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Blocked Practice vs. Interleaving Practice

    Blocked practice is the learning method used by most students when studying. It involves learning tasks of the same task type or topic, repeatedly one after the other. This type of learning is taught at school and is suitable for learning something in the short term and reproducing it immediately. However, what is learned is only retained in the short term. The long-term learning success is missing.

    Studies show that interleaving practice is beneficial for long-term learning. It means practising (interleaving) things in turn (practice). However, interleaving should not be applied to different subjects, as this will not have a positive learning effect. Instead, subjects and types of tasks should be learned alternately and mixed within a subject.

    Although interleaving practice may seem counterproductive at first, studies show that it is beneficial in the long run. If you frequently repeat a type of task one after the other, you may do better in the short term, but you will retain much less in the long term. That’s why you should study with interleaving practice, especially during the semester. 1 or 2 days before the exam, you can then switch to Blocked Practice to learn more in the short term. Blocked Practice should also be used when starting highly complex topics. Since you need some time to get to grips with these topics, switching frequently would take too much time.