If you have launched a study session in the Brainscape website or mobile app, you will have noticed that Brainscape requires you to rate your confidence -- on a scale of 1 through 5 -- in order to get to the next card.
We require these confidence ratings in order to determine how frequently to show you the flashcard. Our adaptive study algorithm is scientifically optimized to help you learn faster and remember for longer. (If you want to learn more about how the algorithm works and love brain science, check this one out too.)
The numbers 1-5 are a flexible scale that you can use however best suits your study goals. However, we recommend the following guidelines to start:
- Only rate a "5" if you truly feel that you will never forget the item again. (We will still occasionally repeat it just to be sure you still know it, but you'll see it less and less until it never again appears.) It's ok if this means you won't get 100% mastery on a deck for a long time. There are no rewards for 100% confidence. You are only cheating yourself by marking 5s on weakly known items.
- If you feel you know the item well for now, but aren't confident you'e remember it forever, then consider only rating it as a 3 or a 4.
- If you are totally clueless on a very difficult concept, then mark it a 1. Our algorithm chooses a 1 (or a brand new card) about 60% of the time, so you should see that card again very soon.
- Remember that the more 1s you rate, the less likely you are to see new cards. So if you feel like you are seeing too many new concepts when you're not yet confident enough in the current ones, consider rating more cards a 1.
That said, it's really not the end of the world if you don't rate your confidences perfectly. Brainscape will adapt to your learning pace, and you will also learn how to better work with Brainscape.
As you continue studying, Brainscape will continue to optimize the interval between each card’s repetition. As a general rule of thumb, this is what you can expect based on how you rate a card:
- 1 (a few minutes);
- 2 (10+ minutes);
- 3 (hours);
- 4 (days);
- 5 (weeks or months
The actual interval that cards repeat depends on how much you're studying, and how stale your cards are. The more stale cards you have in your study mix, the more likely you will be to see those stale cards repeated rather than seeing new cards.
Still have questions and can't find the answer? Be sure to email our Tech Support Team (firstname.lastname@example.org), or join our Discord channel where you can discuss all things learning, meet others studying for the same exams, and upvote features you'd like to see us add to our tool.
And for more FREE study advice don't forget to check out the Brainscape Academy.