How to memorise your notes

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You get into the exam hall, you open your paper and your mind goes blank. This is every student’s fear, especially for exams as hyped up as the HSC. First of all, don’t be scared, you’d be amazed about how much you can remember once you take a deep breath, pick up your pen and start writing. Second of all, there’s plenty of tactics you can use to help you remember information to ensure this never happens to you.


1.     Read out loud


Warning: Do not try this in a crowded library, unless you want to annoy everyone around you :P Instead of simply reading your notes to yourself, say the important parts out loud. This will make the information really stand out in your head as it is remembered differently than the words read silently. Don’t always recite your notes word for word, but instead try paraphrasing them. This ensures that your brain is switched on and working, making it more likely that you’ll remember what you’re studying.


2.     Impress, associate, repeat


How well you remember something depends on how much of an impression it makes on you. So when trying to memorise information, try to picture the situation in your mind, or where possible, envision yourself participating in the events described. Let your imagination go wild – the more silly or outrageous something is, the more memorable it is. Next, link the material to something you already know, the more associations you can make the better. For example, despite my last Latin class being 8 years ago, I still remember that “sub arbore” means “under the tree” because I always associated it with “I like to eat subway under the tree”. You can make associations with anything you know, like linking important years with your mum’s birthday plus the age of your cat – seriously… anything that works for you! The final step is repetition. The more you read and say information aloud, the stronger your memory of the content will be.


3.     Explain the information to others


The best way to test if you really remember and understand something is to try teach it to someone else. Try explaining the concept to a friend, your mum, or even to yourself. For example, if you’re trying to memorise English quotes, explain to someone what techniques the quote demonstrates and/or how you would use it. If you’re trying to remember a physics concept, explain it in your own words and answer any questions that the person might have.


Remember, the earlier you start revising, the more likely you’ll remember the content when it comes to crunch time. Good luck!

Rachel SiuComment