Implementation of Spaced Repetition by First-Year Medical Students: a Retrospective Comparison Based on Summative Exam Performance

Anila Mehta, Nathaniel Brooke, Anessa Puskar, Mary Clare Crochiere Woodson, Barbara Masi, Robert C. Wallon, Donald A. Greeley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Many medical students use spaced repetition as a study strategy to improve knowledge retention, and there has been growing interest from medical students in using flashcard software, such as Anki, to implement spaced repetition. Previous studies have provided insights into the relationship between medical students’ use of spaced repetition and exam performance, but most of these studies have relied on self-reports. Novel insights about how medical students use spaced repetition can be gleaned from research that takes advantage of the ability of digital interfaces to log detailed data about how students use software. This study is unique in its use of data extracted from students’ digital Anki data files, and those data are used to compare study patterns over the first year of medical school. Implementation of spaced repetition was compared between two groups of students who were retrospectively grouped based on average performance on three exams throughout the first year of medical school. Results indicate that students in the higher scoring group studied more total flashcards and implemented spaced repetition via Anki earlier in the year compared to the lower scoring group. These findings raise the possibility that implementing spaced repetition as a study strategy early in medical school may be related to improved knowledge retention and exam performance. Additional research should be performed at more sites to further examine the relationship between spaced repetition implementation and exam performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1089-1094
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Science Educator
Volume33
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Exam performance
  • Flashcards
  • Medical students
  • Spaced repetition
  • Study methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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