No one wants to sit in an exam and have their mind go blank. However, this can easily happen if you don’t prepare in the right way. There is more to exam revision than trying to cram your head with everything you know. You also need to train your brain to remember the information in the right way.
A memory palace might sound very grand. Infact it’s actually a very simple method for retaining information. All it means is visualising a familiar place, such as your home, and imagining a particular route through your home, taking in key features. You then place topics or information you want to remember at these key points in the house, which leads to associated memory. The last step is to practice mentally walking this route through your home until you have retained the information.
Mnemonics is a learning technique specifically designed to aid memory. The word mnemonic derives from the ancient Greek word mnēmonikos, which means “of memory.” There are many different types of mnemonic strategies. One of the most common is the use of word mnemonics, which involves using the first letter of each word to form a phrase or sentence. An example of this is “never eat shredded wheat,” which many people use to remember the four compass points – north, east, south, west.
Another useful technique for aiding memory is using diagrams. This which works particularly well for people who are visual learners. A mind map, which allows you to capture the most relevant information through a series of links branching out from a central theme, is a type of diagram that is very effective. This tool is very useful for making associations between key topics and also allows you to use key points rather than having to read through lots of notes.
Flashcards display key pieces of information, such as words or numbers. They trigger what is known as the active recall part of your brain by making you review your knowledge through these visual prompts. By looking at a fact on a flashcard, you are activating the part of your brain that makes a connection between the key bits of information. This technique is very useful for repetitive learning associated with detail-rich subjects.
What was the fifth one again, oh that’s right …
This technique of helping memory involves using specific smells to trigger different types of memory. The principle comes from cognitive psychology. Scientists established that odours could evoke specific memories from the past. You can apply the same principle when it comes to revision. For example, if you wear a specific perfume while studying and then replicate this when you attend your exam. It may boost your ability to recall the information you were reading at the time.
These tips will be very useful if you are studying Oxbridge Home Learning’s distance courses. However, do also check with your personal tutor regarding other memory strategies they may be able to suggest.