3 Memorisation Techniques for Studying 

by Christine Chadwick

Any level of education will involve some memorisation of facts, figures and methods in preparation for advancement or exams. Getting those data points to "stick" can be tricky, but it's certainly not impossible: you'll just need a little help. Try these three shortcuts to get more out of your study sessions and give your grades a little upward mobility.

So close you can taste it

Believe it or not, your sense of smell and memory are very closely linked. You can exploit this connection as you study with something as simple as a stick of gum. Pick a favorite brand and pop in a stick every time you open your book to study. You'll be associating the smell and taste of the gum with work and reading you've previously done while chewing it. This is an especially handy tip on exam days, as your gum just may help you recall those stubbornly mentally-misplaced answers and help you snag an A. Not a big fan of gum? Hard sweets work too!

Unleash your inner artist

You might jot down important bits of information - dates, formulas and so on - as you read your course materials, but when's the last time you drew a picture? Not idle doodles, but an image that actually encompasses your lesson. When you devote your brain power to transform the passage you're trying to remember into a different form entirely, it may stand more of a chance at remaining prominent and accessible in memory. For even better results, combine this technique with other memory-helpers like mnemonic devices to make unusual images come to life on the page. Not a very good artist? This method actually works even better for the art-impaired; the effort required to make a legible picture helps it become that much more memorable.

Pay attention to your attention span

Forcing yourself to read and re-read the same lines of text when you know they're not sinking in will only build frustration. The modern "internet-friendly" attention span means you may be able to focus for only 30 minutes at a time, so don't push yourself into an unpleasant and ineffective marathon session unless it's completely necessary. It's better to take a break about every twenty minutes or break up your reading. Take a walk, listen to some music, or do something fun like placing gummy bears on your open page every few lines and allowing yourself to eat one as you reach it in the reading.

These techniques will only work if you're comfortable and relaxed, so be sure that you are fed, hydrated and well-rested before settling into your studies. When you're at peak performance and you incorporate some of these smart tips, tackling exams may be much easier. Studying doesn't have to be stifling, boring or insanely difficult if it's properly planned. Remember the old joke about eating an elephant and just tackle it "one bite at a time."