The '123' Method Can Help You Recall What You've Studied (2024)

The '123' method's genius is in its simplicity.

The '123' Method Can Help You Recall What You've Studied (1)

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It's a good idea to have a strategy for actually retaining what you’re learning, but if your method is too convoluted, you’ll never stick to it—and then it's useless. The best study methods not only rely on research and established understandings of how memory works, but are easy to incorporate into daily life. The "123" method meets all the criteria of a good study method, so let’s go over what it’s all about.

What is the 123 study method?

The 123 study method is a lot like the 2357 method, except it’s much easier to stay on top of and actually execute. With 2357, you review and revise your notes and materials on days two, three, five, and seven after first learning them, which is a tricky schedule to remember and maintain. The 123 method is simpler: On day one, you learn your material. On day two, you review it. Review it again on day three, then don’t think about it for a week, at which point you'll review it again.

Why the 123 study method works

The 123 method relies on distributed practice, which calls for you to review your materials at spaced intervals to better retain them in your long-term memory. It’s a technique that works, but often, adherents expect you to distribute the practice in ways that are difficult to manage. By going over it for three days, then giving your brain a week and seeing how much you retained, you can fit distributed practice into your life a lot more easily.

This method is best done about 10 days out from a big test, so you can study and review on those first three days, then once more the day before the test. How you review is up to you, but you can try flashcards, which help you with memory retrieval, or blurting, which helps you identify your problem areas by forcing you to recall as much information as you can without looking at your notes. Just know that the one-week interval between reviews is key. When your brain has almost forgotten something, it works a little harder to pull the information out of your memory, which is what will truly help get the facts to stick before your big test.

The '123' Method Can Help You Recall What You've Studied (2024)

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