Beat the forgetting curve

Students forget what they have been taught soon after a lesson ends. Teachers agree that regular retrieval practice through low-stakes quizzing is extremely beneficial in helping students to combat what is known as the forgetting curve.

The challenge is finding enough time in a busy day to prepare quizzes and enough time within the curriculum to dedicate to them.








How Smart Revise can be used to beat the forgetting curve


Smart Revise Quiz was built to solve the forgetting curve.

A teacher can:

  1. Enable Quiz mode in the class settings.
  2. Use the topic filters to unlock an increasing number of topics as they are taught, automatically spacing and interleaving questions.
  3. Start or end each lesson with 5-7 minutes of using Quiz. Alternatively set a target of x number of questions to be completed in the next 7 days.

A student can:

  1. Use Quiz independently of their teacher.
  2. Aim to master questions by answering them correctly three times in a row.

A student or teacher can:

Use reports to see engagement and progress.

  • A usage report tells you when students used Quiz and how many questions were attempted.
  • An overview report shows you the mastery status of each student.
  • Question analysis tells you the top ten least and most understood questions.
  • Class matrix shows you progress by topic.

Data can be download in CSV format to take snapshots demonstrating progress over time.

The research

Studies by Hermann Ebbinghaus and repeated in 2015 by Murre & Dros proved that students forget what they have been taught gradually over time if they do not regularly revisit what they have previously learned.

Remembering more knowledge over a longer period of time instead of cramming revision for an exam at the end of a course has proven to be a more successful technique.

Facts need to be recalled not immediately, but as they begin to wane from memory. This is known as spaced practice. Switching context between topics in a recall session known as interleaving is also more powerful than only studying one topic at a time known as blocking.

Students need regular opportunities for low-stakes retrieval practice but it can have a remarkable impact on student confidence.

Murre, J., Dros, J. (2015) Replication and Analysis of Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve

How Quiz works

Quiz presents students with their own unique playlist of multiple-choice questions. The position of the possible answers is randomised so that students cannot simply remember where the correct answer is. Unlike other quizzing tools, Quiz learns about each student as they answer the questions. Instead of completing a set number of questions decided by the teacher, Quiz creates a personalised, ever-changing, never-ending playlist for each student automatically. That means after using Quiz for a few hours, no two students will have exactly the same experience which is ideal for differentiation.


There is no end to the questions

Quiz is an ideal way to start a lesson. Students can get into the routine of starting Quiz when they enter the room and the teacher can choose when to stop the Quiz activity rather than some students finishing before others.

Quiz automatically differentiates, spaces and interleaves questions with no work for the teacher. Least familiar topics and weaker areas for each student are prioritised in Quiz, but no question is ever completely finished.

Little and often makes a big difference

Designed to beat the forgetting curve by keeping knowledge fresh in a student mind by regular recall has Little and often low stakes quizzing and retrieval practice has a remarkable effect of transferring knowledge in working memory to long term memory. Multiple choice is also ideal for spotting misconceptions with diagnostic questions.


Multiple choice questions designed to be diagnostic allow a teacher to understand why a student might have given an incorrect answer to a question. For example, “What is 5+5?” Possible diagnostic answers could include 0 (the student subtracted), 1 (the student used divisison), 25 (the student used multiply) or 10 (the student understands addition).

Bespoke to each specification

The questions in Quiz are not generic questions, each is linked to a specific bullet point in the specification. There are no silly or “all of the above” answers in Quiz. Negative questions where students are asked “which of these is not…” can also be difficult to comprehend, so are also avoided as much as possible.

Supporting students

When a student answers a question, Quiz presents helpful advice about the correct answer, a link directly to a relevant YouTube video, popular textbook page references and model answers. Quiz quietly compiles a personalised revision checklist of topics that a student should focus on to maximise their learning and success in exams.

Incentivising students to use Quiz

To encourage students to engage with Smart Revise, students can achieve a set of awards simply by using Quiz. In addition, class leader boards allow them to see how well they are doing compared to their peers.