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How to Memorize for Exams

Updated on June 10, 2020
Priya Barua profile image

Priya Barua has found out remarkable ways of studying efficiently and has shared them with the online community.

Most examinations test your memory and not our ability to analyze problems (despite what they may claim). Even if, it is an analysis-based question paper, you need to recall facts and figures to support your answer. As a law student, I have to memorize everything, beginning from dates to sections to articles to cases correctly in order to support my answer. It can be taxing; it was during the initial years of law school but then you learn.

Of course, there are the ones who can digest information at break-neck speed and execute an answer script perfectly. I’m not one of them (unfortunately) and hence, I had to clean up my study space and decide on the best possible course to match up to my peers. If you’re anything like me, then you would certainly find this information useful.

How to memorize for exams?

The following tips can help you memorize for exams:

1. Pay attention in class

2. Try to understand what you're studying

3. Create Associations

4. Mnemonics

5. Read and Write it down

6. Revise

1. Pay attention in class

You may wonder why this pointer sits on top of the list? For starters, a teacher quizzes you on concepts and facts that he thinks is important. Section 123 of the Indian Penal Code may not be important in the grand scheme of things. But what’s important is that the teacher thinks it’s important. Pay close attention and you’ll find your teacher repeat certain sections, concepts, or facts, perhaps even elaborating on them. Note them down. Attend revision sessions. Keep up with the topics that the teacher focuses on and half of your battle is won.

2. Try to understand what you’re studying

It’s not possible to memorize word-for-word. I know a few who make that mistake and simply forget what they’ve learned. Try to understand the text – what is the author trying to say? Read it twice if it takes you longer to digest and analyse it. It really, really helps to understand the material before you start memorizing it.

Creating associations is as important as trying to understand your material
Creating associations is as important as trying to understand your material

3. Create Associations

Association building is helpful for concept-learning. Most subjects in college can be learned in association with each other. Torts can be learned alongside Civil Procedure Code or space law can be learned after an understanding of public international law. While, in school, most semesters are repetitions of previous ones. What you’ve learned in sixth grade gets repeated in twelfth grade which somehow gets repeated in your legal history class. My point is, you already have some idea about the topic you have to tackle. Rack your brain to figure out what you already know, read your old books to jog your memory or if it’s an altogether fresh topic like electro plasticity, then look up on the internet and skim through Wikipedia.

Associations also help with memory. American Constitution has 7 articles? Even Voldemort had 7 Horcruxes. Who was the successor of Julius Caesar? Julius-July. After July, we have August. So, the successor was Augustus. Need to remember the capital of Lithuania? Find out an actor (you know) who went to Lithuania recently (Vilnius will forever be stuck in my brain).

4. Mnemonics

There was this psychology practical which required us to remember nearly 12 sub-titles in a sequence. If you missed one sub-titles, then Poof! You lose marks. So, I made up a Mnemonics for those sub-titles. It worked! So, go forward and play and explore words to come up with your own mnemonics.

Need to remember the four stages of incorporation of a company? Promotion, Registration, Floatation, and Commencement. PRFC: Priya (my name) Really Facepalmed her Cat (I love cats). Need to do an industry analysis of a company? Use PESTEL: Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, and Legal.

Have you ever employed mnemonics while studying?

See results
Reading it out loud helps
Reading it out loud helps

5. Read and Write it down

Reading out loud is not the most practical method of studying. It never was. But reading out loud helps you to remember better. So only use this option if you are in a dire state. Write down dates and timelines and names of historic figures repeatedly whilst you memorize.

6. Revise

Revision helps consolidate your memory. The more you revise, the better you are able to retrieve information. Dates, timelines, names, sections and articles clubbed together is nauseating but I promise you, that it will get easier once you prepare and stick to a timetable to revise your notes. Revise your notes once a week to get the best results.

Bonus Tip:

I really think flashcards help to remember details. Try Quizlet. It’s free for use and they have a series of options that help you learn and memorize information.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 Priya Barua

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