It can be easy (and annoying) to spend hours staring at the notes on your page with none of it actually sticking in your brain! We’ve pulled together 5 useful tips to help you study smarter and memorise your work better.
1. Start by understanding the information
Understanding the information you want to remember is the best place to start. Knowing what the material means and the context around it will help you retain the information easier and for longer, and it’ll help you learn new things connected to it, quicker.
Struggling to understand your work? Here are a few suggestions to help:
Talk to your academics: your professors and personal tutors are there to teach and help you, so use them!
A lesson from your friends: If your course mates understand something that you don’t, get them to explain it to you. Hearing the work explained in different ways can help you understand it clearer.
Use online tools: the internet is full of useful information and handy tools to help you learn (pretty much anything!). If you’re struggling on a particular topic, chances are there will be a website or YouTube video where someone explains it all perfectly — CrashCourse is a great YouTube channel for educational videos on lots of different subjects.
2. Talk out loud
Reading information out loud is a great memory technique. When we read information aloud, the words are more distinctive to our brain than when they’re read silently. This distinctiveness, along with hearing the words in our own voice, helps cement the information to our memory and makes it easier to recall.
Best to try this if you’re in a private study space, like your room, and not the library!
3. Teach someone else
Grab a friend, family member or even pet (as long as they sit still and look interested for long enough), and sit them down for a lesson!
By teaching the information to someone else you’ll boost your own understanding of the material. At the same time, you’ll be speaking the information out loud and listening back to your own voice — all of which helps you to retain and recall the information!
On campus? Book a group study room in one of the libraries (equipped with AirMedia screens) with your friends and take it in turn to ‘teach’ each other the work you need to learn.
4. The Method of Loci
The Method of Loci is a memory technique where you connect new information to a place that you know well (like your room or your home). This technique works great if you need to remember information in a sequence!
Imagine yourself placing the pieces of information in different areas of your chosen place — making sure to follow the path that you would normally walk through it. For example:
You walk into your room and your bedside table is on your left, so you put the first piece of information in there. This is next to your bed, so the second piece goes under your pillow. You then walk over to your wardrobe and place the third piece of information in there… and so on.
Once you’ve put all the information that you need to remember in specific areas, visualise yourself walking through your chosen place, picking up the pieces of information as you go. This technique is helpful because you’re connecting new information to places and objects that are already ingrained in your memory.
5. Repeat, repeat, repeat!
No matter what tricks you choose to help you memorise your work, a key step in making sure it sticks, is repetition!
Whether you prefer to read the information out loud, write it down, or use a technique like the Method of Loci, by repeating it over and over you’re reinforcing the lesson in your brain, and moving the information from your short-term memory to your long-term memory.
Hopefully these tips can help you memorise your work better when studying — try them out and see which work best for you!