Over time, psychologists have made several discoveries about how memory works. These have been assembled here in the form of study tips, which may help you to complete your course assignments with more ease.
1. Find a working pattern which best suits you. For example, a series of short study periods are often better than one long one.
2. Before you actually start the study period, decide how long it is going to be and what you will do at the end of that period.
3. So that you won’t have to break off during your study period to find pens or whatever, organise you study area to suit your anticipated requirements.
4. Make your study area as comfortable as it can be.
5. If you have some favourite television programme or social activity which might compete with your study, try to use some of those short periods of the day which might otherwise be wasted.
6. Set learning targets for yourself - what you will learn and by when. If you do not meet the target, ask why. For example, was the target unrealistic or otherwise.
7. Test yourself at the end of each study period.
8. Be an active learner.
9. When reading new material, scan it quickly beforehand, looking at the headings, summaries and anything highlighted, and think of questions which you hope that the text may answer.
10. Use a highlighter pen to pick out the main points in the text or bits that you did not know. If the text from which you are working does not belong to you photocopy it first.
11. As you go about your daily life think about everyday events which relate to whatever you are studying.
12. Reduce your notes to keywords or phrases. This makes you read your notes and helps to put them in your memory. When reading the keywords afterwards, you actively have to think of their meaning which is a useful facility needed at an exam.
13. Work out mnemonics for lists which you might forget.
14. Return to a topic soon after you have learnt it. Most forgetting occurs within the first 24 hours. A few minutes spent relearning ensures that more of the information goes into your long term memory.
15. If a mental block arrives and you cannot remember something, do not worry ... the information is simply in storage. The problem is only one of retrieval. Try thinking of related things and what you were doing when you first came across the material.
16. Relearning is always quicker and easier than learning for the first time. Even if you later do not remember something at the beginning of a study programme, a short relearning will bring it flooding back.
17. If you are doing a revision, try brainstorming. Most of our information stored is connected. Try writing down things which you do remember and as you do so you will find other things come to mind.
18. Sometimes two topics or aspects of a subject can become confused with each other due to a few superficial similarities. Choose one of them and then learn it thoroughly. Then approach the other one. Make a conscious effort to pick out the differences.
19. If something in your text does not make sense to you, ask a fellow student or teacher. The notes, text or whatever may contain a fault or you may simply be missing a point.