Need to memorize dates for a history exam or learn new terms for your science class? There’s more to memorizing than passively looking through your notes and rereading chapters. If you want to be able to recall more of what you are learning, you should be willing to work with information on a deeper level. How? This is what we will discuss in this article. Keep reading to get five research-based tips on how to memorize things faster and improve recall.

Also, Read to Know: 7 Ways for College Students to Continue Learning Outside the Classroom 

1. Take Regular Breaks

Giving yourself time to relax and refuel your energy is no less important than studying itself. Studies show that regular breaks do wonders for your ability to stay creative and make decisions. Everyone has experienced that light-bulb moment during a break after hours of intense but fruitless work. Why does this happen? 

When you are studying for hours without downtime, you lose focus, become less attentive, and simply exhaust your mental resources. On the contrary, when you’re taking a break, you refresh your mind, reduce stress, and restore your motivation to study. This is why regular breaks are a study must-have. 

Naturally, sometimes we are flooded with work. When you have to do a lot of assignments and tight deadlines barely allow you to get enough sleep, let alone breaks, consider getting academic support from, a professional paper writing help service for students. This allows you to have more time to recharge your mind and, as a result, support your emotional and physical health. 

2. Start with the Right Mindset

Your learning session should start with the right mindset. Be sure you can memorize anything. But first, take a deep breath and get rid of all distracting thoughts. Our restless mind is usually the main reason why we struggle to memorize information, not the complexity of the subject. Your environment also plays an important role. You should find a quiet place for your studies where you won’t be constantly distracted by social media, noise, or other people. 

Your next step is to look through the information you need to learn and make sense of it. This might involve giving it more structure or organizing it in smaller chunks, depending on the subject you’re dealing with. When you approach memorization with a clear idea of what to expect, it becomes easier to link new material to your previous knowledge and not only remember but understand it. 

3. Write It Down

Recording information isn’t the only function of writing. It also allows us to process and memorize material. How does it work? Researchers explain that when we are taking notes in longhand, we have to put ideas in our own words. Thus, we record our understanding of a subject matter instead of transcribing lectures mindlessly. 

Use this connection between your hand and brain to facilitate learning. We talked to a graduate student at Columbia University, and Shea Mitchell shared her hot tips. “I prefer to ask experts to write my essay. The draft they provide has all the research highlights, terms, and dates. It’s so much easier to process and memorize information when it’s already presented in a structured and condensed form.” So writing is a powerful way to memorize information faster and more efficiently. 

4. Take a Test

When students are preparing for exams, they often fall into the trap of passive learning. They reread their notes and book chapters. Yes, information becomes recognizable. However, if you can recognize it, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be able to recall things later. 

A much better way to memorize information is active self-testing. There are a lot of methods you can use:

  • Flashcards;
  • Quizzes;
  • Q&As;
  • The Cornell Method notes. 

Testing works because instead of rereading information, you put in the effort to retrieve it from your memory. Thus, it strengthens neural connections and makes your memories more stable. 

Note that to maximize the efficiency of self-testing, you should combine it with distributed practice. You don’t need to test yourself right away and move on to new information. Instead, space out review sessions in time. After you first learn the information, test yourself in:

  • 1 hour;
  • 1 day;
  • 2 days;
  • 1 week;
  • 2 weeks;

The spacing effect allows to slow down the forgetting curve and memorize more. 

5. Let Mnemonics Help You

If you need to learn something quickly, explore mnemonic devices. These are learning techniques that facilitate memorization and retrieval by giving you cues and imagery you can rely on. There are a variety of mnemonic devices for different learning styles:

  • Acronyms. Use the first letters of the words you want to remember to form an acronym. For example, if you need to memorize the Great Lakes, use the acronym HOMES, which stands for Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior. 
  • Songs. You can learn by singing. Kids often learn the alphabet by singing the ABCs, and language learners use jungles to memorize irregular verbs. 
  • Chunking. Information becomes easier to memorize when you divide it into smaller pieces. For example, if you need to learn your friend’s phone number, divide digits into separate smaller chunks. 
  • Method of loci. This method is also known as the Memory Palace technique. To use it, you need to visualize a place you know well and imagine items you need to memorize placed around this space. The method of loci is great for remembering lists and routes. 
  • Acrostic. To use an acrostic, you need to encode the term you need to remember into a phrase or sentence. Let’s say you need to memorize biological classification. Use the sentence: Didn’t King Phillip Come Over From Great Spain? Where every first letter stands for Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species.

Final Thoughts

Now you know the secret of all successful students. Yes, it requires some adjustments to your study strategy but the ability to memorize and remember more of what you learn pays off in the long run! So use our tips to prepare for your next exam to skyrocket your productivity and grades.

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