"Memory is deceptive because it is coloured by today's events." -Albert Einstein

Come again? When did I learn this? There's an exam today? I didn't remember!

Forgetfulness and not remembering essential things can happen at any age and is not a sign of Alzheimer's or dementia since young people these days seem to forget things more than elderly ones!

Nonetheless, not remembering something that is on the tip or your tongue or forgetting about an essential concept that you previously spent time learning is hugely frustrating. It can dramatically shift your mood and make you annoyed at yourself for no good reason.

Forgetting things or having a bad memory is incredibly irritating for Uni students who need to remember important dates, theories frequently, and the previous lesson notes to pass exams successfully. 

How can memory skills be honed when studying or reviewing for indispensable assessments?

Today, we talk about some of the reasons why we forget necessary academic disciplines and how Uni students can improve their memory to ace exams!

Why Do Student's Forget Important Things?

Forgetting things such as an appointment with the dentist or something from your grocery list is very common, and you shouldn't beat yourself up about it because it happens to everyone and will not dramatically affect the course of your life.

However, there are certain things that we desperately want to try to remember and hold onto with all our might. Such as? School topics that have the potential to set us out onto a path of success.

learning quietly
Turn the phone off, lower the music, and find a quiet place to study to enhance memory skills. (Source: Unsplash)

It is worth mentioning that during our formative years in secondary school, we are young and might not fully comprehend the importance of specific academic disciplines. But trust us, everything included in the National Curriculum and part of the GCSEs is there for a reason: to make us more intelligent beings.

But, why do we, as students, forget such important academic concepts? The following list features a few reasons as to why even the most well-intentioned pupils have memory problems:

  • Mental Overload: do you sometimes study with the TV on in the background, with your phone beside you, and in a highly transited part of your home such as the kitchen or living room? If so, stop it now! You need to rethink your methods because your mind is being overcrowded and constantly stimulated with irrelevant information that will distract you from the academic knowledge that you need to learn. When there is too much noise and distractions, it's practically impossible for the brain to remember important things. So, find a quiet space and give your mind a break.
  • Negative Outlook: it's a common fact that those who don't think they have the potential to learn more and remember critical concepts will eventually forget what they are learning. Negative thinking is a poison that enters your brain and contaminates all good things such as memory retention. Hence, remember to push out the little voice in your head telling you that you aren't good enough and instead embrace warm, fuzzy, and positive thoughts that you can successfully remember even the most complex of concepts.
  • Lack of Usage: ever heard the expression, "if you don't use it, you'll lose it?" Forgetting important academic disciplines is amplified when the learner does not think about them again or discuss them with peers. It is a massive human flaw to forget something almost immediately after hearing or seeing it. Even the brains of the most brilliant minds will throw away information that they deem to be unnecessary. So, make every topic that you learn worthwhile and memorable. Recite out loud and review information on the daily to prevent forgetfulness and contribute to academic achievement.

There you have it folks, the reasons why our poor little brain forgets such essential things. But, who can blame it? Our mind is imperfect and continuously bombarded with information from our beautiful world.

Are there any tips or tricks that contribute to remembering things more clearly? Of course! Keep on reading to find out more in next subheading.

Do you need advice about how to make a review schedule? We've got you covered! Read our informative article.

Tips and Tricks to Hone Memory Skills When Studying for Exams

Are your academic studies at Uni getting harder and you feel that your poor little brain isn't up to the task to remember such complex concepts come examination time? If so, you're not alone. As we have seen in today's article, we all suffer from forgetfulness.

So, instead of relying on less than stellar tips such as pulling an all-nighter and cramming for an exam the night before, we shall focus on how to hone your memory abilities to recall important concepts and topics for exam day. Let's get started, study addicts!

Talk About It

topics of conversations
To avoid allowing the brain to throw out newly acquired information, it is important to talk about it to enhance memory retention. (Source: Unsplash)

"The more often you've shared what you've learned, the stronger that information will become in your memory." -Steve Brunkhorst

The previously mentioned quote could not be more dutiful, and that is why it correlates perfectly with our first piece of advice of remembering key concepts. If you don't talk about it, you'll lose it!

So, instead of becoming an information hog who only keeps their wealth of knowledge to themselves, share what you have studied and what you are learning with your friends and family who are willing to listen.

Trust us; your parents will be actively eager to hear about your newly acquired knowledge since it means that their hard-earned money put into your college fund is being put to fair use! 

Nevertheless, don't bore them with every single detail of every single class or textbook page, try to bring out the main points and attempt putting into words the concepts that you are struggling with. Why? You will see if you comprehend them or need more time.

If you can't find anyone that wants to listen to you anymore, try speaking out loud about what you've learnt and recorded yourself speaking. Recommendation: this should be done when no one is around to prevent people from thinking that you've gone mad!

Draw Cute Little Pictures

Another fantastic technique to hone memory skills is that using image-name associations on small pieces of paper or flashcards. How does that help? The following ways show the benefits of the image-name technique:

  • Fantastic for visual learners with a knack for drawing, 
  • Great for associating a physical aspect of a person to recall their name, 
  • An active exercise that makes studying a tad bit more enjoyable. 

It's important to state that your drawings don't have to be perfect; we're not all Rembrandt! It is better to try something than nothing at all. Image-name associations exercises are much suggested for those who are history majors since there are a lot of names and dates to remember. But how exactly is it done?

A reputable online reference gives us an example of remembering the name "George Marx." Since Marx sounds like "marks" as in X marks the spot, and George has a mole on his face, you might write "mark/Marx the spot" on your flashcard with a little picture of an older gentleman with a large mole. As easy as pie!

image-definition strategy
Learning through tiny images and definitions helps visual learners acquire fantastic memory skills. (Source: Unsplash)

Try the Loci not "Loki" Method

I hope all The Avengers fans out there caught the reference to my subheading! OK, let's not distracted from the point, although the weather is grim outside and a movie-day sounds perfect, there are more important things to do like help you, our readers, remember key concepts when studying.

Therefore, if you want to jog your memory and make it work actively, use the Loci method. What is the Loci method? Known by many educators and experts around the world, the Loci theory is successful because it calls on a student's ability to remember using familiar locations such as the campus library or your dorm room desk.

The idea is to associate your list of things that you need to remember with a sunny location that you enjoy. 

Many visualise a house or a room that they love from their past and start to adopt the Loci method by associating things such as drawers, closets, bags, etc. with bits of information that are indispensable for future exams. Huh? Did we lose you?

To better understand, let's say that you are studying chemistry at Uni and need to break down sub-disciplines to be remembered more effectively. Through the Loci method, you might put the periodic table in your desk drawer, chemical formulas in your refrigerator, and units and measurements in your closet; this helps compartmentalise topics.

If you want to learn more about the Loci method, do a little research online. It's likely after you learn about it that you'll be hooked!

In conclusion, the three pieces of advice that we have brought out in today's article, are only the tip of the iceberg when considering memorisation techniques for exam prep. After putting these into practice, consider surfing the net to find out more memory tips that suit your needs. Happy studying young lads and lassies!

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Vanessa