Taking a Look Under the Hood at Firecracker’s Algorithm

Posted by Elliott Bartsch on Oct 26, 2015 12:21:04 PM
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Firecracker’s daily recommendations are designed to keep you on top of what you’ve learned by preventing you from forgetting anything.

Our algorithm calculates the risk that you’ll forget the answers to the questions in the topics you’ve marked. We use this to create your “stack”, or a list of questions sorted by your risk of forgetting the answer.

When generating your daily assignments, our algorithm pulls your highest risk of forgetting questions from the topics you marked as Urgent, Current, or Past. The algorithm will push you to stay on top of everything you’ve learned while still prioritizing Urgent questions over Current questions and Current questions over Past questions.

Let’s take a look at an example of what the stack looks like for a sample user:

This is an M1 user who has only marked topics as Current:

We can see that overall, this user is staying on top of what she needs to review. Now let’s highlight the questions on her assignment:


As we can see, the questions assigned to this user are her highest risk of forgetting questions. Upon review, each question will get pushed to a lower risk of forgetting depending on the given review score. Our algorithm will push you to keep all your questions below 0.5 risk of forgetting while still keeping your assignments manageable.

Users who have fallen behind will see more questions in the “High Risk” area than users who review often and score well.

We shuffle questions from newly marked topics into a risk of forgetting between 0.7 and 1.0. This ensures that you see the new questions right away if you are on top of your other material, otherwise you will see the new questions mixed in with questions from other topics that you’re at a high risk of forgetting.

We hope this gives you insight into how our algorithm chooses the questions for you to review!

-Elliott
Data Scientist, Firecracker

Topics: Spaced Learning, Firecracker algorithm

Welcome to Firecracker

Firecracker is an adaptive learning platform that uses amazing content coupled with spaced repetition to help medical students crush their exams. We offer programs for both individual students, and entire medical schools. If you'd like to learn more contact us at chat@firecracker.me.

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