No matter how smart some of us are, memorising information can sometimes be a struggle, especially for content rich subjects. For those who are prone to procrastinating, the ability to remember (or to put it bluntly; rote learn) all our notes in a very short time before an exam is a skill that can be very helpful (not saying that I support this!). So what can we do? How can we improve our ability to memorise things?
Make your notes into a speech
One way of forcing our brains to remember information is by converting your notes into a speech and making palm cards to go along with it. When presenting a speech, you are expected to give eye contact to your audience; try looking up away from your palm cards in this situation, and you'll slowly be able to read them less and remember the words. Not only that, you will recite the information in a more colloquial form which will help you memorise the notes more easily. By doing this numerous times, you can remember far more than just by reading your notes.
Read and Hide
Similar to to making a speech, this technique requires you to first read a small part of your notes, then cover it with another sheet of paper, and then reciting the key points out loud. By doing this, you are forcing your brain to try to memorise the information rather than just lightly skim over everything which would not be as effective. Keep repeating this until you are able to recite all the key points.
Write your notes out; by writing them out your brain is subconsciously picking up the words and slowly memorising it (typing the notes on a keyboard may be faster, but being fast actually diminishes how much you can recall). Try rewriting your notes several times, and after a while, try writing your them out without looking at a copy of it.
Visual and auditory techniques
If reading and writing a massive amount of words isn't your thing, you can try using visual and auditory techniques of learning such as watching videos, listening to songs or recordings of yourself reading the information, or diagrams related to the content. Repetition is key here, and there are some ways to make this less painful. For example, you can stick diagrams or a few of the key words on the bedroom wall that you first see when you wake up everyday; your brain will subconsciously pick up all the information even when you are not technically studying. If you're keen, you can also download the certain audio contents into your phone and play it over and over.
This may very well be the most useful technique. By teaching someone else, it is like reciting your own notes and taking a mock test at the same time. When you're teaching, your brain retains a far greater portion of the topic and content discussed compared to just reading or writing notes.
Give some of these tips a go, but as always, the earlier you start the better!
Jack Zheng | N° 9