One of the greatest fears many people face when planning on studying for professional exams is the possibility of getting into the hall and blanking out, totally forgetting what they read earlier. If this is you, you are not alone.
In this article, we will be taking a look at a number of tips and strategies that would help you register, retain, and remember what you study better when you need to. It is essential to apply some, if not all, of the following strategies to achieve good retention of information. This skill is a valuable skill that would serve you for the rest of your life.
Here are the tips:
1. Read Fast And Slow
The first thing you should do is read the text completely. A quick reading without going into details will allow you to obtain an initial idea of the topic to be studied. Then you must make a more comprehensive reading of the text to understand the subject and content.
The comprehensive reading should be detailed, attending and reflecting on each idea. If you do not know a word that does not allow you to understand the idea of a paragraph, look it up in a dictionary.
Highlighting some texts is a subtle way of telling your brain what needs to be remembered. Not everything must be highlighted. You must learn to highlight the most outstanding ideas.
Highlight the fundamental ideas or key points. When you highlight, you will avoid wasting time when it comes to studying the subject again. Thanks to this you will fix and focus your attention on those key points and make a quick but effective review.
There are different ways of highlighting. Some of them are:
- Linear highlighting on concepts or ideas.
- Making annotations outside the text or writing 2 or 3 key words that summarize the idea on the border of the page.
- Using conventional signs or own marks to mark important ideas, aspects that are not understood, etc. For example, an exclamation mark might mean “There is a big idea here!” while a question mark might indicate that “I need to research more on this. I don’t fully understand yet.”
3. Review What You Have Learned
It may not seem like an elaborate mnemonic technique, but considering that over time we are losing a lot of the material learned, it is one of the main recommendations if you want to remember the material. Each time we review something we learnt in the past, this memory becomes more consolidated in our brain.
4. Make Summaries And Outlines
The practice of writing summaries and creating visual outlines on a specific topic helps to exercise the mind and forces you to focus attention on the important subject being studied. This is an excellent strategy to help you remember better when studying.
To make this even more effective, you should try categorizing the information to be memorized, prioritizing some contents over others, and establishing hierarchies to help your brain digest this information at the cognitive level.
5. Use Different Ways To Process Information
We often think of studying as an activity in which we basically sit down reading a specific content until it is stored in the memory. Although this is the primary method of studying, there are many other methods of learning that could be of help. Some of them are watching educational videos, listening to educational audios, and engaging in exercises that allow you to put the knowledge acquired into practice.
6. Explain The Material To Others/ A Study Group
When you know that you would have to explain the material before others, it forces you to be more alert and to work more deliberately with the information. In addition, working collaboratively helps you enrich your knowledge of the subject with the perspectives of others.
It also makes the study more engaging. However, there is also the risk of deviating too much off topic or having too many opposing views on a specific topic. So, make sure you pay close attention to this.
Retaining and recalling what you studied is an undeniable factor in determine the success of your professional exams. Instead of giving up in despair, try practicing these tips and you will notice that these ideas come to you more easily.
Best of luck!