Basic hints and tips for users of SuperMemo with Polish PWN Encyclopedia

If you are using SuperMemo with PWN Encyclopedia on CD-ROM, please skim the following paragraphs to become acquainted with the most essential actions in creating and memorizing a simple database based on the Encyclopedia’s material:


* If you find an interesting entry in the Encyclopedia and you would like to remember some of the facts included in it, move the contents of the entry into your customized database in SuperMemo by choosing one of the options from Edycja : Do SuperMemo menu:

1. Do pytania allows you to add the entry into the question part of the newly created item that will be added to a SuperMemo database. Before transferring the text, the Encyclopedia will ask you to select the part of the entry you would like to transfer. After that, you should choose the button Przenies. SuperMemo will move the selected text to the question part of the newly created item; however, before that happens, you are still given time to reedit your item and to add the answer part. To learn the principles of effectively formulating questions and answers see SuperMemo decalog. The most important thing to remember is to keep items as simple as possible and not to make then ambiguous. NB: SuperMemo will not allow of questions or answers longer than 250 characters. That shall limit your chances of getting over the top!

2. Do odpowiedzi is analogous to Do pytania, but the text of the entry (or the selection) will be transferred to the answer part of the item.

3. Do obu adds the text of the entry to both the question and the answers. Although you might think that this option is quite awkward (who needs the same texts in both the question and the answer), you may soon find it the most useful option of all. For example, if your selected text reads Ludwik Lazar Zamenhof first presented Esperanto in 1887 you might want to add the following item to your database: Question: Who first presented Esperanto in 1887?, Answer: Ludwik Zamenhof. As you can see, by removing unnecessary texts, the original sentence was useful in editing both the question and the answer.

4. Haslo do pytania may be useful in cases when the only thing you want to remember is the meaning of the entry in the Encyclopedia. In this case, the entry heading will form the question, and the entry contents will form the answer (it is recommended that in the answer you only keep that part of the entry that is most crucial to understanding its meaning). During repetitions (see later), you will grade yourself upon being able to recognize the entry and its semantics. Press Ctrl+Q to quickly execute this option.

5. Haslo do odpowiedzi is analogous to Haslo do pytania. The only difference is that your question is now made of the definition of the entry’s headword(s) and the answer is the headword itself. In other words, you will grade yourself upon being able to correctly recall the name of the entry defined in the question. Press Ctrl+A to quickly execute this option.

* Each time you add a new entry to SuperMemo, pressing Add completes the transfer of the item and reactivates the Encyclopedia. However, SuperMemo remains in memory and makes adding subsequent items much faster. To switch back and forth between the Encyclopedia and SuperMemo use Alt+Tab. Note that SuperMemo remains in memory even after the Encyclopedia is terminated.

* Do you know that SuperMemo is a technology that makes it possible to greatly increase the speed of learning? If not, see General principles of SuperMemo. SuperMemo uses the SuperMemo method.

* Note: except for Edycja : Do SuperMemo : Nauka considered in the next point, all the options and shortcuts presented below refer to SuperMemo, and you have to switch to SuperMemo to be able to use them (you can switch to SuperMemo by using Alt+Tab).

* When you want to learn the material you have introduced to your SuperMemo database, choose the option Edycja : Do SuperMemo : Nauka, which allows you to launch SuperMemo and start repetitions with the material you have introduced to your database. During repetitions repeat the following steps: (1) choose Pokaz odpowiedz to view the answer, (2) choose the grade to determine how well your remembered the answer to the question, and (3) choose Nastepna powtorka. To find out more, read about the linear learning mode in Learning with SuperMemo. The most important thing to remember here is: if you want to remember everything you have added to your database, you should use the option Nauka possibly everyday! You should continue repetitions until you see the message Nie ma wiecej.

Useful tips

* Note that the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+L can be used both in the Encyclopedia and in SuperMemo to start learning new material or repeating material that has already been memorized. It is equivalent to Edycja : Do SuperMemo : Nauka in the Encyclopedia, and to choosing the button Learn at the bottom of the element window in SuperMemo.

* To run the Encyclopedia, you need to insert the Encyclopedia CD-ROM into your CD-ROM drive. If you want to run SuperMemo without launching the Encyclopedia, place a SuperMemo icon in one of your Program Manager groups (File : New : Program Item in Windows 3.11) or create a SuperMemo shortcut (New : Shortcut on the desktop’s pop-up menu in Windows 95). After creating a SuperMemo icon, double click it, and choose Ctrl+L to start learning. This will make it possible to make your daily repetitions without inserting the Encyclopedia’s CD-ROM.

* If you want to learn more about SuperMemo, use the SuperMemo help file. To open help choose F1 or F2 in SuperMemo. Those two keys are used to access help in Polish or in English. If you find some clues unclear in Polish help, you might try to look them up in English help and vice versa (those two help files have been developed to a large degree independently)

* If you want to add new items to SuperMemo from sources other than the Encyclopedia, press Ctrl+A and type in the question and the answer (Esc can be used to switch from the question to the answer, and then to close the item editing areas).

Advanced tips

* You can delete items from SuperMemo by pressing Del (in case you added a Spell-Pad component to the item, or in case some of the components are in the editing mode, you will have to press Shift+Ctrl+Del because Del will be used is used in editing). Del works both in the Contents window and in the element window.

* To reedit once added items, choose E to put the question and the answer in the editing mode. Additionally you can use the keys Q and A to respectively edit only the question or only the answer. Press Esc when you are done with editing.

* If you want to create items containing images, sound, video, etc. see Creating knowledge systems and then Components available. To link multimedia files stored in the Encyclopedia’s DATA directory, choose Ctrl+E in the active component. For example, to link a video of Pope John Paul II do the following: (1) create a video component (see Components available), (2) choose Ctrl+E (remember that the video component has to be active, i.e. marked with a dark border; otherwise you might open a dialog linking files to other components), (3) select PAPIEZ.AVI in the Encyclopedia’s DATA directory (e.g. D:\DATA\PAPIEZ.AVI if your CD-ROM is D:). You will see the Pope in the video component window. Click the play button to get the message.

* During repetitions, you can always choose Ctrl+R to reset (i.e. postpone) currently displayed item. This will shift the item to the end of the queue of items that have not yet been memorized. Use Ctrl+R in the following circumstances: (1) when learning new material, if you do not yet want to memorize the item in question, and (2) during repetitions, if you decide that a troublesome item might be rememorized only after memorizing all other items that have not yet entered the learning process

* During repetitions, you can choose Ctrl+M to recommit (i.e. memorize anew) an item. This is recommended if you reedited the item’s contents in a semantically significant way.

Using SuperMemo authoring

* If you are not a beginner to authoring software, you might wish to try out SuperMemo in its authoring mode that provides a number of advanced options such as creating new systems, using item filters, translating SuperMemo interface to other languages, analyzing the learning process, rescheduling outstanding repetitions, reviewing items at random, and more. Be warned, however, that the interface language of SuperMemo authoring tool is English, and some of the options might badly affect your learning process if used in a misguided way. To turn on SuperMemo authoring choose Ctrl+Alt+F12. To turn it off, choose Ctrl+Alt+F12 again.

* For details on using the SuperMemo authoring tool see the manual in \SUPRMEMO\OPIS directory (you can read the manual with WordPad for Windows 95 or Word for Windows version 6 or later)

* In your Windows directory, you will find the file ENCY32.INI. You might use the entry SuperMemoDirectory in the section [Directories] to modify the SuperMemo directory or entry KNO_Name in the section [SuperMemo] to modify the default name of the database used by SuperMemo when called from the Encyclopedia