Have you ever had those times when you wish you had a better memory to breeze through specific problems like exams? If so, then you are not alone. Many students in these situations often chalk it up to their bad memory and claim there is nothing they can do about it. However, what separates ‘good memorisers’ from bad ones is not their brain power but the methods they use.
When it comes to the IGCSE, there is more to it than simply remembering facts and figures; effortlessly recalling formulas, words, ideas, and the like plays a massive role in achieving your desired grade. It is not enough to remember what is going on in class since no matter what stage you are at in your IGCSEs, you need to understand everything you have learned for the final exams.
Given that research findings suggest that the average adult’s attention span has gotten worse by around 12 minutes in the last decade, it is only right to think twice before solely relying on technology to get you by. And while you may say that that is what revisions are for, there are plenty of things you can do to boost your memory right now.
Without further ado, here are the tips for improving your memory starting now!
Using Mnemonic Devices
Mnemonics are methods developed to aid in remembering substantial amounts of information using techniques such as association, reorganisation, and sense memory to give your mind shortcuts to what it needs to know. Some examples include:
Chunking involves compartmentalising big pieces of information into smaller ones. We already do this for various purposes in our daily lives. An example would be breaking down long contact numbers where we break down a 10 or 12-long string of numbers into smaller chunks of 3 or 4. This can apply to formulas exceptionally well. Instead of memorising a long formula in your revision, it is much easier to break it down into more manageable chunks.
– Acrostics and Acronyms
Playing around with letters or words in the information you have to memorise can prove effective in making things stick to your long-term memory. They are beneficial in subjects with various hard facts like in sciences. Using those already in use or creating your own are good ways of utilising acronyms. For example, if you want to remember the starting digits of pi, you could use the phrase “How I wish I could recollect pi” and count the number of letters of each word to get 3.141592.
– Music mnemonics
There is no doubt that you can easily recall the lyrics of your favourite songs at the top of your head at a moment’s notice. But have you ever wondered how you came about memorising them? Not by sitting down and learning them, that is for sure. Music, especially catchy melodies, is excellent for making words stick to your brain. There are plenty of ways to leverage music when memorising things, and you do not necessarily need to be a composer or write a whole song. Simply reciting information or words into a melody is enough to make it stay in your head. You can use your favourite songs and replace the lyrics to make things easier.
Reorganise, Not Repeat
Despite being the most common way of memorising information, repetition is a highly inefficient method of memorisation. Many find repetition boring because it only involves the surface level of the brain. Therefore, a better way would be to look for ways to reorganise information and associate it with things you already know. This is called elaborative rehearsal. So the next time you learn something new, rewrite the information in your own words instead of simply noting down your teacher’s words. Whenever you read large amounts of text, take notes in your own words in the space near the edges. Consider how this information relates to what you have learned before and how it changes the information.
Recalling information is one of many challenges to overcome and plays a crucial role in finding IGCSE success. As such, it only makes sense to put effort into sharpening your memory. With the tips shared above, you should now know which techniques to use in this endeavour and continue researching new ways to further your goal.
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