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Use it or lose it?

  1. Jan 6, 2008 #1
    Is it common to sort of "lose knowledge" in a particular subject if you don't use it for a while?

    For instance, when studying some math, I had to go back and review some past chapters even though I correctly answered all the review questions associated with that chapter at a prior date.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 6, 2008 #2
    If you don't practice something regularly, you will lose confidence in it. I don't think you can really forget what you learned. You will have a sense of familiarity, but to become proficient again you have to practice.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2008
  4. Jan 6, 2008 #3


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    I think that the loose it or lose it attitude applies to physics and definitely to math above the pre-calculus level. I think the only reason I am still proficient in intro-physics is because I am a tutor for it.
  5. Jan 6, 2008 #4
    Well certainly, you don't remember everything you learn.
    If you turn a page in a book you can remember what you just read, but come a month later and someone asks you what happened on page 97 you'll have no idea.

    Review once in a while and you'll retain a much higher percentage of what you learned for a much longer time. If you're really interested there have been scientific studies about memory recall, maybe google for them.
  6. Jan 6, 2008 #5
    Of course. Relate it to exercising ... say you're in shape atm and can run miles, do you think you'll be able to do that w/o having exercised a year down the road? Same goes for knowledge.
  7. Jan 6, 2008 #6
    why do you think professors will voluntariy teach classes in things they dont do research in?
  8. Jan 7, 2008 #7
    At my department, they also give the classical physics TA assignments to us first years to help us study for our qualifier. Seems like teaching something is an excellent way to not forget it.
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