Simplicity and univocality of items

One of the main ways to increase the speed of learning with SuperMemo is to consequently formulate items that contain minimum information and are unambiguous. Minimum information does not mean minimum number of items. An ill-structured item may often be replaced by a dozen of simple items, and the resulting redundancy is likely to greatly reduce the learning time! One should never learn convoluted formulas, lists containing more than 3-5 elements, sets containing more than 2-3 elements, long descriptions, etc. All of them should be replaced by a set of simpler items.

The notable exception are short epigrams; however, their use may be constrained by SuperMemo's limit on the size of items.

Most of SuperMemo beginners display the lack of sense of item simplicity. Despite all warnings, they formulate monster items that by no means can be reproduced at repetitions. Usually, the learner will have to learn the hard way that there are different knowledge representation strategies that may render the same piece of knowledge a pushover in one case, and a nightmare in another.