Kick Your Memorization Skills into High Gear

School has revved up, and it’s time for some serious studying. If you’re feeling a bit rusty, or simply looking for new methods to shake up those brain cells and memorize new facts, has some great study tips.

Switch to Audio

The reason you’re unable to retain everything you just read in a textbook might be because that’s just not the way you learn. Believe it or not, our brains are much better at encoding and interpreting sound, taste, smell, and even colors than text.

Instead of just relying on reading your notes and textbooks, record yourself reading through your study materials, and listen to it. You can even upload it to your iPod and listen to it while you sleep. You might want to consider having a friend do the recording, though. Some people don’t like the sound of their own voice.

Put It in Your Own Words

A lot of textbooks are written with a lot of technical terms — not exactly for the common man or woman. This makes it even more difficult to memorize. Instead of forcing yourself to memorize textbook definitions, break down the information into terms that YOU understand, and memorize that.

Not only will it be easier to memorize, but you’ll have a better understanding of the concepts and actual material. Have you ever studied for a test and felt like you knew all the terms and information. Then when the test comes, the concepts are all there, but the questions don’t resemble what you studied? This technique will fix that by helping you actually learn the material, instead of just memorizing what’s written in the book.

Visualize It

Some people are just visual learners. They can read a book 10 times and not remember a lick of what they read. But when a movie based on the book is released, they can remember every character’s name, and tell you vivid details of what it was about. To help give you an idea of whether or not you’re a visual learner, consider this: Would you rather have list of the parts of a plant cell, or a detailed diagram with all the parts labeled?

Color code your notes, create diagrams, create imagery in your head, or try any other visual technique that will help you grasp the information.

Use Acronyms

This is a very popular mnemonic device, and I use it frequently. Break down complex terms or lists into simple 3-5 letter acronyms that will help you remember them better.

One thing that you should try to avoid is creating so many different acronyms that you confuse yourself. I recommend only using acronyms for terms and concepts that you really seem to be struggling with, instead of creating an acronym for every single list in your book.

An example of a popular acronym is the one used to memorize the order of operations for math. You probably learned this elementary or middle school: Parentheses, Exponents, Multiply, Divide, Add, and Subtract = Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.

Link Information

Instead of trying to memorize several individual pieces of information, try to find relationships between them. All the concepts within a single chapter will more than likely be closely related. And concepts from different chapters might not be directly related, but you can probably draw some similarities and link certain information.

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