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How can you make clozing more incremental?

A common habit of beginners to SuperMemo is to create clozes on paragraphs. This is a terrible idea. It violates minimum information principle

An improvement on that is to create clozes on sentence long extracts. This is better.

But there is a further level of incrementalism for creating clozes that few are aware of (or at least I wasn’t, not till April or so of 2020)

When you see a sentence long extract, it is easy to just cloze every bit that seems semantically important. The problem with this is that:

-you don’t know which clozes are actually needed to remember the content (you could be making too few clozes)

-you don’t know which clozes are not needed to remember the content (making too many clozes)

To get around this, you can make clozes incrementally.

Thus, if an extract like this were to show up:

Empathy: recognizes only those similar to us

I would cloze only the word similar:

Empathy: recognizes only those similar to us

That is the core of what I want to remember. That single cloze might be good enough to keep this in my head for a while. 

Next time I see it, I would evaluate: does this memory feel volatile? Am I at risk of forgetting it?

If I still remember it well enough at next rep I can just give it a much longer interval. If I feel parts of it are starting to be forgotten maybe I’d cloze recognize too:

Empathy: recognizes only those similar to us

Using this approach, you don’t make wasteful clozes and can make sure you’re clozing what actually matters rather than mass clozing (unless something is VERY high priority).

A lot of times, even without making clozes you’ll still remember the material fairly well. This also helps make sure you’re not making clozes when they aren’t needed at all. 

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