What are the most important attributes of good spaced repetition memory prompts?

This note collects ideas about how to encode knowledge into Spaced repetition memory system prompts, both to support memory of facts but also to foster richer understanding (Spaced repetition memory systems can be used to develop conceptual understanding).

See How to write good prompts (2020) for a published manuscript on this topic.

A work in progress:

“Covering” material:

Meta / mental models:

Related: The “reflected essay” metaphor for the goal for the mnemonic medium


Matuschak, A. (2020). How to write good prompts: using spaced repetition to create understanding. https://andymatuschak.org/prompts

See section Improving the mnemonic medium: making better cards in How can we develop transformative tools for thought? and Nielsen (2018, 2019).

Nielsen, M. (2018). Augmenting Long-term Memory. http://augmentingcognition.com/ltm.html

Nielsen, M. (2019, January). Using spaced repetition systems to see through a piece of mathematics. http://cognitivemedium.com/srs-mathematics

Wozniak, P. (1999, February). Effective learning: Twenty rules of formulating knowledge. https://www.supermemo.com/en/archives1990-2015/articles/20rules