The human memory can store data for an amazingly long time, but unlike a computer, we have a hard time recalling information that’s not frequently used or obviously important. Barring injury, we’ll almost never lose track of where we live. But we can have hard time digging up important details from a book read just a few weeks ago.
Repetition is a great way to work around this problem. By forcing ourselves to try and remember a fact on a regular basis, you can slowly nudge your mind into retaining it. This concept is core to FullRecall, a simple, free program that can be customized to help you remember anything you’d like. Let’s take a look at how this app can help you improve your memory.
Flashcards For Your Computer
Everyone who has studied for a big test has encountered the flashcard. A simple piece of paper with a question on the front and an answer on the back, the flashcard is a tried-and-true method of remembering facts. But in today’s digital world, this old tactic feels out of date. Writing down questions on cards can take a long time, and then they must be carried to everywhere you’d like to study.
FullRecall banishes the need for flashcards entirely. After opening the program, a new category of questions can be created through File –> Knowledge Manager. Right-click the “root” folder to create a new category, then select the new category folder and exit the Knowledge Manager.
Now click Input on the right hand side of program. Select the category you just made in the menu that opens, and that’s it. You’re now ready to make your first question. In addition to simple text, both the question and answer fields can contain images, colored text, sound files and hyperlinks.
Remembering Right On Schedule
When the question and answer fields are filled, you then select how well you know the fact. If it’s something you instantly know off-hand, you’d probably list it as Ideal. But if it’s some that you don’t know very well at all, you’d place it as Poor.
How well you rate your knowledge of the question automatically determines how often the question will appear for you to answer. If you know the question very well, then it will only appear once every few days, whereas a question that is difficult for you will appear every day. The purpose of this is fairly clear; the harder the answer is to remember, the more practice you need.
You have the chance to re-rate your knowledge of the question every time you answer it, so as you become more familiar, its rate of appearance will drop. Eventually you’ll be able to rank your knowledge as “ideal,” at which point the question will appear only rarely.
One helpful but easily overlooked feature of this app is the Statistics menu. When opened, this menu provides a wide range of information about the questions you’ve entered and answered. You can see your mean grade, see the average number of times you’ve reviewed an item, and see how many items you have for each interval (the more questions at a high interval, the better you’re remembering).
You can also find in this menu the schedule and history views, which show you both how many questions are scheduled to appear on each day, and how many questions you’ve reviewed in the past.
Plenty Of Tweaks
FullRecall is a rather geeky program, and as such, it provides a lot of geeky settings to change. Users can get rid of the splash screen at start, change the font, disable the automatic version check and update, change the language, change where various interface elements appear, and more.
But not all the settings are superficial. Under the “Grades” menu, for example, you can change how grading a question impacts its interval, you can change how grades are labeled, and you can change how ratings are weighed. There are more important tweaks to be found under “Difficult Items,” which lets you decide when FullRecall flags a question as being particularly hard for you to remember, and “Duplicates,” which can be used to automatically get rid of identical questions.
One of this program’s best features is its broad range of platform support. FullRecall works not only for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X, but is also available on Windows Phone, Android and Maemo. The mobile versions are a bit more basic, but they still get the job done.
There’s also a paid license available for $19, which gives you the opportunity to use FullRecall on as many devices as you’d like. If you opt for the pay version, you receive two valuable features; network sync and an online version. This means you can keep your questions synced across multiple devices.
FullRecall is a MakeUseOf Rewards partner, too, so you can grab the paid license for free with your Rewards Points!
Overall, this program does what it’s meant to do. The interface can at time be unclear, but there’s not a lot of extraneous functionality, so figuring out how to use FullRecall isn’t particularly difficult. Once you’re familiar with it, the app becomes an invaluable tool for anyone trying to remember a series of facts that just won’t sink in.