A huge part of the learning process is being able to remember all the things you have been taught throughout your course. While studying for your exams and final assessments is obviously important, you want to be able to retain the information you have learned well past the end of your classes, so you can use and apply this knowledge going forward.
While cramming for your exams last minute may seem tempting, it's not an effective way to learn, and you won't retain the information for a long period of time. It's important to build up your knowledge as you go along, to make sure you remember as much as possible.
A great way to make sure you are learning as much as possible is to look at how you can improve your memory while you study. We take a look at some different techniques to you can use to improve your memory so you can make the most out of your studying.
Shout it Out
If you have a lot of reading to do in your course, it might seem quite overwhelming, and it can be easy to get distracted. Not only that, but you might find yourself reading the same sentence a few times over before you feel you have really absorbed the meaning of it. Finishing the chapter may be the main goal of your reading session, but if you come away not being able to remember anything you've just read, then you've just wasted a huge chunk of your time.
A great way to help you remember more when you're reading is to read out loud. Reading the words out loud instead of just reading them to yourself means you create a more distinct memory of the information, which should mean you are able to recall the facts easier later on. Not only that, but reading out loud means you won't lose your focus and suddenly realise you've not been reading at all, but just starting at the book! The act of reading the information and then translating that into speech will make it easier to concentrate on the text, and reading out loud will slow your pace a little anyway, while should give you time to really focus on what you are reading.
Finally, reading out loud can actually help you understand points raised in the text better. Even if you are reading silently to yourself, sometimes when a sentence or paragraph doesn't make much sense after a couple of readings, you'll read it aloud anyway to try and understand it better. Reading out loud the entire time should help you to process information easier, and make sense of it for future reference.
Flashcards are a great way to improve your memory and study at the same time, and they are very easy to make and add to later if you need to. Flashcards are basically a set of small cards (you can use address index cards or buy special flashcard making sets) which have one word or idea on one side, with a more in-depth explanation on the other. This could be things like a word on one side, with the definition on the other, or a date on one side, with a historical events which took place on that date on the other.
Flashcards are so useful because they encourage the brain the see the clue, which is quite a basic and easy to remember piece of information, and link that to a more complex piece of information. This link means that seeing the clue should prompt the brain to remember the rest of the information quite easily, as seeing the clue causes your brain to actively recall the answer on the other side of the card.
Using flashcards is more useful than just reading over all the information you need to remember, as it means you can break it down into more manageable chunks, which should be easier to recall. It also gives you a chance to see which pieces of information you have come to grips with, as there may be an answer you keep forgetting, and focus your study on the parts you are having trouble with.
As mentioned above, cramming the night before an exam is not an effective way to study, for several reasons. While you may think going over the material at the last minute will mean it's still fresh in your mind, this isn't really the case. You need to give yourself the time to go over the information multiple times so you have the time to really process what you are studying.
The best way to do this is to study regularly in the lead up to your final assessments. Having your study sessions planned out means you can decide which topics you will cover each session, and also let you see which topics you need to focus more on to really gain an understanding of them.
It's a good idea to write a revision plan, which will let you plan out your time between now and when your final assessments are. This should also prevent you from feeling overwhelmed with the amount of studying you have to do, as you can see exactly how your time is split, and be confident you have everything covered.
Exercise Your Brain
While studying is a great way to exercise your brain, there are some other techniques you can use to give your brain a tune up that you can do in addition to studying. Making sure you regularly exercise your brain between study sessions ensures that it keeps growing and developing, which should help improve your memory in the long run.
Puzzle games such as crosswords and Sudoku are a great way of keeping the mind active, as well as having fun at the same time. Or if you fancy playing a game with other people, games such as chess give you the chance to exercise your mind effectively. You can also search online for huge selection of quick brain training games, which can cover a lot of different techniques such as remembering things like pictures, words, and colours, working out small puzzles, or finding pairs of objects by remembering their position.
Having so many different games to chose from should let you find the ones that suit you best, and one which focusses on your learning style. Most of these games are also quite quick to complete, so you can probably fit them into a quick study break if you feel you need a little extra practise.
If you're studying or training, improving your memory can be a great way to aid your study. Making sure you retain the information you learn during your course or class for years to come is important, as you don't want to forget it all the minute you finish your final assessment or walk out the class for the last time.
Techniques like the ones listed above should not only help improve your memory in general, but using them while studying will also help you remember the information you have worked so hard revising and understanding. All of these techniques can be worked into how you currently study, so don't worry about spending additional time doing it. If you work them into your daily routine, you'll be improving you memory without even thinking about it in no time!