No matter your area of study, there’s no escaping having to memorize dates or formulae that seem to have little relevance to everyday life. Unfortunately, it’s a reality of academic life that we all have to contend with. As terrifying as your fear of not being able to recollect a thing on the big day may be, there’s plenty of learning tricks that you can use to make life easier.
Here are some practical learning tricks that were developed by cognitive and educational psychologists.
Psychology Tricks For Learning
Method Of Loci
“This learning technique has been in use for millennia and can even help you memorize scripts, poems, or entire essays!”
Also known as the memory palace technique, this strategy actually originates from Greco-Roman times. To memorize data, you need to create imaginary associations with locations. This means that you can memorize sequential data, by associating it with the sequence of a route or map. Still confused? Read on.
To memorize a lengthy poem, you can divide it into verses. Create an imaginary association between each verse and a location – let’s say your route to college. So, assuming the poem has 5 verses, you can associate verse 1 with your 1st bus stop, the 2nd verse with your 2nd bus stop, and so on.
When you need to recall the poem, go over that same bus route in your mind. Each bus stop along that imaginary route will give you a mental cue, allowing you to recollect the poem easily.
In fact, it’s the same technique used by orators in ancient times, when they needed to memorize lengthy scripts before the invention of paper!
“Chunking is an effective strategy to organize & store information in your brain in a structured manner, making it applicable to a variety of subjects, from history to medicine”
If you’re struggling to memorize and retain a variety of facts, you can organize and group your learning material into chunks making it easier to retain information. This is actually the same method we use to memorize phone numbers – remembering a string of 10 random numbers like 4-5-7-5-2-9-4-0-2-5 is not easy, but if you chunk it to 457-529-4025 it becomes a lot easier to remember.
This technique can also be applied to create groups with common patterns, so thinking of the pattern or point of commonality allows you to recollect everything within that group.
“Quite the opposite of mugging at the last minute, this technique uses a progressive approach to learn in stages & build on existing knowledge over a period of time”
Spaced repetition is a learning technique that would be alien to most of us, as we are so used to cramming! Studies have shown spaced repetition to be one of the most effective strategies for ongoing learning. The student should gradually increase interval time for reviewing learned material, as this significantly improves retention.
This means that once you’ve learned some information, review it the following day to test your memory. Then after a day, or two, and then a week. In the meantime you can also learn additional information, using the same strategy.
Jot It Down
“Studies show that physically writing stimulates areas of the brain involved in learning, making it one of the most effective ways to absorb and remember what you’re studying”
Pens and papers may be obsolete in our digital age, but nothing is more effective for learning than actually writing it down. Research shows that physically writing stimulates areas of the brain involved in learning, improving the retention of information.
Writing also gives you greater flexibility and you can even combine your writing with creating visual charts and maps to go with the information, as studies have shown that visual learning makes it easier to store and retrieve information.
These are just a few psychology-based learning techniques that have been found to be extremely effective, but you can also explore others like rhyming mnemonics and practice testing. Just remember, learning techniques won’t be of much help if you don’t have a healthy memory and brain power.
March 27, 2018