Quick Memorization Tips

With finals just a week away, you may be looking at all your study guides and wondering, “How do I memorize all this?”

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With finals just a week away, you may be looking at all your study guides and wondering, “How do I memorize all this?” In theory, we’d all like to be memorizing throughout the semester so we’re not cramming before a final. However, we don’t always have that luxury. But no worries! With a few quick memorization tips, you’ll have plenty of time to prepare for your exams.

  1. Contextualize facts. Our brains love to remember stories, so build stories around the facts you’re memorizing. If you’re studying dates for history, tell yourself the true story of the timeline so the numbers become memorable. If you’re struggling to keep ideas straight in economics, create a narrative about a character who navigates the policies. Use real events whenever possible, but even fictional stories can help your brain remember details. 
  2. Write it out. Studies have shown a connection between memory and physically writing something out. Writing out physical flashcards (vs just using a typed study guide) may help your memory. Check out this article by Dr. Johnson to read more.
  3. Exercise. Exercise can improve your memory, so taking a study break to go for a run or even just a quick walk around the library could help you remember more.
  4. Link it. This tactic is similar to contextualizing facts in a story. Try linking an unfamiliar concept with something you’re very comfortable with. For example, if you’re trying to remember a list of five items, linking each item to one of your five cousins can help you remember the list.
  5. Say it out loud. We often memorize things by reading over them multiple times or quietly flipping through notecards. It can be helpful, however, to engage another one of our senses by hearing the information said aloud. Speaking the fact or definition out loud may help it lodge in your brain better.
  6. Make sure you understand! This may sound obvious, but it is important nonetheless. If you’re memorizing something, make sure you understand it. Ask your professor or FA clarifying questions if you have any confusion. Not only will your brain have an easier time remembering the information, but you’ll truly learn something from the exercise.

Hopefully these tips help your memorization! If you would like to brainstorm memorization tactics for a specific class or exam, make an appointment with studentsuccess@tkc.edu . We’re here to help!

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