Studying another person’s spaced repetition memory prompts is usually ineffective

Once one understands that Spaced repetition memory systems make memory a choice and that Learning increasingly complex ideas may amount to forming larger effective chunk sizes, it’s awfully tempting to gobble up new knowledge by downloading others’ decks of Spaced repetition memory system prompts. But assuming you’ve never studied it before, you’re much better off reading a textbook chapter on cell biology than you would be memorizing someone else’s deck.

This is a specific claim about a more general phenomenon; see Spaced repetition memory prompts alone are a poor communications medium for more. It also happens that most downloadable SRS decks are badly made: Writing good spaced repetition memory prompts is hard.

See also: the Mnemonic medium, which tries to solve this problem.

Related: Writing one’s own spaced repetition prompts seems to promote understanding