Last week, I explored some of the most effective ways to review "problem words." This week, I'm going to discuss more specifically the best way to identify those problem words before you review them. Clearly, review is important, but only if you review the right words.
The best way to identify problem words is to have someone quiz you on a full list of words, and based on the results from the quizzing, select "problem words" from that list. There are three main categories of problem words: missed, guessed, and struggled with. Below is an overview of each of these categories and how to select words for these categories.
Missed: Missed words are the most straightforward of the categories. If someone asks you to spell a word, and you spell it incorrectly, it would go on your review list. Never exclude a missed word from your problem words list, no matter what.
Guessed: A word where you throw in a random letter sequence without any kind of confidence whatsoever qualifies for this category. For example, if you were given the word "branchiferous" and weren't sure whether to use a ph or an f, and you happened to use an f , it would be a problem word because you just as easily could have used ph.
Struggled: This is slightly different than "guessed." A good example of a "struggled with" word in a bee is when I received sylvilagus in Round 4 of Nationals in 2016. I was confused at first, but was able to put it together using roots. By the time I spelled it, I was relatively confident, but I still had struggled with it, and had it been in a study setting, I would have added it to my list of problem words.
Also: these words should all be put into the same review list; the categorization is just a way of identifying types of words to look out for.
Overall, when you're identifying problem words, make sure to include all the words that you aren't confident you'll remember in the future. However, don't go overboard because that could result in valuable time used to review words that you already know. In this case, balance is key.