Memrise Science

Memrise is built on three key scientific principles

Elaborate encoding

Memrise helps you vividly assimilate new knowledge, promoting deep encoding and superior memory.

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Choreographed testing

Testing strengthens memories in variety of ways.

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Scheduled reminders

By spacing reminders, learning can be made up to x3 more efficient.

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Meet our scientific advisory board


The world-leading researchers who are helping you to learn faster!

Prof David Shanks

David Shanks leads a research team at University College London (UCL) which is dedicated to understanding how we acquire and retain new information and skills, and how we use our knowledge to make decisions.

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Dr Rosalind Potts

Researcher and Teaching Fellow at UCL, and Senior Lecturer at Westminster University. Rosalind has a degree in languages from Oxford University, and a PhD in Psychology from UCL.

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Learn more about the science of Memrise


Elaborate encoding

The commonest way people try to learn facts, concepts, vocabulary and so on is simply to read the material in the hope that our brains will automatically register what we’re studying. But decades of memory research shows that this is a remarkably slow and ineffective way of learning, and one of the main reasons for this is that it doesn’t encourage elaborative encoding, which means relating what we’re trying to learn to what we already know.

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Choreographed testing

When you test your memory (casa = ?) you’re not just assessing how well you’ve learned something. Provided that you pass the test, you’re giving another boost to your memory. Regular tests are an extremely powerful means of reinforcing learning and Memrise takes full advantage of this by presenting frequent tests on the information you’ve learned. Even when you think you know something and can confidently recall it, tests are beneficial.

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Scheduled reminders

Memories fade over time so it’s crucial to schedule regular reminders. These could be in the form of simple reviews (‘aburrido’ means ‘boring’) but even better is if they comprise tests. What is the optimal scheduling of these reminders? Research suggests that reminders are most effective when they occur just before a memory fades completely and that successive reminders should be separated by longer and longer intervals.

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Suggested reading


V. A. Benassi, C. E. Overson, & C. M. Hakala (Eds.) (2014). Applying the science of learning in education: Infusing psychological science into the curriculum. Society for the Teaching of Psychology web site: http://teachpsych.org/ebooks/asle2014/index.php .

Bjork, R. A., Dunlosky, J., & Kornell, N. (2013). Self-regulated learning: Beliefs, techniques, and illusions. Annual Review of Psychology, 64, 417-444. http://bjorklab.psych.ucla.edu/pubs/RBjork_Dunlosky_Kornell_2013.pdf .

Brown, P. C., Roediger, H. L., & McDaniel, M. A. (2014). Make it stick: The science of successful learning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Pashler, H., Bain, P. M., Bottge, B. A., Graesser, A., McDaniel, M. A., & Metcalfe, J. (2007). Organizing instruction and study to improve student learning (NCER Publication No. 2007–2004). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/practice_guides/20072004.pdf

Potts, R. & Shanks, D. R. (2014). The benefit of generating errors during learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143, 644-667. http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1399515/1/RPottsLastRevision.pdf

Roediger, H. L., Putnam, A. L., & Smith, M. A. (2011). Ten benefits of testing and their applications to educational practice. In J. Mestre & B. Ross (Eds.), Psychology of learning and motivation: Cognition in education (pp. 1-36). http://psych.wustl.edu/memory/Roddy%20article%20PDF's/BC_Roediger%20et%20al%20(2011)_PLM.pdf