Please help me! If I memorize something today (but face difficulty in recalling it) then I keep revising it, will I actually remember it at the end of my plan? Does brain work like that?

Tl;dr at the end. Thank you.

I have to memorize rule books. There are a lot of sections and complicated language.

To be honest, I have never memorized before. I had started earlier and started memorizing them 20 sections at a time. But I memorized them on day one = couldn’t recall some much of it in first revision on the same day = then I wait for the next day = revise it once again (difficult to recall) = then I start doubting myself and give up and never revise it again.

I know of the 0 7 15 30 60 days revision plan. But I’m so scared if I’ll actually memorize these things after revision? What if I wait for one week then 15 days then 30 days and don’t remember a thing? This terrifies me and I get anxious. I seriously doubt my capacity to memorize and have really low self confidence in this regard.

Despite my genuine interest in my subjects they terrify me because I think I will not able to memorize it all. I don’t know how to trust myself on that. On day one of memorizing, I don’t recall much of it. That demotivates me. On day two, I forget more. That demotivates me. On third day, I give up with this plan.

I want to know how much time does it take to create permanent or long term memory? Should I trust my brain and just revise things on time despite how hard they seem to recall? If you have memorized before for your exams, in how much time could you say that you can remember it and be confident in it?

I want to complete one session of memorizing in two months. Then start with the same 50 sections everyday cycle again for next two months. Then again next two months until I my pass my exam.

But you see I’m so scared, what if the difficulty I face in recalling continues even after two months?

Basically tl;dr should I memorize and revise my lessons regularly on time and even if it seems hard to recall should I just keep going? Does brain work like that? When on second revision I seem to have forgotten everything, I sincerely doubt my brain and feel put down by myself. I don’t know how human brain works. What I do know is that I’ll be disciplined and push information into this brain regularly but how do I know that the brain will do its work and two months from today I’d have memorized most, if not all, of the rules? I hope I make sense. Please help.

I’ll break it down to show why I am worried. I want to make sure that you fully understand what I’m saying:

  1. Today I memorize 50 sections from my book in the afternoon

  2. In the evening I revise it and face difficulty in recalling. I complete 50 sections with low confidence. And memorize the next 50 sections.

  3. On next day, I start doubting myself if I remember what I had memorized on day 1. Now I have to revise day 1 and day 2 work and also memorize fresh new 50 sections.

  4. I cannot do it all in one day. Otherwise I’ll keep revising old stuff the whole day. So I need to follow 0 7 15 30 days revision plan. But it looks scary. If I’m not able to recall it today and tomorrow how can I recall it 7, 15, 30 days later?

The reason spaced repetition schedule plans work is because you are ‘reigniting’ your memories before they vanish or shortly after. If you have lesser fragments of your memories you have to review them much more frequently than a normal schedule to build on them.

In your case you don’t really have even ‘enough fragments’ of what you have been studying. It is true that at the end you will likely not even recall your memories.

The dynamics of the brain are complicated but you do get a lot of signs that something you are doing is working. For example, after your first review session, if your 2nd review/relearn session was not easier, then you are not really learning anything at all from your first session so prolonging it won’t really benefit you.

Again this is true, you will likely not memorize these things after revision if they are not sticking at all during multiple sessions.

Memory truly isn’t permanent.

You should trust your brain but it is giving you signs that this isn’t working, maybe review more frequently and split it up much more during the day. Change things if they are not working otherwise you will be clinging onto nothing but bad results, madness or miracles.

It depends on when my exam is, if it is in the same day I can be confident in 10 minutes or 50 minutes to be safe 1/5th the time up to the exam.

Chances are it will.

The brain does not work like that, the brain connects itself and becomes more stable as a result of this so you can have things click later like music. This is however for ‘the parts’ of things you do recall which form the whole circuit, in your case you do not nearly have any such parts. It is all being overwritten by your next set of information, but such is rote learning.

This is good, a good way to know is if you can learn something the first day and recall it, if not, if you can recall it on the second day better than the first. Being able to recall it, is evidence that at-least during this session your memory is ‘there’.

This revision plan is not really suitable for learning rules with rote I would say. It seems more suitable for learning skills or with memory techniques. Even so 0 to 7 is a harsh jump considering 7 to 15, the jump should be more multiplicative than constant. It should be much more frequent initially and much less frequent as it goes up. You should experiment since the actual times differ for people, some find shorter times much more effective. You should know if they are effective since you would ‘recall’ much better than the first time.


MIght the root of your problem be ‘understanding’ ? *hesitant noob suggestion *
Whilst understanding what you are memorizing isn’t a must -and personally i find that with enough rote, comprehension seems to just magically happen- it does help a lot.
For every rule you learn there will be a reason behind it : “Don’t run in the corridors” really means “our insurers will up our premiums if we claim on another broken leg”. Understanding the reasoning behind any rule (even mathematical) can be key…I find.


Hey PakuPaku,

I agree with @Nagime.

Also, you are what you think you are. If you don’t have self-esteem in your capability or in your memory, then you will fail anyway, even with the best techniques. Anything what you think off is shaping your character and your abilities. I would be very cautious about what you are thinking, because it impairs you much more than you think.

I would suggest that you build more on your confidence before memorization. Give yourself affirmations, but with faith in yourself.

I am not an anxious person, but I understand your point completely. I also have doubts sometimes, I had a lot of them at the beginning, about my abilities. But every time a negative thought is popping up in my mind, I remind myself that it is only a possibility, not a 100 % prediction. If they pop up I always do something random like taking my socks off and on. It is funny how powerful this technique is.

The very first time I built a memory palace was 2 days from a vocabulary test away. We had to memorize 39 of them. So, I built my memory palace, stored there the information and retrieved them. The funny thing was, that I recalled them after the first time nearly perfectly. I had a nearly perfect recall (maybe 99 % :D). After waking up on the last day, I visited my memory palace again and could recall every vocabulary. While writing the test I thought that it maybe could not work, but I recalled them correctly and got an A (or 14 points in Germany). Only one mistake I made, because I mistook one word with another.

I hope that helps you and that you achieve your goal.

Yours Sincerely.


That quote by @Nagime explains why Anki is so popular.

The Anki algorithm is not FIXED like the example in your post:

That schedule is far too brutal. It’s the most demanding of any of the fixed schedules that I’ve seen. More normal would be 1 day, 2 days, 4, 8, 16, and so on for someone using paper cards. For someone of my limited abilities, I would even squeeze in some minutes at the start. Such as 10 mins, 20 mins, 40 mins, …, 1 day, 2 days…

Starting with a fairly easy schedule breeds confidence, and encourages you to proceed. But if you overdo things at the start, you might never touch that subject again

However, there are two problems with any suggested fixed schedule:

  • It takes no account of individual differences between one person and another. Even twin brothers might need different schedules in Anki.

  • It takes no account of the technical difficulty of the subject matter. Deriving Euler’s Equation might present more difficulty than calculating the probability of throwing two 6s at craps.



@Pakupaku9 said that he is learning from a book? What kind of subject is it? could you show the content here?

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I think that 50 sections per day are too much for a beginner. I would start with 10 a day.