Human memory is quirky, complicated and unreliable. Who does not remember entering the examination hall, only to realize that your brain has emptied itself of everything? Even though our brain has a vast storage space. The issue is recalling what has been stored. And this storage device chooses just the perfect time to malfunction: During your exams. But what can be helpful is not freaking out about it and trusting your memory.
Let’s take a look at some retention hacks which can help you sail through your exams:
Get A Good Night’s Sleep
This has to probably be the most underrated strategy. When we sleep, our brain converts facts from short-term memory to long-term memory. While we know about the importance of sleep we choose to ignore it. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep before an exam is very important for recollection.
Master Mnemonic Devices
Mnemonic devices are memory tools that help you recall things such as names, dates, and facts by turning that information into a memorable rhyme, word, or sentence. For instance, you can try to remember the colours of the rainbow using the common mnemonic name “VIBGYOR which correlates to – violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red.”
Remember More With Visuals
There is a high likelihood that the visual memory is stronger. We may not remember what we read in grade 1, but we will definitely recall some vivid images, that we had seen. The more absurd or strange the mental image, the more memorable it becomes. Thus, the best way to study abstract concepts is to try to draw or sketch them out. This can be applied to even some scientific, historic or geographic concepts.
The “Memory Palace” Technique
If you are a fan of the famed detective TV show “Sherlock Holmes”, then you are definitely familiar with this technique. Build a memory palace where you can visualize the things you want to remember and associate them with a place you remember.
Consider your house to be your mental palace. To remember your shopping list, start by picturing a big glass of milk, opening your main door, the slices of bread sitting on your couch and so on as you walk through the house.
For a better understanding of this technique, check out: https://litemind.com/memory-palace/
The Power Of Music
We always tend to forget names and numbers easily, but never have trouble remembering our favourite songs or childhood rhymes? That is because they tend to stick. In fact, our brain has a strong association with songs. So the next time, you are trying to remember or learn, match the words with your favourite tunes to help you remember better.
The Chunking Technique
Chunking is a term which refers to the process of taking individual pieces of information (chunks) and grouping them into larger units. By grouping each piece into a large whole, you can improve the amount of information you can remember.
If you need to run to the store to get figs, lettuce, oranges, apples, tomatoes etc. make a word that can be remembered. In this instance, you can use the word ‘FLOAT’.
Visualize Before You Actualize
An irritating habit that I have is the tendency to put my glasses somewhere, and then search the whole house for it. We have all faced this situation. One solution is to visualize your purpose before you leave the current room. To solve my “I-can-never-find-my-glasses” problem, I focus sharply on what things are lying on the table, so I’ll remember where I put it.
One the most annoying times is forgetting someone’s name. To avoid this, once you know the person’s name, ask them a general question. While they are answering keep repeating the name in your head. Introduce the person to your friend, address the person by name at the end of the conversation. This helps your brain create a visual hook for the name and face.
Meditating (It’s all in the breathing)
When we meditate, we are relaxed. We breathe deeply and slowly, The electrical impulses contained in the brain switch to theta waves. We feel calmer and more receptive to remembering information. To understand this better, can you recall an instance when you have pictured something, but fail to recall it even if your life depends on it? To make things worse, the more you try to recall the less you remember. But then it suddenly comes to you. This is because your theta waves naturally engage.
A healthy body provides for a healthy mind. Exercise gets the blood pumping which makes the brain work better and harder. Stress is reduced resulting in new neural connections. It also increases oxygenation to the brain and helps maintain healthy brain cells.
Does all this mean that following these tips can transform us all into supercomputers? Of course not, but they will definitely help in improving our memory. Memory is weird. But we still have to put our trust in it. At the end of it all, memory is not as bad as we feel, it will just take some regular maintenance and a little training to keep it in shape.
Also, check out: 6 Mental Hacks To Ace Your Exams