Me­morise th­ese re­vi­sion tips

The Jewish Chronicle - - EDUCATION - BY RACHEL VECHT sub-di­vided, us­ing images, sym­bols, colour and shape. your mind. Be­ing asked ques­tions helps to stim­u­late think­ing. Rachel Vecht writes at ed­u­cat­ing­mat­

HAV­ING SPENT over 20 years guid­ing par­ents, I now have my el­dest child sit­ting GCSEs in a few weeks. What ad­vice will I give? How well a child does in ex­ams re­flects not just their abil­ity but their at­ti­tude and method. Dis­ci­pline, plan­ning and pri­ori­tis­ing do not come nat­u­rally to most chil­dren. Doing well is about tech­nique (learn­ing how to learn) and mo­ti­va­tion. Ul­ti­mately, stu­dents have to be re­spon­si­ble for their learn­ing and will­ing to put in the hard work.

For many the stan­dard tech­nique of re­vis­ing is read­ing and high­light­ing. This be­comes quite bor­ing, pas­sive and in­ef­fec­tive. Mem­ory needs to be treated like a mus­cle, so that dull in­for­ma­tion can be stored. Me­moris­ing is a skill that can be de­vel­oped and im­proved.

Dif­fer­ent tech­niques ob­vi­ously work for dif­fer­ent peo­ple but to stay alert you need to keep chang­ing and vary­ing the re­vi­sion method.

Brains love colour, va­ri­ety, sur­prise and move­ment. The more in­ter­ested the brain is, the eas­ier in­for­ma­tion goes in and stays in.

The left side of the brain is largely used for think­ing about words and num­bers, while the right side is used for imag­i­na­tion. The right side needs to be en­gaged. Brains need a hook or as­so­ci­a­tion: pic­ture, pat­tern, colour, rhyme or story con­nected with other mem­o­ries. Th­ese hooks work best when they are de­vised by the stu­dent. Me­moris­ing should be ef­fec­tive, in­ter­est­ing and en­joy­able; most stu­dents feel bored, anx­ious and re­sent­ful.


Spot­light key words or phrases on pos­tit notes all over the bed­room, bath­room mir­ror, toi­let door etc. You can even cre­ate flash cards on­line us­ing apps.anki­

2. MNEMONICS/ACRONYMS Th­ese help to re­call in­for­ma­tion but are not so good for un­der­stand­ing.

3. MIND MAPS The mind ab­sorbs pic­tures bet­ter than words. Have the main theme in the cen­tre with dif­fer­ent branches com­ing off and 4. SUM­MARY PAGE

Keep re­duc­ing and con­dens­ing notes un­til all the ma­jor ideas of a whole topic are on one sheet of paper. Re­con­struct this sheet at the end of each re­vi­sion ses­sion. You re­mem­ber what you write five times more than what you read. Try this tech­nique: look, cover, write, check.


Me­morise some­thing linked to a tune or rhyme. Record your­self read­ing notes and lis­ten to them in bed,

walk­ing in the street etc.

6. TEACH OTH­ERS Prob­a­bly the best method there is, as this is not just about me­moris­ing but truly un­der­stand­ing. Ex­plain­ing an idea out loud to a par­ent, friend or even a teddy in your own words, helps clar­ify it in 7. PRAC­TICE PA­PERS

Prac­tice, prac­tice, prac­tice is ab­so­lutely es­sen­tial. The ac­tive re­call of in­for­ma­tion from mem­ory is the only way to re­hearse what you are re­quired to do in an exam. Ex­ams are about re­call­ing in­for­ma­tion from mem­ory, or­gan­is­ing it and ap­ply­ing it. It’s im­por­tant to prac­tice time man­age­ment and com­plete pa­pers un­der exam con­di­tions but if time is short, write brief plans to re­call the key rel­e­vant facts.


To com­mit a fact to long term mem­ory it needs to be re­viewed at least five times. Straight after, a day later, week later, month later, a few months later. There is no good sub­sti­tute for spread­ing out me­moris­ing over time.

Don’t for­get that ex­er­cise boosts mem­ory and brain power. Ad­e­quate sleep is also es­sen­tial as the brain pro­cesses the in­for­ma­tion you have learned and stores it. Find mem­ory tech­niques that work for you but make sure what­ever you choose, you are ac­tively en­gag­ing your brain.

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