Memorizing your lessons is the number one step to success in your studies. But not all strategies are created equal. A student makes you discover effective memorization techniques to remember his lessons without suffering.
This article was written by a history student who himself used these memorization techniques to learn his lessons. He kept a blog for some time (unfortunately now closed) to share his tips.
He has now completed his studies, but leaves you some tips to help you study less but better!
The brain judges that information is important if it sees it often and if it connects it to a memory that you already have . This is the problem with courses that are too theoretical: if you cannot relate what you learn to a concrete reality, your brain will have difficulty memorizing this information.
For example, if I tell you to remember “Iéna 1806”, that probably means nothing to you: you will forget it in a few minutes, a few hours at best. If I explain to you that Napoleon Bonaparte won a great victory at Jena in 1806, allowing him to take over what is now Germany, this date “Jena 1806” will fit into a body of knowledge that you already have (Napoleon , Germany…) and you will remember it much more easily. Because you have linked, associated, new information with information already known.
A little further down, you will discover how to create artificial associations to memorize any type of information.
Emotionally charged information is important . That’s why you remember your favorite series much better than a metaphysics lesson.
In addition, your emotionally charged memories are preserved more durably than others: if you try to remember your childhood, you will remember your birthday parties. Not what you ate in the elementary school canteen. We can therefore use this feature to memorize completely “cold” information encountered in class.
– you memorize a cold and boring datum by associating it with another emotionally charged one.
– And you succeed in this tour de force by inventing a mental image , by visualizing information. Attention, I speak of mental “image”, but in reality you will use several senses in order to make it more alive.
Let’s immediately illustrate this technique with an example. Let’s say you are learning Spanish. You want to memorize the word “éxito”, but you always forget that it means “success”. In addition, it makes you think of the English word “exit”, which designates exit, and that confuses you. With the technique of associations, we will precisely use this resemblance by creating our mental image. For example, you can imagine that when you get out of the metro/bus/train, a huge crowd applauds you with a huge noise (which surprises you a lot).
You have just associated the word éxito (symbolized by your getting off the train) with its meaning, success (the crowd applauding you) by creating an artificial association and loading it with emotion (because your mental image has something absurd: why are all these people applauding you? It doesn’t matter, it makes you happy). In addition, this scene is multi-sensory: you appeal to sight but also to hearing.
– Of course, you memorize information better if you create your own associations . For example, try to create an association between the English verb “jeopardize” and its French meaning “to put in danger”. That’s it, did you find it? Good game !
If you lack inventiveness, here’s my association: I imagine a person visiting a zoo and almost falling into the leopards’ cage (spelling sounds like jeopardize), which puts them in danger.
You have just learned the basics of the association technique, which is extremely effective for memorizing foreign vocabulary… And all kinds of data.
Memorization techniques to retain lessons without suffering
Memorize complex information
We can also use the technique of associations to memorize complicated information, and therefore difficult to remember. I’ll give you an example from my history college experience.