When it comes to studying – it is important to consider input and output!


Although “memory” is the base for learning, our brains are created to forget things. When studying English (a foreign language), learners need to remember vocabulary and grammar. This makes it necessary to learn how to use their memories effectively.

In order to remember what one has learned in the long term, it is necessary to repeat the following activities: “remember (input)” and “recall (output)” more than once. In this article, we will introduce how to effectively incorporate “input” and “output” into one’s studying.

In order to retain knowledge, repetition of input and output is important

Many people remember things that they are interested in but tend to forget important things they have little interest in. The reason this happens is because our brain cannot remember everything so it separates information that should be retained and information that can be forgotten. The information that should be retained category includes “things that are important to the individual”, “experiences that left a strong impression” and “things that occur often”.

According to the German Psychologist, Ebbinghaus, 56% of people forget things they are not interested in after one hour and 74% of people forget things they are not interested in after one day. However, they can often remember the content if they are reminded about it two days or even one week later.

Is it important not only to be reminded of what you have studied but also to confirm whether you actually remember what you have learned or not. In other words, in order to really remember something it is important to “remember (input)” and “recall (output)” over and over again.

What is the best timing for showing output?

Even if we review the input on a regular basis, if we are expected to remember too much at a time then we often end up forgetting the first thing we learned. If we spend too much time on the input then we do not have time for the output. Therefore, it is important to spend limited time on the input (like using a vocabulary list) so there is plenty of time for the output.

Another important condition when studying is to keep up one’s motivation. When trying to remember too much information, one often ends up forgetting what they learned which can lead to stress and a loss in one’s motivation to study. It is important for students to show output while studying which will help them confirm how much they really learned.


・Hide the text and try to remember what you learned
Small quizzes help prove whether one has truly learned what they studied but one cannot take a small quiz all the time. When this happens, the input/output study method comes in handy.

For example, the important part of the text is often written in red so it is a good idea to stop after reading these sections, try covering the text and remembering what is written.

For important vocabulary it is a good idea to ask oneself what was written on a frequent basis because this is a form of output and helps us to remember what we have learned. This method can be used outside of school studying whenever important words and phrases pop up.

Instead of trying to put all the information in one’s head at once it is recommended to use time in between to confirm whether you have really understood the material by combining input and output activities.

・Explain what you studied to friends and family
Explaining what one has studied to friends and family is a great way to incorporate input and output into their studying. By taking what one has learned (input) and determining how to best explain it to others (output) helps make the information learned stick better in your brain.

・Put together what you have learned on your own
Putting what you have learned into your own words and writing it down in a notebook is the best output study method. It is important to write as clearly and briefly as possible. It is an easy exercise and it is very helpful to use to review later making it a very effective study method.

In order to really remember what one has learned it is important to use input and output activities when studying. So let’s try to incorporate input and output activities to our study schedule.