki may be useful for medical students where you need to memorize lots of conceptual facts, I'm having problems understanding how they can be used in subjects like Law and Finance. I understand this isn't your domain, but do you have any take on that ?

  5. I review up to 500-1000 during exam period

  6. Your videos are great! I have a small edit though (ofc correct me if I'm wrong)
    Isn't the hippocampus involved in memory consolidation not actually storing the memory (which is in the cortex) 1:16?

  7. One thing I might misunderstood is, that you said that it is better to review not every day but after a specific time frame ("spaced repitition"), yet you still say to use your flash cards every day? 🙈

  8. Hello! can someone help? everytime i try to open anki it displays an error message that my time is wrong and i have to correct it (Even tho it isnt and my windows 10 is set up to pick the timezone and time automatically), then it boots me out of the app as soon as i close the dialogue box!! what do i do? :c

  9. Kevin , Maybe you should make a video about how you create all those excellent Animations..

  10. Dr. J had some nice psych/soc section review for the MCAT in this video too haha.

  11. Got me into ANKI around a year ago, wish I would have used it more in undergrad. Now I'm slowly converting classmates to it as they realize ineffective studying methods won't cut it in med school.

  12. Dr Jubbal you are a great guy and I will really like to have conversation with

  13. Making his onw anki card is the best think i learnt … i lost a lot of time trying to appropriate them

  14. I made huge card is my choice is it bad ?

  15. i respect you and what you're doing but i don't believe in flashcards…anki or whatever software. What i believe in is understanding the information and studying a bit every single day…that's how i got my Suma Cum Laudae degree in Chemistry&Pharmaceutical Technologies ..and i've done every exam what you guys are doing in med school – pathology (general, clinical), pharmacology (general, clinical), microbiology, virology, oncology, immunology, physiology,biochemistry etc and some other specific subjects as industrial biochemistry, pharmaceutical technologies, production of industrial form of drugs and every form of chemistry you've ever imagined – inorganic,organic,pharmaceutical, analytical, physical.

  16. how you use anki for step 1?

  17. I want to start Anki again, but it is difficult for me to do it daily! Here goes nothing… AGAIN. Haha thanks Dr. Jubbal.

  18. currently 13 years old and wanting to be a pediatrician when i grow up

  19. How is anki compared to making your own quizlets?

  20. I NEED PART 2 NOW MY EXAMS IS IN 3 WEEKS!!!!!!!! :'( :'( :'(

  21. C-couldn't you share your Anki deck with us ?

  22. Back in my time, it helped me to take notes, what my teacher talked about during class. Just cluttered it on paper in lesson and underlined the important things (I personally can figure out what's more important than something else while talking due to on what someone takes emphasize on, yes, I had still a difficult time with monotonous old teachers). Then when I had to take the bus home, I made my first copy of the subject sheet I got the most problems with and simply rewrote things a bit more cleaner. At home after homeworks, I made my 2nd/3rd (depending on subject/topic). Everytime I had finished one I made a short break and just relaxed. So the brain got the time to process things. When I was done with all, I did myself a good f.e. took a warm bath or whatever and then went to bed.
    At weekends I took the daily sheets and made a summary from each subject/topic. And months end/before exam, I took the weekly/months sheets and rewrote them again. I even, when holidays started, rewrote those sheets and summarized them just because that's what helped me to actually learn. Many people, including my parents always said to me "why you don't learn by speaking?", "why do you need so long for your school stuff?", "you sure you'll pass the exam?" And everytime, I just proved them wrong by passing every exam almost perfectly. I don't know why that happened or why I behaved that way. I just know that I'm doing things always differently than others and that i can figure my ways of doing things out on my own and in my opinion, there isn't "the one and perfect" neither "the best" way of doing stuff. Everyone needs to figure out their individual way of get things done. For others it might help just to learn the sheets the teachers gives out or an app shows you and learn those by heart. I never really "learned" for something. I didn't really read those sheets either when a test or exam was coming and I'm still not a fan of pushing stuff in my brain on the night before the test/exam. Since in my opinion – what you didn't understood until then/what you're not capable of until then, you won't be when the test/exam is right in front of you. I've never was even remotely close of being stressed with learning. Others might be, I don't know and really can't understand since I've never had the experience.

  23. It would be a really good idea if you do a video about Medical Schools in other countries, such as Mexico or Spain, just like you did with Caribbean Med Schools.

  24. this video will help me clear usmle

  25. What other subjects is Anki good for? History? Government? Economics?

  26. What means conceptually heavy/light? Does it mean its more/less about understanding it, than remembering information? Sorry Not a naitive speaker and Google is Not really helping

  27. What's the difference between anki and quizlet

  28. A great book covering the subject of memory is Unlimited memory by Kiven Horsley.

  29. "One of us mere mortals.."😂😂😂

  30. I don't understand how you're supposed to keep the Anki cards low (<100) and simple for each lecture when a lecture might have hundreds of testable details (e.g. memorize this chart or know this pathway, including enzymes, products, and cofactors) without knowing what the professor really wants to test on if they're not really the type to emphasize some information over other information.

  31. Could you show us some Anki cards you made? To have an idea on how to make them? Thanks!

  32. whats better anki or quizlett?

  33. Hi Dr J,

    Great video! In regards to the spacing effect, can you please provide a structure for when you should be reviewing information? I think the theory is great, but hard to action if I have no idea when/how often I should be attempting to recall information.

    Thanks for your help!

  34. Your videos are life saving. The time and effort you put into them really shows! Thank you for all you do!

  35. Oh my god im struggling to review 40 anki cards… 😑

  36. How much is 'too many cards'?

  37. I’m not a med student , I’m a law student but I love to watch these channel because give me good advices instead of making a video with impossible advices and a “aesthetic video” as the only one reason to watch the video instead of learn something

  38. Half the time I can't remember what I ate for breakfast. I need help

  39. Where can I download that Anki software?

  40. Sooo, not in med school, just a 20 something starving artist here to learn cool shit to impress smart people around me. Thanks MSI for giving me all the tools I need to catfish people into thinking I know what I’m talking about… your fault if you ask me!

  41. Great video, Anki is awesome, but I would argue that the most advanced software is SuperMemo, a pioneer in the spaced repetition software. You can read the history and lots of theoretical articles here:

  42. Anyone Anking the video points while watching?

  43. If you're a medical student, how do you find the time to make these videos?

  44. Hippocampus does not store memory

  45. I use to memorize and have a great memory in my high school years but I lost it when I began college in NYC because I haven’t practiced like I use to. Thanks for this

  46. Thank you so so so much

  47. I’m glad I found this now ! I’m just about to start my journey as an undergraduate. This will surely help me get the grades I need to get into medical school

  48. Add Arabic language please

  49. i just would like to know what i need to do to marry a doctor

  50. This is the same old lame advice always given – review review review. It is important but it's only a small part. You need to learn how to plant information in your brain so that it sticks. Pure repetition by itself is not very effective. There are well developed techniques for building strong, persistent memory images. Memory Palaces. Method of Locii. Journey Method etc. These are ancient methods, developed by scholars before books were easily available. They are simple very effective and will really up your game. Check out those terms I listed. Check out ArtOfMemory dot com –

    There's nothing mysterious or magic about these methods. You can try them yourself and demonstrate in a few minutes that they work. They do take practice and memorizing is still hard work but… it pays off much better than repeated exposure.

  51. How do I know, that I am not reviewing to quickly, or too spaced out?

  52. I read the same book!

  53. I'm using Anki to study Japanese for the JLPT. I used a premade deck for kanji, and used python to automatically create a deck for vocab. However, after a while I came to realise that the premade kanji deck, while it does follow proper standards, has a LOT of useless information. For each letter it had like 10 different meanings, and 20 different ways to pronounce them. So for every single kanji in the deck I looked for words that used the kanji and removed the readings that either don't appear, or appear only in words I can never imagine myself using. I also reduced the number of meanings to one (because it's not important that the meanings be accurate anyway).

  54. I hate to be that guy, but eidetic memory, while somewhat observable in small children, is generally not found in adults. And all anecdotal claims of photographic memory has never stood up to rigourous scientific testing.

    Interestingly, Primates have a capacity for eidetic memory much greater than observable in humans.

  55. OK just came across your videos and omg thankyou as I'm studying a bachelors of counselling and have 2 young kids

  56. 2:44 I don't feel so good

  57. Whats a HACK? You got an official dictionary definition of that word? Merriam-Webster gives several traditional definitions, none of which affirm your use of the word.

  58. help

    I have known my online best friend for a year now, and we were apart for sometime in which we didn’t talk, just recently we came in contact again and he doesn’t remember anything, he remembers my name and the basic stuff but he doesn’t remember more,he doesn’t remember how he met his girlfriend or anyone, he doesn’t remember anything…

    Please help I’m worried

  59. Hmmm I use Quizlet for more than a year now. Theyre the same right?? Hehe

  60. Study smart not hard

  61. What do you think of increase your IQ score over 17 points with Rotogenflux Methods? I notice a lot of people keep on speaking about Rotogenflux Methods.

  62. What is so good about anki that makes it an efficient study tool when compared to other cheaper and possibly free study apps such as quizlet?

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