How Mastering Memorisation Techniques Can Boost Your Exam Scores

March 13, 2024 | By: Extramarks

Mastering Memorisation Techniques

Ever found yourself going blank during a crucial moment in class or while taking an exam? You’re not alone. While these moments can be embarrassing and stressful, it’s important to remember that occasional memory lapses are part of being human. However, the good news is that you can significantly improve your ability to retain information by leveraging memorisation techniques. Strong memorisation skills aren’t just about innate talent; you can also develop them with the right approach and persistence. Using effective memorisation techniques can significantly enhance your recall abilities. As your academic journey proceeds, you will need to remember more and more essential information. Read on to learn how.

What is a Memorisation Technique?

A memorisation technique is a strategic procedure designed to store information in your mind for extended periods, ensuring that you can retrieve it when needed. The process of memorisation leverages the brain’s capacity to create two distinct types of memory: short-term and long-term.

Sensory Memory

This is the initial stage of memory, lasting only a fraction of a second. It captures information from our senses almost instantaneously. For instance, the brief image you see is stored in your sensory memory before it either fades away or moves to the next stage.

Short-Term Memory (STM)

Acting as a temporary holding area, STM allows information to remain accessible for a short duration. On average, it can hold about 7 items at once, serving as a filter and a stepping stone to longer-term storage.

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Long-Term Memory (LTM)

This stage serves as the brain’s permanent storage, capable of holding approximately 100,000 items. Information transferred to LTM can be retained for extended periods, from days to decades.

The average human brain has the astounding capacity to store around 1 million gigabytes of memory. Memorisation techniques are essential because they facilitate the intentional transfer of information from short-term to long-term memory, significantly enhancing recall abilities. By employing these strategies, you can optimise how you store and access the vast amount of information your brain can hold.

4-Step Strategic Approach to Memorise Information

Memorise Information

Enhancing your memory isn’t just about acing exams; it’s a crucial skill for lifelong learning. Whether it’s recalling the date of a historical event or remembering your homework deadlines, a sharp memory aids in academic success. Fortunately, no matter how you currently rate your memory skills, your brain is like a muscle that can be trained. Memorisation in your brain unfolds in four pivotal steps: attention, encoding, storage, and retrieval: 

1. Attention

Imagine you’re in class, and your teacher introduces a new concept. The information first hits your sensory receptors, holding onto it for seconds. It’s your focused attention on this information that propels it to the next phase.

2. Encoding

If the concept catches your interest, your brain starts encoding it, deciding if it should land in your short-term or working memory. While short-term memory has a brief span, working memory can retain information for up to 20 minutes—useful for immediate tasks but not for next week’s exam.

3. Storage

Transferring information from short-term to long-term memory requires active effort. You need to engage with the material using a memorisation technique that resonates with you.

4. Retrieval

The effectiveness of your attention, encoding, and storage efforts is tested during retrieval. Frequent review of the information helps keep it accessible for future exams and assignments.

12 Memorisation Techniques

Let’s take a look at the actual memorisation techniques that you can use to improve your retention. Each strategy is designed to ensure you can recall information swiftly and effectively.

Verbal Memorisation Technique

Use Chunking

Chunking simplifies memorisation by breaking down complex information into manageable groups or categories, making it easier to remember. For instance, organising presidents by historical periods or shopping items by colour not only aids in retaining details but also enhances recall by creating a structured memory framework.

Expression Mnemonics and Acronyms

Mnemonic devices and acronyms simplify memorisation by linking new information to familiar concepts or by using catchy phrases. For instance, “BODMAS” helps remember the order of operations in maths. These tools make learning more accessible and memorable by associating complex information with easy-to-remember words or phrases.

Teach What You’ve Learned

Teaching others what you’ve learned is a powerful memorisation technique. By explaining concepts to someone else, you not only solidify your own understanding but also enhance retention. This approach not only benefits your comprehension but also fosters a collaborative learning environment

Say It Out Loud

Saying things out loud significantly improves memorisation by leveraging the brain’s preference for auditory information. This method mirrors how you learn song lyrics through hearing and singing along. Reciting information helps secure it in the correct order in your memory, akin to recalling a catchy song.

Visual memorisation Technique

Use Images

Transforming information into vivid, often humorous or exaggerated images significantly enhances memorisation. For example, associating cations with a cat for “positive” and anions with an onion for “negative” leverages visual memory for better recall. This method makes abstract concepts more relatable and memorable.

Try Colour-Coding

Colour-coding your study materials can significantly enhance memorisation by providing visual cues that help organise and differentiate information. For example, blue for key facts, green for explanations, and red for examples. However, avoid overusing colours to prevent confusion and ensure each colour serves a distinct purpose in your study strategy.

Apply the Method of Loci (Memory Palace): 

The method of loci, or “memory palace,” is a powerful memorisation technique that involves associating items you need to remember with specific locations within a familiar place, like your home. By visualising a sequence of items along a path through your space you can significantly enhance your ability to recall information. For example, if you imagine a phone placed on the stairs, a wallet on your shoe rack and your keys in the door, you can remember the items you need to carry before you leave the house. 

Mind Maps

Mind mapping combines visualisation and chunking to enhance memory, utilising the brain’s preference for connections and imagination. By creating maps that visually depict memories, you can make it easy to remember complex information. This method not only helps in organising thoughts but also in boosting long-term memory recall.

Draw Tables and Diagrams

Drawing tables, diagrams, and mind maps add “mental scaffolding” to your brain, making it easier to store and recall new information. Whether it’s sketching the carbon cycle, comparing birds and bats with a Venn diagram, or outlining the causes of the Second World War through a mind map, these visual tools help you grasp complex concepts more swiftly.

Make Flashcards

Making flashcards is a versatile and effective study technique that employs active recall. On the front, write the term or concept; on the back, include the definition, category, an example sentence, and a visual representation like a diagram. This method not only helps in categorising information but also reinforces learning through the creation of visual and contextual links. Regular review of these flashcards, ideally through spaced repetition, ensures you focus on areas needing improvement while enhancing your ability to recall information efficiently.

Create a Story

Creating a story around facts you’re trying to memorise is an imaginative and effective technique for enhancing memory. You can improve recall significantly by associating complex information, like formulas or a list of tasks, with a vivid narrative or sequence of events. For example, visualising an elephant approaching a monkey with a square cracker to remember E=mc2 makes the information more memorable.

7 Tips to Enhance Memorisation

Get Enough Sleep

Your brain consolidates memories while you sleep, so make sure you’re getting adequate rest to be able to retain the concepts you studied during the day. 

Regular Exercise

Physical activity can boost brain function and, in turn, memory. Improve your physical performance to improve your cognitive performance.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Nutritious foods support brain health and memory performance. Ensure that you are consuming a balanced diet that contains all the necessary macro and micronutrients. 

Stay Mentally Active

Activities that stimulate the brain strengthen your memory and cognitive skills. Challenge your brain with puzzles, reading, or learning new skills to improve memory.

Reduce Stress

High stress can impair memory, so find ways to relax and decompress. Don’t be afraid to take a break from time to time.

Get Organised

A cluttered study space can distract you and impede your ability to focus and memorise. Make sure to organise your workspace in a timely manner whenever it gets cluttered.

Practice Regularly

Consistent review and practice are key to transferring information to long-term memory through the use of repetition.

Remember, memorisation is not just about rote learning; it’s about understanding the information on a deeper level and applying it. By incorporating these techniques into your study habits, you’re not just preparing to ace your exams; you’re also enhancing your overall learning experience. While learning these techniques can prove invaluable, it is also important to spend time revising things you have learnt. Platforms like the Extramarks Learning App come equipped with unlimited practice questions and tests which can help you test your knowledge repeatedly and also recorded lectures which will help you revise concepts with ease. Embrace these memorisation techniques and make the most of the Extramarks Learning App to ensure that you are effectively retaining the concepts you learn!

Last Updated on March 13, 2024

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