Published On: Sat, Mar 3rd, 2018

How to Memorise Key Facts for Exams

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As any student is all too aware, a large part of examinations revolve around being able to memorise a wide range of facts from which to formulate answers to both short-answer and longer essay questions. Therefore, it is absolutely crucial to learn basic skills to help with improving one’s ability to remember important information.

How to Prepare for Exams

Tools to Remember Key Facts in Exams

There are a variety of practical tools which when correctly applied will likely make a big difference in terms of improving an individual’s ability to memorise key facts. In Study Skills For Dummies, Du Boulay (2009) identifies four memory strategies:

– Mnemonics
– Loci
– Audio stimuli
– Memory maps

Improve Memory With Mnemonics

Mnemonics are a very simply yet effective tool to aid memory and basically involve the student making a link or association between each mnemonic and each fact required to be memorised. Anyone who has created a hotmail account will have been asked to write a phrase or question used to help remember a password; this is an example of using a mnemonic. Another example is the mnemonic “FUDGEBOW” which is used in German language exams to help remember the prepositions that take the accusative. It is surprising how powerful mnemonics are, as even decades after completing exams or finishing high school many will still be able to remember them.

This tool is also used to help memorise numbers and how words are spelt. For example, many primary school children are likely to have been taught to remember how to spell “because” through using the following mnemonic: “Big elephants can always understand small elephants” and “necessary” through using the mnemonic, “Never eat cabbage eat salmon sandwiches and remain young.”

How Loci Helps Memorise Exam Facts

A less well-known technique than that of mnemonics, “loci” is basically translated from Latin to mean “places.” This method is identified to be a helpful way for students to remember events which happen in a specific order, making it perfect for preparing to sit history examinations. Loci may involve imagining one is entering the family home and coming across specific rooms and items in each room, staircase and even the garden. The key is to always visualise the same route around the home and each piece of information one needs to memorise gets stored in a room or even in an object such as the oven in the kitchen or in the piano in the lounge.

Loci is a means of remembering new information necessary for examination purposes through the process of anchoring such information in the familiarity of one’s home or garden. While this certainly takes more skill than using mnemonics it has been around since ancient Greece and is still popular with memory experts and performers today.

Revision Aids – Audio Stimuli and Memory Maps

For those who are more musical or enjoy rhymes, audio stimuli may be a helpful means to remember important facts for exams. Today there are even websites and specific software completely dedicated to memorising facts using this approach, so it is well worth having a look round to see if there are existing tools for the specific topics one is studying. An example of a rhyme for memorising the first six New Testament books in the Bible includes: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John…Acts and Romans follow on. Another means is to use a beat to remember facts which may be done whilst exercising thus helping the body as well as the mind.

Memory maps are another simple means to help memorise key information and are basically the same as spider diagrams. First write the key theme or topic in a circle in the middle of a piece of paper with several lines (legs) coming off the circle like a spider. Next, at the end of or along each line coming off the main theme, write links or facts which directly relate to the central topic.

As highlighted above, memory tools such as mnemonics, loci, audio stimuli and memory maps are all helpful ways to revise more efficiently and prepare for examinations. It is worth having a go at different approaches to find out which tool suits one the best.

About the Author

- Paul Linus is an eminent online journalist who has been writing news, features and editorials on different websites from across the world for about a decade.

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