How to Make Your Memory Work for Exam Studying
Studying for long-term memory is no easy feat. Developing top-tier studying skills takes time and practice.
We’ve all been there, there’s a big test this week, and we’ve all stayed up all night last night cramming all the information we need to remember to ace the test.
Now it’s a week later, and we’re wondering what happened to all those facts, figures, and dates we spent so much energy studying? We did great on the test, but now that time has passed, we barely remember what class it was that we were studying for.
All those eleventh-hour study-a-thons and the eventual and inevitable forgetting should be giving evidence to what you suspected all along—that when it comes to studying and long-term recall, cramming doesn’t work.
How to Study For Long-Term Memory Skills
Developing top-notch study skills is one way of combating the so-called forgetting curve. Skills such as starting early, paraphrasing, and active learning can help you avoid last-minute cram-a-thons and hopefully help you remember what you studied for longer than one week.
Planning, organizing, time management, taking notes: studying is a lot of work! Wouldn’t it be great if a computer could tell us when to study so that we never forget? According to Wired Magazine, such a program exists.
The program was developed in response to decades of research into memory and optimal learning. Researchers found that there is an ideal moment to review material that you have learned so that you don’t forget it. It’s called the spacing effect, and it’s the best-known way to remember what you have learnt so that we never forget.
No Computers Needed for Long-Term Memory
You don’t need a computer to master this skill although a computer program can help.
The trick is to be able to recognize the moment when you are about to forget something and review at that moment so that you don’t spend too long studying something that you might only forget later. If we wait too long to review, then we’ve forgotten the material. Too soon, and there’s no point.
Practise Studying for Long-Term Memory
Practice the spacing effect and improve study skills. Here’s how:
- Look up a word that you’ve never heard of
- Write down the word and the definition on a piece of paper
- Wait a day or so and try to see if you can remember
- If yes, choose another word and wait longer
- If no, choose another word and shorten the length of time
- Keep track of how much time passes before you begin to forget
If you study when you are about to forget, you will remember better and for longer periods.
Oxford Learning Can Help!
The power of active learning can also help with long-term memory studying. There is a big difference between active and passive learning. Check out this article to see what they are.