Exam revisions,how to memorize well?


We know more and more how memory works, so how can we best use it during revisions? How to produce this big memorization effort in a limited time without too much stress? Advice based on the contributions of neuro-education.

How to memorize well?

Memory is a fascinating faculty that researchers are constantly exploring. Their discoveries, in connection with the observations of educators, are today leading to the emergence of a new discipline: neuro-education , which wants the student world to benefit from the achievements of neuroscience.

So if you work on your revisions, it would be a shame not to take advantage of it, wouldn’t it? Especially since the researchers themselves offer you their advice! Thus, Professor Francis Eustache, neuro psychologist, Inserm researcher in Caen and president of the B2V Observatory of Memories, split in the spring of 2017 “ten useful tips” for high school students who are revising the baccalaureate.

We take up some of them here, mixing them with others. They are valid for any type of exam or competition.

Leave your lessons, your basic menu

You find so many resources and courses on the internet today – on paper, video or audio – that you may be tempted to put your poor notes directly in the trash (in any case, paper is recycled, right?)

Or , it would be a big mistake because more often than not, your courses and/or books have already served as learning materials for you during the year. Your memory has already fed on these “basic menus”. However, “memory is all the more effective as it can link information to knowledge that we already have”, recalls Professor Eustache.

So even if your course is imperfect, it has already allowed you to forge memories. It is therefore necessary to start from these often familiar notes which are like the backbone of your memory. Reviewing them quickly reminds you of elements such as the plan, the memory of anecdotes given by the teacher, related homework, etc.

Method advice : before starting your revisions, make order: for each chapter, gather in the same folder the courses, practical work, homework, exercises… And look at what you are missing.

Enrich your menu with other resources

Now you have to put some flesh around your spine. It is necessary to complete and enrich your courses .

– Often, it is already necessary to obtain the courses which you missed or badly noted. Start by asking classmates or other students from the same institution for their grades, then possibly go online to a course sharing site.

– Then, even if your course is complete, it must be enriched: find documents, new exercises, maps, sheets that allow you either to illustrate a course that is too abstract, or to better understand certain passages.

At the university, go to tutors, tutors, forums or working groups.

You now have comprehensive and engaging review material, move on to learning (normally re-learning) and gobble it all up, get your mind on the things to remember. It is the first of the three stages of memorization: encoding , which then allows the storage and retrieval of knowledge.

– if you are visual, summarize each lesson using the rich technique of mental mapping, if you like to tell stories, make cards with your own words, if you like numbers and diagrams, outline everything… Make your kitchen, the one that will seduce your intelligence, take into account your profile and your learning strategy .

– Do not hesitate to associate knowledge with those that are already in your memory, and to use personal memories, emotions (example of Professor Eustache: “Louis XVI was born on August 23, 1754”, “my mother was born on August 23.” This personal date helps me remember this date in history). If the information lends itself to it, we can also associate knowledge with places.

– Organize knowledge between them to retain more: the creation of plans, tables, friezes or diagrams allows you to remember more things. It also teaches you to create links between knowledge and prepares you for all the analysis exercises.

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