One of the biggest fears every student has as they enter the exam hall is that their mind will go blank and they will suddenly forget every last thing they know.
It’s the stuff of nightmares, but fortunately, it’s highly unlikely to happen. First of all, you’d be amazed what facts start to come flooding back to you once you pick up a pen and start answering a question. Second of all, there are lots of memory tricks you can use that will help you recall information in a more formal and structured way. Here at PIKAPOST.com , we’re going to show you just how much you can do to commit facts and figures to memory ready to recall them in exams, and we hope that as well as boosting your confidence, this should also ward off those nasty pre-exam nightmares!
So here are 6 awesome memorising techniques :-
1. Get organised
Before we even get started on memory tricks, there’s something fundamental we need to begin with. If there’s one enemy of a good memory, it’s disorganisation. A cluttered working space with unfiled notes here, there and everywhere; a notepad filled with scrawl on numerous different subjects with no particular order; a poor computer filing system. All these spell disaster for your ability to recall facts in the exam room. So, start by getting yourself organised. Tidy your room, or whichever space you’re using for studying. Get your notes organised neatly into different subjects. Physically decluttering and bringing about order in your environment has the strange effect of doing the same to the mind , making you far better able to cope with memorising and recalling facts.
Putting information into a rhyme is another way of making it easier to remember. An example is the rhyme that helps people remember how many days there are in each month.
This may prove a more effective way of memorising bigger chunks of information than the mnemonic examples we gave above. Your rhyme could be a little more modern-sounding to help you remember it, or you could use some tried and tested rhyming schemes such as rhyming couplets to help cement facts in your brain. Here’s a truly terrible example I just made up to help you memorise the order of the planets:
Close to the Sun, hottest and between us
Are the burning fireballs of Mercury and Venus.
Next come homely Earth then Mars, then gas giants Jupiter and Saturn –
Are you starting to see a planetary pattern?
Icy Uranus and Neptune follow, and, bringing up the rear,
Humble Pluto – no longer a planet – sheds a tear.
As you can see from my embarrassing attempt, you don’t have to be an accomplished poet to do it!
3.Making the most of a photographic memory
If you’re lucky enough to possess a photographic memory, you can make the most of it by combining images with text to reinforce what you’ve learned. This makes it easier to recall the information, because all you have to do is bring to mind the image and you should be able to recall the information. Even if you don’t have a photographic memory, you can apply the same principle. Arrange your notes in a pictorial fashion, such as in a spider diagram (where you have the concept in the middle and arrows pointing out of it to different pieces of information). Then, when you need to recall a particular piece of information, the idea is that you remember whereabouts it was on the page and that jolts your memory of what it was about.
4.Setting facts and figures to music
An extension of the rhyming idea is setting your notes to music. I don’t know about you, but I find it much easier to remember the lyrics to my favourite songs than I do to recall dry information such as the names and dates of the English monarchs or Roman emperors. If you’re struggling to commit a chain of information to memory, try putting a tune to it. Even a rap will do! Then all you need to do is remember the tune and the words should come flooding back. To make it easier to recall, you could try using a tune you already know – perhaps even a children’s nursery rhyme, if you can bear to associate a childhood favourite with your present exams! As long as you’re guaranteed to remember it, though, anything goes.
5.Break down & Make up a story
To help your brain absorb bigger chunks of information, another trick you could try is to break the information down and make up a story linking together each piece of information. It’s a little like the memory palace idea we discussed earlier in this article, but it plays with the imagination to a greater extent because the story you make up doesn’t have to be spatially limited in your mind. For example, if you need to memorise a complicated chemical formula, you could name the molecules with human names beginning with the same letter (Carol = Chlorine, for example) and make up a little story in which the actions of the characters mirror those of the molecules in the formula. This can be a remarkably effective method of learning trickier, drier information, as it helps to bring it to life a bit and gives it a more human touch that makes it easier to relate to.
6.Get a good night’s sleep
It may not sound like it, but one of the best things you can do to help you remember things is to get a good night’s sleep – not just the night before the exam, but every night. We’re not just saying that because getting the right amount of sleep will help you perform better, retain mental agility and ward off stress and tiredness. We’re saying it because it’s when you’re sleeping that your brain performs the vital task of converting facts from short-term memory into long-term memory. During the course of a good night’s sleep, your brain processes the information you’ve learnt during the day and stores it, meaning that you’re far more likely to be able to recall it than if you barely slept. So, get the recommended eight hours’ sleep each and every night. Sleep may feel like a luxury you can’t afford right now, but believe us, it’s one of the most important things you can do for exam success!