Memorization is a key component of studying. Whether you’re memorizing the quadratic formula or a history presentation on World War II, the techniques below have got you covered. Believe it or not, there are many things you can be doing while studying that will greatly aid in memory retention. From writing in multi-coloured pens to reading your notes aloud, if you follow these steps while studying, we can almost guarantee your memory will improve and you’ll have more stored in there on the day of the big test.
1. Take Notes By Hand
This is a good habit to get into generally, whether you’re taking notes in class or preparing for a test. However, if you can’t quite shake the laptop just yet, at least take notes by hand when you’re studying for a test. Writing (compared to typing) forces you to paraphrase what is being read or said which increases your conceptual understanding of a topic, in turning contributing to greater memory retention.
2. Read Notes Out Loud
After you’ve written out your notes, read them aloud rather than in your head. Not only are you more likely to stay focused when reading out loud, but studies show that speaking the words and hearing them aids memory retention as it gives your brain numerous ways of processing the information.
It’s a simple fact that the more something is repeated, the more it is embedded in your long-term memory. So when you’re studying, go at a slower pace, and after every couple of lines, repeat the previous sentences 1-2 times (either aloud or in your head).
4. Use Memory Triggers
It’s surprising how something so small can make such a difference when it comes to memorization. When committing something to memory, it is more likely to stick if you use any one (or all) of the following memory triggers:
- Flash Cards: Flash cards utilize some of the techniques described in this article - they are repetitive and force you to write out your notes by hand
- Colour Coded Writing: This can apply to your notes or even the flash cards listed above. Using different coloured pens to break up your notes into sections creates visual stimulation which is a great memory trigger.
- Mnemonic Devices: Creating a song, a rhyme, or an acronym out of important information will spark your memory and make you much more likely to remember information.
5. Write It Down From Memory
Finally, write everything you’ve learned down from memory (and try not to peek at your notes!). Not only is this a good practice-run for the upcoming test, but it will allow you to paraphrase the information you’ve been studying. When you can explain something using your own words, you know that not only have you memorized it, but you now understand it, and that is truly the best way to commit something to memory.