I think you’re going to really like this. It’s one of the more simple revision techniques that will enable you to prepare for exams and actually remember more.
Plus, you’ll feel more confident (and more calm) because you’ll be able to recall more stuff.
So, on with the…
What You Need To Know First
For you to remember things effectively, you need to bridge the gap between three aspects of your brain:
- Working Memory
- Short-Term Memory
- and Long-Term Memory
To be good at exams, you need to be able to commit a considerable amount of information to your long-term memory.
The long-term memory is the one we want to train to learn things for the exam. It has a HUGE capacity to learn but for the information to stay in there, we need three things:
These will make more sense when you read the technique below.
How To Do It
We’re going to learn the information using The Journey Method. This works for lots of types of information and can be changed slightly depending on the kind of information you want to learn.
The method is simple.
Think of a journey that you know really well. It’s a good idea to make it something you do every day.
For example, it might be as simple as the journey from your school or college, back to where you live.
Let’s start simply: Think about all the places you recognise along the way. For example, maybe you see a shop and think ‘That means I’m halfway home’.
Write down the places. Let’s say there’s 6. Make sure they’re in the order that you see them along the journey.
Now, we’re going to assign a piece of information to each place on the journey. But we’re going to use our imagination.
Let’s keep it simple and imagine that you want to remember something like the verb ‘to have’ in French (avoir).
At each point on the journey, you’re going to place something that reminds you of the answer you need, in order. For example, you probably already know that every verb in French has six versions:
|He or She||Il/Elle|
Each place you reach on your journey now represents one of these, in order. You can simply change the objects at each place to remember different verbs.
Now that you have that knowledge, you can come up with something for each of the conjugations of the verb avoir like this:
|I have||J’ai||Imagine a big letter J|
|You have||Tu as||Imagine 2 big letter a’s|
|He/She has||Il/Elle a||Imagine a letter ‘a’ looking ill with a thermometer|
|We have||Nous avons||Imagine a hangman’s noose lying on an avenue you pass to remind you of the ‘av’ sound|
|You have||Vous avez||Think of an American holding a vase and saying the word ‘vase’ over and over ‘a vase’ – avez.|
|One has/They have||On a||Think of loads of people all standing on a big inflatable letter ‘a’|
Now, walk the journey in your mind, placing each silly image at each place on your journey.
These are just suggestions. The more personal, silly or exciting you make the images, the easier they will be to remember. Your brain loves association, so make it fun for yourself. As revision techniques go, it’s pretty simple.
I’ve also made some of the images sound like the thing they represent, so as you walk on your journey and see a noose lying on an avenue, you’ll know it’s noose avenue → Nous av-ons.
Making sense? If you use your imagination, this could become one of your best revision techniques.
You can use this same idea to memorize far more complex ideas and even prompts for whole speeches. In this case, it’s a good idea to have a different journey for each verb you want to learn so that you don’t confuse them.
It’s also an idea to modify the revision technique to make your journeys longer.
NOTE: If you want to remember what to cover in an essay question, simply put an item that reminds you of a certain topic at each point on a longer journey. Then walk the journey as you write.
For more information and examples of the The Journey Method, check out this post.
How to Make the Memories Stick
Review the information on the following basis to make it stay in your long-term memory:
|1st Review||Immediately after learning it|
|2nd Review||24 hours after|
|3rd Review||1 week later|
|4th Review||1 month later|
|5th Review||3 months later|
You may not have enough time for that last review, but if you have, make sure you do it.
This comes from a German psychologist called Hermann Ebbinghaus who said that you’re likely to remember the beginning and end of something first, and that regular repetition would lead to ‘overlearning’ where you know the data so well that recall is almost automatic.
Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
The more you repeat something to yourself, the more it will stay in your memory for the long-term.
Just don’t try and cram it all in, otherwise you’ll only succeed in remembering nothing at all.
If you have any questions or comments on this or other revision techniques, leave them below in the comments section and make sure you share this with any other people you know who need it!
Category: Memorization Techniques