One of the biggest concerns when it comes to exams and the preparation related to them is how to memorize faster. The premise behind this concern is quite deducible - students, teachers, and parents all want the students to be able to memorize more and apply it during their exams. The better a student is able to memorize something and retrieve it accurately so that it can be reproduced in the same context as intended, the better their overall score will be. So, parents and teachers are as interested in how to memorize faster for exams as students are. Here is a guide on how to memorize faster for exams and practical ways in which they can achieve it.
The fundamental premise behind all memorization techniques is repetition. The main reason why repetition is so important in memorization is the way in which our brain is wired - it is embedded deep within our biology. The neurons of our brain can be considered analogous to muscles - while some muscles operate involuntarily such as the heart muscles and diaphragm, some other muscles require exercise to keep them in shape. The learning process can be considered as a sort of brain exercise - every time a piece of new information is fed into the brain, a new neuron is programmed with that particular piece of information. However, in order for that information to get stored in long-term memory, there needs to be constant “exercise” of that neuron, meaning that the more that neuron is used, the more likely it is to be recalled and hence get stored in long-term memory.
Even though all the other tips in this list ultimately fall back to the previous point of repetition, the reasoning and epistemological method used to arrive at that conclusion are different. The best example of this is the act of note-taking. On the surface, it may seem like a tedious task to write down the notes while they are being dictated by the instructor or teacher. However, there is a lot more at play here:
- The student will have to give their entire undivided attention to the teacher, which means that by taking down notes in class, the students are actually improving their concentration. Concentration is not only important in the immediate premise of the classroom but also later on in life. Therefore, having an early hands-on education in the same can be vital to the role it plays in the students’ life.
- The notes need to be comprehensible later on after the class is done, so the students need to be mindful of their handwriting which they can improve over time
- The act of note-taking also improves the students’ critical thinking abilities because they have to identify the important points in what the teacher is saying and distill from it the most important point and note it down.
Using Mnemonic Devices
A mechanism that is commonly used when it comes to the question of how to memorize faster for exams is mnemonic devices. Mnemonic devices are memory-enhancing tools that help people remember something by means of verbal cues that would otherwise require the students to memorize and recollect a verbose statement or sequence of words and statements. Mnemonics become important when it comes to competitive exams and the role they play in recollecting some very important pieces of information at the last minute. Some of the most common mnemonic devices that students use in classrooms are as follows:
BB ROY Of Great Britain has a Very Good Wife Who Wears Gold and Silver Necklaces
This is a very famous mnemonic that is used in physics when students are supposed to memorize the electronic color codes for resistors. The first words of each main word stand for:
- Black (10 raised to the power 0)
- Brown (10 raised to the power 1)
- Red (10 raised to the power 2)
- Orange (10 raised to the power 3)
- Yellow (10 raised to the power 4)
- Green (10 raised to the power 5)
- Blue (10 raised to the power 6)
- Violet (10 raised to the power 7)
- Grey (10 raised to the power 8)
- White (10 raised to the power 9)
- Gold (Tolerance permissible - 5%)
- Silver (Tolerance Permissible - 10%)
- None (Tolerance Permissible - 20%)
STEM & STEAM
These are mnemonic devices used to remember the main branches of science, namely:
However, over the past few decades, the juxta positioning of interdisciplinary sciences with the artistic fields has led to the innocuous integration of art (A) to the STEM moniker, hence making the acronym STEAM.
Suggested Read - Why STEM is Becoming STEAM & Why it’s The Need of the Hour
My Dear Cat Loves Xtra Vitamins Intensely
This is another mnemonic that is used to remember roman numerals, specifically in descending order of Indo-Arabic numerical value.
- M - 1000
- D - 500
- C - 100
- L - 50
- X - 10
- V - 5
- I - 1
I Before E, Except After C
This is used in English classes to teach spelling to students. Often when learning the spelling of certain words that have an I and an E in them, children are often confused about where each of them goes. This mnemonic can help students remember which words have which letter where in the case of specifically those words instead of remembering all the words that have the letters I and E in them.
Achieve, believe, and aggrieve are spelled with I before E, while receive, perceive, and conceive are spelled with E before I.
BODMAS is an acronym used as a mnemonic in mathematics for helping students remember the order of mathematical operations:
- B - Brackets
- O - Order or exponential
- D - Division
- M - Multiplication
- A - Addition
- S - Subtraction
Using Songs & Jingles
This can be seen as an extension of the previous point of mnemonics but is unique enough to warrant a separate point. When a student uses a song or a jingle that they composed specifically for the purpose of memorizing something, what they are essentially doing is using their own devices and playing to their strengths in regards to comprehending and implementing that concept in their study schedule and routine. This not only improves the overall confidence of the student in their own skills but also serves as a methodological novelty to their otherwise monotonous study routine. It can add a little creative spice that can really kick things up a notch if they so desired.
Take Strategic Breaks
Taking breaks in between study sessions can have a deeply profound impact when it comes to the question of how to memorize faster for exams. Strategic breaks are those that are planned out by the student by using a timetable prior to the act of sitting down and studying. These breaks can provide a sort of relief to the students when studying, especially when studying for exams that are close to the prescribed date.
This is also useful for another reason. There is research from the Microsoft Corporation that states that there has been a drastic reduction in the attention span of people over the past decade, lowering it to less than that of a goldfish. The implications of this can be quite serious for students because it means that students will have to put in greater effort to concentrate which can lead to all sorts of learning disorders and anxiety related to it. This can be countered with the ample use of strategic breaks in between study sessions. The length of the breaks and the study sessions should be such that there is not much room for slacking while also allowing enough room for rest and recreation.
Be Physically & Mentally Sound
This is especially true when it comes to the weeks preceding major exams. There are a lot of competitive exams that students are ambitious to crack and as a result, they stress themselves to the point where they start compromising on their mental and physical health to achieve their goal of having more time to study. However, this is quite counterproductive as negligence of mental and physical health can lead to health conditions that can have a detrimental impact on their concentration and memorization ability. Therefore, it is extremely important to eat healthy food (preferably organic or home-cooked food) prior to exams so that there are no obstacles when it comes to studying as a routine.
Make Use of Combined Study Sessions
There is no monolithic practice that can be followed in the course of studying that will invariably lead to better results. The method in which each individual studies depends on the method that they implement and the way in which they use this method. However, a combined study session with the right crowd can help students combine their learning methods in a constructive way to improve their overall performance. When it comes to answering the question of how to memorize faster for exams, combined study sessions are right up there as one of the most fundamental ways of doing so.
As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. One of the easiest and most effective ways how to memorize faster for exams is the repetitive retrieval of what has been learned via mock tests. Mock tests are an excellent way of using the format of the exam to learn and, better yet, revise for exams. Revision is another fancy word for repetition, and it is provably unfalsifiable in its claim that it can help students learn better and faster in its own way.
Suggested Read - Why Mock Tests are Important for Competitive Exams
Different students have different learning styles and methods, and these differences are what make each individual student’s learning experience unique. However, it has been found that using different learning styles at the same time can invoke a type of memorization that is much faster and more efficient than just their preferred learning style alone. This discovery has led to the realization that the VARK learning model can be enhanced quite significantly with the help of such multisensory learning techniques as using the audiovisual medium, sight words, and digital content in general among others.
Use Diagrams for Easy Memorization
This can again be seen as an extension of the previous point, but using diagrams is much more than just a multisensory learning approach. Practicing drawing diagrams that aid in the explanation of a concept better can not only help in visualizing it while learning the particular concept but also gives the exam evaluator an idea about how deep the student’s knowledge is of that subject. This is why a lot of teachers emphasize drawing a small diagram along with the answers that students give in an exam as an effective way of scoring more marks.
The list of 10 given here is not a conclusive one, but rather a starting point to trampoline off of. Students and teachers are free to come up with their own methods on how to memorize faster, either by combining these given points or spawning new ones of their own volition - the ultimate aim is to aid the learner in memorizing more in less time.