Exams Around the Corner. Lots to Study. No Time.
This is the scenario for almost all students when exams are approaching. It is at this time that students look for methods to grasp vast portions quickly.
Many times, you may forget something or wrongly remember an incident. Sometimes your memory may fail you all together. To make matters worse, don’t these things just seem to happen right when your exams are nearing?
The timing is the worst. Just when exams are approaching your memory seems to be failing you. This is not a unique problem.
Many students go through the same issues. There may be many reasons you forget things. It could be the stress of exams or any other distraction.
Before we discuss the solutions to this problem, let’s look into the subject “MEMORY”.
What is memory? Memory is the process of Acquiring, Storing, and Retrieving information. The human brain is accustomed to these three actions.
However, the brain is not a flawless organ and many times you tend to forget things. Having said this, also note that your brain is such a powerful organ that you can train it to memorise things easily.
So, here we have listed out few memorising techniques for exams that can help students recall and remember easily.
Tips to Memorise
Learn Through Images and Visuals
As the saying goes “A picture speaks a thousand words,” it is evident that your brain comprehends pictures and images better than words.
Conceptualisation is better with colours, images, and diagrams. Plain text, paragraphs, and words are less comprehended.
So, it is advisable to learn a subject through images. It is one of the best memorising techniques for exams. Science also proves that visuals more than text, stick in long term memory.
An abstract from an interview with Dr. Lynell Burmark, a visual literacy proponent, states the importance of using images and how visuals and images have more power of being absorbed than texts without images.
To read the full interview refer here
Use Your Imagination to Learn
You can also use your imagination to help you grasp concepts better. Use mnemonics while studying.
Mnemonics can be any song or rhyme. It is useful to remember concepts that need to be in order.
For example, if you want to remember the list of planets in order from the Sun, you can make a small story to recall the starting alphabets of all the planet
“My Very Elegant Mother Just Served Us Nine Pies”
Where M stands for Mercury and V for Venus and so on.
These techniques make it interesting for you to recall mundane and dull information. Make up your own stories to remember long listings. Be imaginative and creative.
The English language has many similar-sounding words with different spellings. These are homophones.
Remembering the spellings of these similar-sounding words can be difficult. One of the effective tips to memorise these difficult spellings is to use innovative sentences to remember.
For example, to remember the spelling of the word ‘INDEPENDENCE’ uses an E and not an A, you can make up the sentence “Independence is not a dance”
Using acronyms to study can help you grasp concepts quickly. An acronym is an abbreviation of the initial letters of words. For example, NASA is the short form of National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Create Analogies While Studying
While studying you may come across a piece of information that sounds similar to something you have already studies or experience in your own life.
Connect the two. It makes it easier to remember the concept when you can draw an analogy to a live example.
For example, in science, you are learning about the transfer of heat. So, you know that if you leave your hot coffee too long it will get cold.
Through this live example, you now know that transfer of heat happens between bodies of substantially different temperatures. Viola! You have learned the concept without actually taking the trouble to study it.
Colour It Up
Using colour in your study material helps you to recall better.
According to a research review by Mariam Adawiah Dzulkhifi and Muhammad Faiz Mustafar, Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences, Colour is believed to be the most important visual experience to human beings.
It functions as a powerful information channel to the human cognitive system and has been found to play a significant role in enhancing memory performance.
Use highlighters and colours to bold certain important points with different colours to help retain the information.
Method of Loci
This method for easy recollection of data was said to devised by Simionides Ceos, a Greek Poet. An interesting fact was how he founded this method of recollection.
It is said that he discovered this method while trying to identify corpses in a building collapse by recalling how each of them was sitting just before the building came down.
The nomenclature of the method of loci comes from its association of data with location or loci.
You can use this method of Loci while recalling study material for exams. Try to remember concepts in the order they are written.
For example, if you want to remember the order of elements on a periodic table in chemistry you can imagine a huge Hydrogen bomb made up of many Lithium batteries and so on.
Ignite Your Senses
Using more than one of your 5 senses is an effective way of improving your memory power. Read aloud.
This way your sense of sight and sound are alert. Keeping your senses working helps to keep your brain vigilant and attentive.
One of the foremost rules of studying is to understand the concept before you memorise it. Understanding a concept makes it easier to memorise it.
Teach as You Learn
One of the tips to memorise is to explain to others what you have learned. It makes it easier to recall better.
Another popular tip for memorising is to create index cards or flashcards while studying. This helps you to recall matters easily.
Write the name of the heading on flashcards and pop them in front of you now and then. The flashcards serve as prompters for the information contained under the heading
Brain Food Diet
Science proves that some foods enhance the memory power of your brain. These are called brain foods.
They keep your mind alert and increase concentration. Some brain foods are:
- Fatty fish
- Nuts like cashews and almonds
For a more detailed list of brain foods and the scientific explanation for the same refer here.
Physical Exercise and Brain Exercises
Scientific research states that fitness improves memory. New UT Southwestern Medical Centre conducted experiments to show that exercise boosts blood flow into two key regions of the brain associated with memory.
The study also showed this blood flow can help even older people with memory issues.
Apart from a normal exercise regime, it is a good idea to follow a few brain exercise techniques to increase memory power. Some brain exercise could be as simple as solving a simple crossword or sudoku.
According to Dr. Sheri Coldberg Lecturer and exercise physiologist, in her blog, mentions that you can prevent memory loss with exercises and brain simple challenges.
To quote from the text, “…………frequently exercise your mind with challenging endeavors. Whether that means that you finally take that class to learn Italian, hit the crossword puzzles hard, enter a chess competition, practice memory exercises, burn up the dance floor during dance lessons, or do daily mental “gymnastics” of your choosing to challenge your brain, the positive effects will be the same.”
Last but not least, sleep. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? Well yes, science proves that sleep and memory are interrelated.
Sleep helps you to process new information. Research by the National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services revealed that sleep filters unwanted information and retain information that is needed.
For an in-depth study on the relation of sleep with memory refer here.
Although there are many tips to memorise mentioned here, you can employ one or many methods that suit your style of studying.
What is certain is that some of these tips are scientifically proven and will definitely help you to increase your memory power.
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