Sadly, I only found out about Notion and these study approaches after I finished my university degree; however, I find myself using this template for any of the certificates I am currently undertaking at work. As I can only commit a couple of hours per week to study and it can take months to finish all the study material, I find it easy to forget anything I learnt at the beginning. With this template, however, I no longer have to worry about remembering all the content as I can quickly practice with active recall and am reminded to study at the optimal time with spaced repetition.
If you are a student at university or in the same boat as me, at work, try using this approach and template to increase the efficiency of your study and increase your chances of achieving the grade you are working towards.
I believe we should start off with an explanation of the two main concepts of studying and retention, followed by a link to the Notion template and a how-to guide on setting it all up.
Active recall is the act of forcing your brain to recall concepts, facts, or content through prompts. This is different to passive recall which is just reading or watching content. Passive recall tends to be done on autopilot and can lead to a false sense of understanding. While taking notes on the content you would like to remember, try writing out questions and answers as appose to general facts as you can come back to the notes and use the questions as prompts.
Spaced repetition is the process of repeating active recall study on a routine basis. If you only revise the general facts once you can expect to forget the majority by the time you reach the exam or test. Repeating the content brings your understanding back to 100% while also reducing the amount you will forget. Typically, after 4 or 5 repetitions you will be able to remember the majority of the content and be ready for any test. The chart below represents the forgetting curve after each repetition.
The Notion Template
The rest of this post explains the Notion template and how you can use it to implement active recall and spaced repetition. Once you have the Notion template set up everything should run smoothly, however, it is worthwhile checking out the guide below for setting up your first course and topic.
Creating a course
Start by creating a new course or unit by clicking on the + new in the Courses table. From the new page, you can add a title and select the template that has been pre-defined. Within the new table, you can add a lecture or topic and start to take notes.
Flag the lecture as the course
A crucial step is to add a course flag to the topics or lectures. This will ensure the correct topics show up under the right courses. It will also become useful if you have multiple courses on the go at the same time as they will appear with their flag in the next repetition section.
Setting up filters
Once you have added the course flag you will need to add a filter to the topics table. This should match the course flag exactly.
Checking off a topic
Once the next rep date has lapsed past today it will appear in the Next Rep table on the main page. Here you can open the note and practice using active recall. When you have completed the study, check off the rep in the properties and rate your retention from poor to great. This will tweak how soon you will be tested on the content again.