This page presents some techniques to help improve your memory to study for exams.
Most ot the information we are exposed to only makes it to our short-term memory. After few seconds, we forget about it. Some information, however, gets recorded into our long-term memory.
Think of it, what do you remember best? What does the trick for you?
It's generally something special, meaningful, shocking, funny, sad, that has a strong impact on our senses (graphic; delicious; particularly scented; melodic), that connects with something we already hold in our long-term memory, that we come across more than once...
To remember for your exams you can try similar strategies:
Try remembering this list:
Now try remembering this list:
Do you find the second list easier to remember? It's because the second list is "chunked"!
Chunking is a useful technique of dividing information up into manageable chunks to remember. For example, if you are trying to remember a list of items or words, you could start by putting them into smaller groups of words that may be related to each other or share similarities, which will then make it easier for you to remember. An everyday life example may be a shopping list, which you might break down into smaller groups based on the categories of vegetables, fruits, frozen food, tins and so on.
Your sense of sight: according to the "picture-superiority effect", images are better remembered than words. So try stimulating your visual memory by:
Drawing by Amy Stubbing
Your sense of sound: Isn't it sometimes easier to remember a conversation than something we have read? Isn't it generally easier to remember the words of a song than the words of a poem? This is the power of sound and music, and you can master it to remember. For example:
Your sense of smell: Have you ever found that smell can trigger a memory? The same principle applies here! Try dabbing your wrist or a tissue with a particular perfume, lotion, relaxing oil, or lavender each time you revise material for a particular exam (using a different smell for each exam), and then when you're sitting the exam put on the same perfume etc and see if this helps to trigger your memory, or at least help you to get into the exam head space. In theory, it can help transport you back to when you were learning the information and help trigger your recall.
Use a combination of senses: we remember much better what we hear AND see!!!
The concept of mnemonics involves the translating of information into alternative forms that enable you to remember the information in an easier way. Thus, mnemonics are memory aids or systems that improve and assist memory. Follow some key techniques that may be useful forms of mnemonics for you to incorporate into your revision strategies. Be imaginative: the best mnemonics are be funny, noticeable, bizarre!
Acrostics are helpful when trying to learn information that is grouped together. An acrostic may be a poem, or a sentence in which the first letter of each word is part of or represents the initial of what you want to remember. For example:
“Every good boy does fine" may be used to memorize the lines of the treble clef, representing the notes E, G, B, D, and F. .
Making a rhyme with the information you need to learn can sometimes make it easier to remember. The rhyme that many are taught from a young age to remember how many days there are in each month is a great example of how rhymes can be effective memory aids:
Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November,
All the rest have thirty-one,
But February's twenty-eight,
The LEAP YEAR, which comes once in four,
Gives February one day more.
You could try using rhyming couplets, or creating a rap or a funny story. Whatever you do, make sure that the rhyme is easy to remember!
An acronym is a word that is made up by taking the first letters of all the key words or ideas you need to remember and creating a new word out of them.
–The word “HOMES” to remember the names of the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior.
– CRAAP test for assessing the literature: Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, Purpose
Memory is not a finite resource, and with techniques like repetition, association, and visualization, you can improve your memory before it starts to fade. This course shows viewers of all ages how to improve their recall. It explains how and when to employ tricks such as mnemonic devices, rhymes, stories, and alliteration. And it explains the best methods for different situations, like remembering names, important dates, passwords, to-do lists, quotes, and more. These techniques will prove invaluable, whether you're memorizing facts for a test at school, points for a work presentation, or trivia to impress your friends.
Fernandes, M. A., Wammes, J. D., & Meade, M. E. (2018). The Surprisingly Powerful Influence of Drawing on Memory. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 27(5), 302–308. Available from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0963721418755385 [Accessed 2 December 2019]