Parents and teens have often asked me for exam strategies, so here it is. If your exam is round the corner and you are not able to remember what you have studied, then this post is for you. (This post is also for you if you have no exams but you generally find it difficult to retain information).
Firstly, ensure that you have a study schedule in place. One of the ways to do this is to go to the date of the exam and then make a backward plan of how many days you are left with and what is the portion that you need to study. Organise your schedule/ timetable accordingly. Here are few psychologically proven strategies that will help you remember better.
1) Get excited about learning: If you take learning as something that you are dreading, it will be difficult to remember anything. Instead, if you get excited and interested, you will remember better. If you are in a good mood, you will remember better as well. So, do things that make you happy. For example, have a favourite beverage in a cute cup, or listen to a peppy song before you start to study.
2) Rely on visual memory: Memory is predominantly visual. So, try associating an image to everything that you need to memorise. Drawing it out in your mind would help too. Make diagrams, flow charts or just doodle in a way that makes sense to you and helps you to visualise the information.
3) Rely on Mnemonics: Turn the information in to a song, rhyme, acronym, image, phrase, or sentence. For example, try making a silly song about the historical facts and dates that you have to remember.
4) Break the information in to smaller bits: When we try remembering a phone number, we chunk them in to parts. Similarly, if you break the information in to boxes or groups of smaller information, you will remember better. One way is to make an information tree where the main branches spread out to smaller branches or leaves. You can assign a label (representing information) to each. This will help you organise the information in your mind.
5) Associate the new information with what you already know. Associating old with the new is a good way to remember. The more mental connections you have to a piece of information, the more successful you will be in remembering it.
6) Write it down: Write out the items to be memorised over and over again. Repetition is the key to remembering. Write on flashcards cards, note pads or on fancy paper.
7) Explain to someone else: The act of explaining to someone else helps us to remember better.
8) Summarise the information: Summarisation requires you to think about the information in a more engaged way. So, you can write a brief summary of a topic studied, either in the margins or in a separate notebook. That notebook can then become your reference point before the exam (instead of you having to study your entire notes again).
9) Be physically healthy: Stay hydrated, eat healthy and get adequate sleep. All these will enable you to retain information better
10) Stay organised: A clutter-free mind and and a clutter-free space will help you remember better.
Good luck with remembering and have fun!