When Ben Agro arrived at the University of Toronto after high school, he didn’t know what to expect from his courses in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.
“I worked really hard that first year, but not in a way that was efficient or followed a particular technique,” he says. “But then the COVID-19 pandemic happened towards the end of that year, and it forced me to learn about how I was learning.”
What Agro discovered was that he thrived in an asynchronous environment that allowed him to process lecture slides on his own. He also discovered that his retention went up when he adopted spaced repetition, a learning technique that uses flashcards at different intervals to recall information.
“I would go through each of my lecture slides and notes and make cards in a question-and-answer format, which I then uploaded to an app that helped me review in a way that increased my retention by prioritizing the concepts I had the most difficulty with,” he says.
“It really reduced the amount of time I had to study for tests because I wasn’t cramming – I already knew what I had learned.”