Effective ways to memorise for exams

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The following article is written by Jess Holsman, Deakin psychology graduate and founder of YouTube’s ‘Study With Jess’, where she gives advice to thousands of students around the world on effective study.

Do you ever catch yourself mid-sentence only to realise that you have been reading the same paragraph multiple times and nothing seems to have sunk in? Repeatedly reading over your notes and rewriting information is one of the most common study strategies used by students come exam time. Unfortunately, this strategy involves passive learning and can be ineffective when trying to consolidate large amounts of information into your long-term memory!

Fortunately, there are much more effective techniques that you can use to help remember important information. The one thing that all of these techniques have in common is that they involve active learning, which gives greater meaning to the information you are trying to learn. Whilst these techniques often require more effort on your end, they allow you to consolidate information into your long-term memory more effectively.

Here are some different study techniques to try that involve active learning and that are tailored to each of the four types of learning styles:

Visual Learners: Learn best when you see the material.

Suggestions: Create mind maps, colour-code your notes, rely on written instructions for assignments and projects, use visual aids such as flash cards, diagrams, charts and pictures, watch a short clip or video that explains your topic.

Auditory Learners: Learn best through information that is communicated verbally.

Suggestions: Record your lectures and class notes, attend group study sessions, participate in class discussions, read the material out loud, make up a rhyme or song about the topic, use word association.

Read and Write Learners: Learn best through reading and writing the information.

Suggestions: Take detailed notes in class, rewrite your notes, turn diagrams and charts into words, ask your teacher for handouts, write regular summaries.

Kinaesthetic/Physical Learners: Learn best by doing and taking a hands-on approach.

Suggestions: Add a physical activity while you study, act out concepts and theories, build 3D models to apply complex information, study in short blocks, study with others, include plenty of examples in your notes, attend field trips to make information more memorable.

Depending on the type of information you are studying and trying to memorise, certain techniques may prove themselves to be more effective. Of course, you want to add some variety into your study sessions so try a range of techniques employing various styles of learning. Overall, the more meaningful you can make the information, the more effectively you are able to process it and the more likely you are to later remember it in your exam.

Happy studying!

xo, Study With Jess

Check out some more great tips from Study With Jess in the video below.

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