In this Overview of org-drill, what is the difference between "drill item", "drill topic", and "org topic"?

Here is a quote from the "Introduction" section:

Each topic is treated as a "flash card". The material to be remembered is presented to the student in random order. The student rates his or her recall of each item, and this information is used to schedule the item for later revision.

Here is a quote from the "Writing the questions" section:

Org-Drill uses org mode topics as 'drill items'. To be used as a drill item, the topic must have a tag that matches the value of org-drill-question-tag. This is :drill: by default.

Drill items can have other drill items as children. When a drill item is being tested, the contents of any child drill items will be hidden. You don't need to schedule the topics initially. Unscheduled items are considered to be 'new' and ready for memorisation. How should 'drill topics' be structured? Any org topic is a legal drill topic – it will simply be shown with all subheadings collapsed, so that only the material beneath the main item heading is visible. After pressing a key, any hidden subheadings will be revealed, and you will be asked to rate your "recall" of the item.

The page contains 16 occurrences of "drill item", 5 occurrences of "drill topic", and 2 occurrences of "org topic".

1 Answer 1


Disclaimer: I do not use org-drill so I could be wrong. Below is just what it seems apparent to me from reading the org-drill README.

It looks like the author is using drill topic and drill item for the same thing.. And he is referring to Org headings as org topics.

From the Simple topics section, we have this example:

* Item                                   :drill:
What is the capital city of Estonia?

** The Answer
  • * Item is an org topic (Org heading) and a drill topic/item too (because of the :drill: tag, default value of org-drill-question-tag).
  • ** The Answer is also org/drill heading/topic/item because it also has the :drill: tag -- by the virtue of org tag inheritance though.

Bottom Line

  • Any Level (headings with asterisk) Org heading with :drill: tag is recognized as a drill question.
  • Nested Org headings under that would be drill answers.

PS: Now you have two new terminologies :)

  • Drill question can be on any level.
    – wolfv
    Jun 10, 2017 at 2:03

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