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Contents : Support : FAQ
FAQ: Learning with SuperMemo 2000

You can learn this item later
You can locate most difficult items
You do not have to interrupt repetitions to forget or dismiss an element
You can quickly make repetitions in a selected subset of the learning material

SuperMemo can be merciful after a vacation break!
Grades are not important at final drill
Completing the final drill is not critical
You can always delete the final drill
You can randomize repetitions

Press F5 to quickly view the statistics
There is learning material available for download
Mnemonic techniques should be used on items that are difficult to remember

You can easily repeat sounds, display translation or phonetic transcription
You can change the sequence of learning particular elements
You can remove all information about the learning process
You can backup learning in large collections
You can make repetitions in a single branch

Knowledge tree does not play a role in learning
You can see the exact history of repetitions of a given item
You can view all pending elements in a given branch
Show answer stage may be skipped
Use Reschedule on a branch to progressively introduce new elements to the learning process

The timer should not make you hurry during repetitions
If you disregard the grading system, your learning progress will be negligible

More questions about learning and memory


You can learn this item later
Question:

How can I postpone memorizing an element when I am learning new material?
Answer:
Choose Forget on the element pop-up menu (Ctrl+R). This will put the item at the end of the pending queue. You will learn only after you memorize the entire pending queue (unless you sort the pending queue before that happens)


You can locate most difficult items
(Noel Clary, USA, Aug 17, 1998)
Question:
I have created my own database on plumbing and air conditioning. My forgetting index is quite high. Are there any tools in SuperMemo which could help me remedy this situation?
Answer:

You might want to use View : Leeches and locate the elements that cause most problems in learning. You must then go into your own mind to answer the question why these elements are hard to recall. Usually these are too complex, too long, too boring or too similar to other elements in the same collection. You can also send 3-4 most difficult items to us for review to receive some suggestions. Read more: Leeches. You could also have a look at: 20 rules of formulating knowledge in SuperMemo


You do not have to interrupt repetitions to forget or dismiss an element
(Josef Holubik, Czech Republic, Sep 13, 1998)
Question:
When I make repetitions, I would sometimes like to use Forget or Remember but I only have grade buttons available. Do I have to stop the repetition cycle?
Answer:
No. You can use Ctrl+R for Forget and Ctrl+M for Remember. In both cases, you will continue with the next item in the repetition schedule as soon as resetting or recommitting an item is completed


SuperMemo can be merciful after a vacation break!
Question:
I left for vacation, and my learning process is in mess. What should I do?
Answer:
Use Tools : Mercy


Grades are not important at final drill
(Grzegorz Malewski, Poland, Dec 10, 1997)
Question:
Do grades at final drill affect the learning process?
Answer:
No. They are only used to eliminate items from the final drill queue.


Completing the final drill is not critical
(David Mckenzie, New Zealand, Sep 3, 1998)
Question:
What should you do if you don't complete the final drill for the day? Thoughts are: 1. Delete it, 2. Complete it first thing next day, 3. Complete it the next day, but with other final drill items. (I usually do 3.)
Answer:
It would be best to go through the final drill every day. Second best would probably be to delete final drill (Learn : Cut drills). This comes from the fact that all repetitions made on dates different from the original schedule interfere with computations made by SuperMemo. You can simply fool SuperMemo into believing that you know an element better than it is indicated by the history of repetitions. Finally, it would be worst to go through final drill before repetitions on the next day (for the same reason as above). The picture gets more complicated when your first interval for forgotten items is relatively long (e.g. over 5 days). In these circumstances doing the final drill on the next day might be more profitable than not doing it at all


You can always delete the final drill
Question:

I noticed that File : Repair collection does not recover the final drill queue. What if drill.dat file becomes damaged? Will that make learning impossible?
Answer:
No. drill.dat is a temporary file and can always be removed with Learn : Cut drills with little damage to the learning process. This file can also be deleted manually


You can randomize repetitions
(Mike Condron, USA, Jan 17, 2001)
Question:
Is there any way to have items in the outstanding list presented in random order?
Answer:
Use Learn : Random : Randomize repetitions (e.g. by pressing Shift+Ctrl+F11)


Press F5 to quickly view the statistics
Question:

How can I quickly see how many memorized items I have in my collection?

Answer:
Press F5 and see Memorized


There is learning material available for download
(Roger Dykes, USA, May 20, 1998)
Question:
What collections are available for SuperMemo 2000?
Answer:
See SuperMemo Library.
Note that all collections for SuperMemo 8, SuperMemo 98, or SuperMemo 99 can be upgraded to SuperMemo 2000 by simply opening them with File : Open


You can easily repeat sounds, display translation or phonetic transcription
(Tomas Klinkovsky, Czech Republic, Aug 7, 1998)
Question:
How can I do the following actions using the keyboard in Advanced English:

Answer:
You can repeat sounds with Ctrl+F10. You can also display translations with Alt+U and the phonetic transcription with Alt+Y


You can change the sequence of learning particular elements
(John Gibney, Australia, Sep 1, 1998)
Question:
What is the simplest way to determine the order in which elements are memorized?
Answer:
You can sort the pending queue in the order of the element appearance in the knowledge tree by using File : Tools : Sort pending by contents. You can also set individual element ordinal numbers and choose File : Tools : Sort pending by ordinals. Finally, you can search for individual elements and memorize them individually with Ctrl+M


You can remove all information about the learning process
(Mariusz Szepietowski, Poland, Dec 7, 1997)
Question:
How can I remove information about the learning process from a collection? I would like to start learning all over again from scratch?
Answer:
Use File : Tools : Reset collection. At the end of this process choose sorting the pending queue either by hierarchy or by ordinals (e.g. as in Advanced English 97)


You can backup learning in large collections
(Michal Grodzki, Poland, Aug 20, 1998)
Question:
You advice the users of Advanced English 97 to make back-up copies with File : Tools : Export : Learning process. However, this does not back up the material introduced by the user. What is the best solution in a case when I want to add lots of my own items to Advanced English?
Answer:
You might try one of the following:

  1. Keep your own material in a separate collection. You can back such a collection by compressing the <collection name>.kno file and the <collection name> folder into a single archive (e.g. with WinZip)
  2. If you prefer to add your items to Advanced English (e.g. in order to be able to search all material in one go), you might back up the contents of a single branch by transferring it into an empty system with Tools : Transfer branch on the contents pop-up menu or by exporting it as text with Tools : Export as text (also on the contents menu). You can later restore your back-up after reinstalling Advanced English with Tools : Transfer branch in the opposite direction or with File : Tools : Import : Text in the latter case

Knowledge tree does not play a role in learning
(Nita L. Wunderlich, USA, Aug 24, 1998)
Question:
How can I make a good use of knowledge hierarchy in the learning process?
Answer:
Structuring knowledge by means of knowledge hierarchy is not very important for the learning process itself; however, it greatly simplifies managing large bodies of facts pertaining to different subjects. The knowledge hierarchy is best managed by means of knowledge categories. Read more: Knowledge categories


You can see the exact history of repetitions of a given item
(Dr Janusz Murakowski, USA, Nov 18, 1997)
Question:
What is the meaning of Full History of Repetitions in Tools : Options : Learning? How can I see the history of repetitions?
Answer:
With Full History of Repetitions, all individual repetitions are recorded in a separate file (\info\reps.dat))). Information about the history of repetitions of a given element can be viewed by double clicking the element data window or choosing History in element parameters dialog box available from element pop-up menu. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+H to view the history of repetitions of the currently displayed element


You can view all pending elements in a given branch
(Shaun Hoffland, UK, May 25, 1997)
Question:
How can I view all pending or dismissed elements in a given branch in the knowledge tree?
Answer:
Probably the simplest method is to:

After the above sequence of operations, the browser will contain only the pending or dismissed elements belonging to the selected branch


Show answer stage may be skipped
(Anatolyi Lipatov, Ukraine, Aug 28, 1998)
Question:
When I add new elements in the contents window, it happens that the repetition cycle skips showing the answer even if the answer component is marked as Answer. Is it a bug?
Answer:
No. This is a standard behavior for topics. You must check Type : Item on the element pop-up menu. Topics are considered a synthetic overview of knowledge and do not respect the Answer attribute on the component pop-up menu. They are just shown as they are and expect you to click Next repetition (i.e. skip Show answer and grading) (see also: Topics vs. items)


The timer should not make you hurry during repetitions
(Ryszard Siwczyk, Poland, Nov 4, 1997)
Question:
Does the response time at repetitions influence the next interval?
Answer:
No


You can quickly make repetitions in a selected subset of the learning material
(Mike Condron, Saturday, January 06, 2001 5:22 PM)
Question:
Is it possible to make all outstanding repetitions related to a narrow subject; for example to the abdominal aorta? Say I have an exam tomorrow and not enough time to make all outstanding repetitions
Answer:
Yes. Search for "abdominal aorta" (e.g. with Ctrl+F) and choose Learn on the browser menu (e.g. with Ctrl+Alt+L)


You can make repetitions in a single branch
(Patrik Nilsson, Tue, Aug 21, 2001 11:24)
Question:
Is it possible to have different priorities of items in the pending queue? E.g. if I first want to memorize what about school and then all kinds of hobbies?
Answer:
Pending queue is linear but can be sorted by various criteria. However, the recommended solution in your case is to keep school and hobby material in different branches or different categories. Then you will be able to use branch learning. For example, select School branch in the contents window and click Learn (or choose Ctrl+Alt+L)


If you disregard the grading system, your learning progress will be negligible (#3762)
(Michal Ryszard Wojcik, Poland, Tue, Feb 20, 2001 13:45)
Question:
I've been coasting along with my German collection. I gave a 5 for a fully correct response and a 4 for a mistaken response. I was taking it easy. I'm going to keep using my German collection like that. It does not burden me and it keeps my German in memory
Answer:
You could spend your time better by just watching some German TV channel. This method will have negligible effect on your knowledge. Grade Bright ( 5) will keep the easy core of your knowledge in memory. Grade Good (4) will produce short-lived refreshments with a negligible long-term effect. This is nearly the exact statistical replica of your encounters with knowledge in traditional language learning assuming your collection is representative of the language. This means that there is no special treatment of forgotten pieces. In other words, this is not the SuperMemo method and using SuperMemo here verges on a waste of time. You could read some good German book in this time and kill two birds with one stone (learning the language and learning the subject matter)


Mnemonic techniques should be used on items that are difficult to remember
(Adam, Australia, Sunday, August 05, 2001 3:26 AM)
Question:
I have 673 items in my Chinese-English-Chinese database. Some items are very hard. The Leech dialog box comes up over and over again, and I do not know how to get rid of it. I want to keep difficult items in the database. Should I reset the items, i.e. send them back to the pending queue?
Answer:
Chinese is inherently difficult to a European or to an American. Some items may comply with 20 rules of formulating knowledge and still fall into the leech category. The only solution is mnemonic techniques. Please have a look at mnemonic websites to look for techniques that would best match this kind of material. A popular way of learning ideograms is to build pictures nested in their skeleton. If pictures are semantically related to the English word, the recall may become far easier. With time, you will develop a subconscious skill of visualizing ideograms in your own way with benefits to recall


Use Reschedule on a branch to progressively introduce new elements to the learning process
(Justin Wilson, USA Educational, Monday, August 06, 2001 3:39 AM)
Question:
I wish to have certain branches progressively added to the learning process, at a certain specified rate such as 2 items/day. I have tried the Reschedule option, but it seems it did not do what I wanted because today my learning process had 90 items in the Final Drill as opposed to the normal 10-15
Answer:
Using Reschedule is still probably the best way to accomplish your goal. If you use Learn : Cut drills, you will eliminate the final drill queue with little damage to the learning process. The only major shortcoming of using Reschedule is that many elements will enter the learning process with the first interval much longer than usual. However, it should not affect the learning process much if your branches are of similar difficulty as the rest of the material, or if they do not make a large proportion of memorized items