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Tips that can help you memorize in a better way

· Boarding School,exams,use of technology,learning,education

 

Memorising multiplethings thoroughly is considered to be one of the biggest challenges studentsface while studying. However, it is also one of the key things that help youstudy better especially for competitive exams like JEE and NEET. Peoplegenerally believe that some people are just blessed with a good memory and someare not. That’s not entirely true.Memorising is not just for people who areborn with a good memory. In fact anybody can train and improve their memorisingskills.   

A very common misconception about memorising is that theonly way to do it is through repetition. A lot of schools and colleges tend toinculcate the same idea. However, according to memory athletes repetition isneither the only way nor is it the correct way to memorise thoroughly. Theybelieve that recalling on the other hand is the step in the right direction. 

But how exactlydoes this process of memorisation work? This question has intriguedneuroscientists for centuries together. In short, this process ultimately boilsdown to three steps.These steps are encoding, storage and recall. 

 

1) Encoding : 

Encodingis the first step in the creation of memory. It is basically when you catchsight of a new piece of information and the human brain deliberately perceivesthe sound, imagery and other sensory details associated with that piece ofinformation. For example, let us consider your first music concert. The memoryof that event is built but the visual system (what you see for example thecrowd, stage and the band, etc.), the auditory system (what you hear forexample the music blaring from the speakers, cheers from the crowd) and maybethe smell there.   

2) Storage : 

Thepieces of information noticed by an individual are then stored in differentparts of the human brain. The neurons send signals among each other about theperception of the piece of information. This process then leads to creation ofmemory. The memory stored can either be temporary or long lasting memory.   

3) Recall : 

Retrievingthe memory is nothing but recall.In order to do so, the brain visits the nervepathways from when the memory was created. Recalling enables us to strengthenthese connections. For example, flash cards help in recalling theinformation.Recalling however necessitates paying attention and learning and everyindividual is a unique way of doing so. Hence, figuring out one’s learningstyle is an important step in memorisation. People can be auditory, visual orexperiential learners. Figuring this out will determine the appropriatememorisation technique for an individual.   

Students preparingfor JEE and NEET are required to process and retain a large amount ofinformation across disciplines. Hence it is crucial to devise memorisationtechniques for these students.These techniques will help them to cope with thepressure and perform well even under pressure.   

Following are thememorisation tips for studying that will help you memorise faster and better: 

 

1) Find the right setting  

It is veryimportant to pay close attention to which environment you choose to study in.For the majority of people, a quiet place with minimum distractions is a goodsetting to focus properly. On the contrary, some people thrive in settings thatare not exactly quiet and calm such as parks, cafes, etc. It is important to know what kind of asetting works for you.It is also crucial to ensure that the area you choose iswell lit and has enough ventilation. For example, studying in a basement islikely to impact your efficiency. Studies have shown that students tend to stay focused in structured environments like boarding schools. Here, the setting is void of any distractions and hence it is easier to stay disciplined. All the material is also generally easily accessible. This increases the chances of the student doing well exponentially. Shivneri School, a boarding school near Pune and Mumbai offers effective guidancefor students who are preparing for JEE and NEET by imbibing discipline and efficiency.  

2) Read to understand  

Information that isorganised and makes sense to you is more likely to be remembered by you.If it’sa complex concept, it can be broken down in multiple short sentences tocomprehend its meaning.Then each sentence can be read multiple times tounderstand the concept. If the concept is properly understood, it will beeasier to visualise it; which will ultimately make it easier to remember.Highlighting keywords will also help in understanding the information. 

3) Make notes  

Writing andrewriting information helps in making yourself more familiar with the concept thatis being considered.Visual learners especially benefit from writing downinformation as they will be able to see the information right in front of them.Writing tends to help an individual encode the information better as there is adirect connection between our brain and our hand. While making notes, the useof keywords can be done. These keywordscan be colour coded to help the brain visualise better. Apart from colour coding, mind maps and tables are also effective in aiding the process of memorisation.Sectioning the notes by colour coding or in other ways will help in breaking everything down and to start compartmentalising the information being retained by the brain.Writing by hand has proven to be more effective in terms of memorisation. This is because the physical act of writing stimulates the reticular activating system (RAS). When RAS is stimulated the brain focuses more on what is being done atthe moment. This helps the brain remember that information better. 

4) Connect the dots 

Linking theinformation that you are attempting to memorise to something that you alreadyknow makes it easier for the brain to memorise. Isolated information is moredifficult to remember than material that is connected to other concepts. Youcan make up a connection deliberately if one doesn’t exist already. Thisconvection will help the brain visualise the concept more easily as it isassociated with something that has already been retained by the brain.For example, the melting point of copper is 1085 degrees Celsius and the last four digits of your phone number happen to be the same. Linking these two things by imagining throwing the phone in a furnace would help you remember the melting point of copper. It’s an unusual link but it is likely to work. 

5) Rely on mnemonics  

Mnemonics areintended to assist memory. They are a system such as a particular pattern ofletters, words or ideas that will help in remembering that specific concept.Forexample, to remember the metric system, most of us learnt King Henry DiedMother Didn’t Cry Much in grade school . ( here the first letter of each wordstands for Kilo, Hecto, Deca, Meter, Deci, Centi, Milli , respectively) 

Following are a fewexamples for mnemonics:  

a) Acronyms:  

Similar to the metricsystem example mentioned above, My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nothingcan help you remember all the planets ( Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter,Saturn, Uranus and Neptune respectively). These are also known as expressionmnemonics. 

b) Rhyming Mnemonics 

When the end ofevery line rhymes, it makes a pattern that is like a song which is simpler toretain for the brain. A common rhyming mnemonic for elementary students to helpwith spelling confusion was “ I before E, except after C or when sounding likeA, liken in neighbour and weigh.” This makes chunks of information easier toremember especially for auditory learners if the rhymes are said out loudmultiple times. 

c) Music mnemonics  

Music can be a veryhelpful tool as it gives the information a particular structure and alsorequires repetition. It’s easier to remember a catchy song than it is toremember a bunch of words or letters . This is also why brands make use ofjingles in their advertisements. Children generally learn the alphabet by singingthe ABC song and it is highly unlikely to be forgotten as it’s catchy song plushas been repeated so many times. 

6) Explain it to someone  

Research has shownthat explaining a concept to someone is a great way to remember that piece ofinformation as it makes you retrieve that information from your own memory.This also makes you repeat the information. Additionally, when you attempt toexplain it to someone you tend to use simpler words and phrases to make themunderstand which in turn stores the information in simpler terms in your ownbrain making it simpler to remember that. Explaining the concept also makes you visualise which also aids the memory process. 

7) Employ distributive practice 

It is important fortwo things to happen for a concept to travel from temporary memory to long termmemory in your brain. These two things are the concept has to be worthremembering as in memorable and it has to be repeated. Using religion toengrave information in your memory helps. Repetition techniques can be in theform of flash cards. Spacing out the studying and repetition over multiple dayswill help. Gradually, you should start to increase the time in between each study session. This will help with recall and enable us to lock the concepts into place. 

8) Keep your brain on its toes  

You should mix oralternate skills or concepts that you wish to memorise. In simple terms, youcan spend some time memorising something related to verbal reasoning and thenimmediately switch to physics concepts and then to quantitative skills and thengo back to verbal reasoning. This method seems hectic and confusing, but itkeeps your brain active and is better than spending a lot of time on the same concept whichbecomes monotonous for the brain. This method is also called interleaving. 

9) Test yourself  

Questioningyourself will make your brain actively recall the information. Simply readingthe text will not help in retaining the information. Students sometimes tend tobelieve that they remember information just because it seems familiar when theyare reading it again. Instead of this, asking yourself questions will make yourbrain retrieve the information repeatedly and make it easier to remember it.This will also enable you to know where you need to put in more work and increase your efficiency. 

10) Let your brain rest  

Last but not theleast , let your brain take a break. Let it breathe. Spend some time notthinking about what you memorised and revisit it after a while. You will get toknow what has actually been retained by your brain. This will help you knowwhat you’re struggling with. Also a tired brain or more likely to make errorsthat can be avoided otherwise. 

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