How Does Smart Review Work?

We recently launched our new review tool: Smart Review! Here's a blog post that describes exactly how this tool works and how it supports your learning: Smart Review: Learn European Portuguese with Spaced Repetition

One comment we get often, especially from our long-time users, is "Ahhhh I have 3000 phrases to review! And the number is going up instead of down!!"

Don't worry, this is normal, but we do understand the panic! It's scary to see that many phrases to review and for some people it can be discouraging. The reason is simply that this is a new feature, so it wasn't something you had access to from the very beginning. Instead of doing Smart Review little by little "along the way", you're starting off with a backlog. Try not to worry about the number and instead just focus on doing regular reviews. It will go down gradually over time.

Why does the number fluctuate?

Every time you do more lessons in the Units section, more phrases will be added to your "New Phrases". The way Smart Review works is that your phrases are spread across these different levels, but the phrases "due for review" can come from any level. 

The system keeps track of whether or not you got each phrase right or wrong the last time you saw it. When you get one right, it gradually increases the interval in between when it shows you that phrase again (i.e. when it's due for review). So at first, the interval is very short -- it will show you the phrase again right away to help store it in your memory. But then, when you get it right a second time, it will wait a bit longer before adding it to your review again, and so on.

The goal is that eventually you can remember each phrase even if months have passed before you saw it last, indicating that it's truly "mastered" and has made its way into your long-term memory. These increasing intervals are designed to help your memory by showing you the phrase right before your brain would normally forget it, to help keep it "active" in a sense.

In the beginning, there will be a lot of phrases due for review because it will include any new phrases from units you've worked on recently, as well as those phrases you've just started reviewing in Smart Review (which still have short intervals until you get each one correct a few more times). 

Feeling overwhelmed?

Take the opportunity to look through the Manage Phrases section. You can remove phrases from your review by checking them off and moving them to "Mastered" (if they are too easy) or "Removed" (if they just aren't important to you right now). You can always move them back later if you change your mind.

If it's really bugging you, you can email us to clear your entire Units progress so you can start everything from the beginning. This is NOT reversible, so we don't normally recommend it unless you're really sure! 

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