Repetition – The Test Prep Solution!
I have tried the conventional methods of study — flash cards, recitation, study games, practice questions, mind mapping., But despite my greatest commitment to these methods, I continued to struggle with tests. Until I found it. A light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Finally the solution.
It’s a funny thing really, because it seems so similar to other methods, But it’s also so different because it connects visual and physical to memory.
Create a List – then Repeat
I create a list of handwritten notes and organize everything into categories with bullets. Each topic has a title and then the list following. Once I have the paper(s) filled with lists, I pick the first list and write it on another piece of paper. I try to do it by memory, but at first I have to peek at the answer. But I continue to write down the list on other pieces of paper and eventually I can do it by memory. For example, when trying to memorize Maslow’s Need Hierarchy, the list would look like so:
- Maslow’s Need Theory
- Safety and security
I could then move on to the next list and repeatedly write that list. The physical motion as well as the visual viewing of something in a consistent manner put it to memory.
For Difficult Lists – Take a Walk
For the more difficult/long lists, I create sentences that will help me remember the first letter of each point. For example:
This list might become something like, “Baby boys must chew bite-sized turkey.” Something like that.
This method also really helps with the order of the points in the list. Be creating the sentence, i will be able to remember the order of each point.
Again, with this method, I also apply the repetition, and I continue to write the lists and commit them to memory physically and visually.
Additionally, many studies require a diagram or labelled image. The same method can be applied to this. It starts out with knowing what needs to be labelled. In psychology, for example, the human brain and the different parts must be labelled. So I start with a list:
Parts of the Brain:
- Limbic System
- Corpus Callosum
If I can’t remember the list after writing it multiple times, I create my memory sentence. Once I know what I’ll need to label, I turn my focus to the diagram. Same approach, same repetition. It’s repetition of repetition. Go figure.
So I draw the diagram repeatedly with all the parts nicely drawn out until I look like a crazy person with dozens of pictures of heads surrounding me. Once I’ve mastered the diagram, I begin adding the labels to the diagram. So I draw the diagram and add the labels, and then draw another diagram. And add the labels again. More diagrams, more labels. I do this until I can do it by memory and show all my friends how cool I am.
Lists: this is how I activate the visual and physical (touch) parts of my brain to study for a test. See also – How to Memorize anything
More about Repetition