We use our senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch) to take in information about the world around us. Most of the time we don't passively accept the information we obtain from our senses, we use our thoughts and imagination to make sense of the information and to remember it.
This can be applied to helping you remember what you're studying.
1. Using pictures
Our brains like pictures. Often we think in pictures, we dream in pictures, so using pictures and visualisation can help you remember. For example, you could:
- Really look at what you are studying then try to see it as a picture in your mind's eye.
- If it's a page, you could try to see the headings and where the different bits are on the page.
- If it's a picture or diagram, try to reproduce it in your mind or look at it and copy it.
- Try to create a picture, or series of pictures, in your mind or on paper, to illustrate what you're learning. This could be a mind map.
2. Recite your work
- Recite your work aloud and listen to yourself or record yourself and play it back.
- Walk around while studying and recite your work aloud to the rhythm of your footsteps.
3. Use smell
Have you ever had the experience of a scent reminding you of something that happened long ago-
Make this work for your studies. For example, you could suck a lemon lolly while studying something you must remember and try to associate the taste and smell with what you have to remember. Then take a similar lolly into the exam room and use the taste and smell to jog your memory.
Use your finger to trace out the letters of something you have to remember. Think about what the surface feels like and try to remember the movement and the shape of your letters - this will help you remember them.
Our imagination uses things like stories, humour, symbolism, colour, and exaggeration, so use them to help you remember what you're studying. For example:
- Make up some private jokes about your studies or turn them into comic strips.
- Use symbols like a big ! next to something you must remember or } to show things should be linked, or an -> to show progression. Whatever you use, make sure they are meaningful to you and serve as cues to help you remember.
- Use different colour pens or highlighters to make things stand out.
- Use larger letters than usual or CAPITALS for very important facts.
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