Mature learning after long absence in SM 17

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Question

Abel asked:

I had SuperMemo 16 but have not looked at it seriously for at least a year. I have opened it a few times and ran Mercy, etc. but did not study for more than a few days. I miss SuperMemo, so I upgraded to SuperMemo 17 and want to get into studying seriously again. However, I read the following in the new help wiki:

Efficient learning: if you have a mature learning process going on in your collection, use F7 and Compute to compute accurate DSR model data (that makes the new algorithm run most effectively).

My collection is old, but I don't know if it counts as mature. I want the algorithm to run effectively for me.

My questions are:

  1. What steps can I take to minimize the damage from not having studied for so long? Will SM 17 get confused and give me the wrong intervals, etc?
  2. Should I just reset my whole collection? (3248 elements)

Thanks for your time.

Answer

  1. Do not reset your collection. It contains valuable information about your memory.
  2. Use F7 and Compute. This should be resistant to breaks in learning. All past information will help improve learning.

The main difference you will notice that SuperMemo 17 will often propose intervals that are different from older SuperMemos. In particular, even if you manually shorten intervals, it will still try to return to longer intervals at next repetitions. If differences are large, SuperMemo will ask you to make your own choice between the available options.

This is what you may need to do to continue with SuperMemo without breaks:

  • make sure you use priority queue to decide which material is most important
  • use auto-postpone and auto-sort to get rid of material overload on days you are "not in the mood" for learning
  • focus hard on 20 rules of knowledge formulation

All the above is to help you to make learning a pleasure. If you have fun learning, you are less likely to drop out again.