Study Strategy: Spaced practice

How often do you get back to the new information you have studied? Another effective study strategy in preparing for the Patent Agent Examination is to space your practice sessions in such a way that there is some passage of time between your initial exposure to new knowledge and your revisions.

If you come across a new topic in patent law, it is preferable to revisit the topic within a few days. For instance, if you watch a video on a topic, do the quiz that follows the lesson immediately. This helps in recollection. On weekends, browse through the headings of the bare act and see how much of information you are able to recollect. At the end of this exercise, read the said provision from the bare act and update the gaps in your knowledge. This technique should work well when you watch videos again to understand a particular concept in patent law. Once your weekly encounter is done, leave the material alone for some time. Revisit it again in the form of a Revision Test after few weeks and see how you fare.

Flashcards are a good tool for spaced practice. The AnkiApp is a tested app for spaced practice as it would repeat the information based on how you fared: the harder stuff repeats itself more often than the easier ones.

You can also interleave two or more topics to achieve the benefits of spaced practice. The idea is to continuously refresh your memory in ways that works for you. Cramming—the art of memorising information in a short span of time—is the most commonly used technique in exams. The repetition involved in cramming gives the feeling of being more productive. It also explains why we put off review until the eve of the exams. Though repetition is helpful to retrieve things in the short run, it’s the spaced practice that helps you to remember things in the long run.

The bottom line is that practice is critical but it works when it is spaced over a period of time.