As students get closer to finals season it becomes important that all the information learned in hours spent doing homework and 8:30 a.m. lectures is retrievable on exam day. But the problem is most of us have difficulty storing and retrieving the information from our long-term memory. So how do you solve this problem? How can you improve your studying habits?
Here are some tips to strengthen your memory and improve your studying habits.
1. Summerize studying material and ask questions
After reading a paragraph summarize the information you receive from it and ask a question. Reading about a topic you may know nothing about is difficult. So in order to retain the information, after reading a paragraph repeat it out loud or write a summary of the information received. This will let you know if what you read was stored in your memory properly.
To take it a step further, a useful tip would be to ask a question about the paragraph. Asking a question will help you really dig into the topic and become interested in what you’re learning. If you enjoy what you are learning it will become easier to remember it.
2. Make associations with new information and what you know
The more connections you make with the information, the better your memory will retain it. So while studying try making mental connections. Also, mnemonics have been proven to help you store and retrieve information.
For example, link any of the new things you are learning back to things you have learned before. Is there a connection? Can you see any similarities?
3. Chunk and organize the information
The reason why we are able to remember phone numbers is that it’s divided into three digits by dashes. If you look at the information you’re studying the same way, we’ll be able to remember it too. Take your readings and notes and divide them into chunks or small amounts of information and memorize it organization goes along with chunking information. Our minds like organized information. That’s why outlines are typically recommended for writing and studying.
Organize information into groups or subtopics. Your mind will most likely remember the information if it’s placed in an organized pattern.
4. Don’t study last minute
Seriously this is the most important one for don’t study last-minute to cram serving the night before the test is not the best idea. You need to spend some time with the material and test yourself on the knowledge. You cannot expect to remember heaps of information the night before the exam. This goes along with chunking. In regards to that information is better retained in smaller groups. So you should spend a few days before the exam studying the groups of information.
5. Chew gum while studying and during the exam
Chewing gum is like lifehack of all tests and exams. To put it simply, all you do is pick a distinct flavour of gum and chew it while you’re studying for your exam. Then, when taking the exam, you want to be chewing the same flavour of gum. This will help you remember things better because your brain has associated all the material that you were trying to memorize, with the flavour of the gum.
So by chewing it during the exam, your brain is able to use the flavour of gum and the association made with your material, to help you revive information better.
Bottom line you should follow the above steps a few days before your exam. Or preferably even weeks to make sure all the information is bound to your brain and will go nowhere. Want more tips on how to effortlessly become a straight A student? Have a read of our article on 11 ways to study smarter not harder!