Hey guys! Here’s a collection of all the tips I use on a regular basis to help with memorization. Three things before we start. One, keep in mind that this is mostly geared towards both visual and auditory learners. Two,, I’ll use Biology examples, but these tips can be applied to a variety of subjects. Three, when I talk about drawing, 5-year-old level doodles will do just fine. So, I hope you find these helpful!
Draw pictures of what you have to remember – break up whatever word you need to remember, associate each part with something, draw that something. Ex: thermogenin, you draw a thermos and inside of it, you draw a gene (as in, you draw a chromosome and shade a small part of it). This is my ultimate foolproof method for remembering vocabulary.
Make each page memorable. You can use colors, draw little arrows, make doodles, even if they are irrelevant to the subject you’re studying. Making each page unique will stimulate your visual memory and you’ll be more likely to remember things (this is why I personally include pictures of structures if I’m rewriting my biology notes on my laptop, otherwise, it’s pages and pages of text blocks and it all blurrs together in your mind)
Test fonts. Times New Roman in size 12 is the easiest font for our brain to process. There are studies that show that information written in fonts that are smaller and harder to read is actually more likely to be remembered. If you’re a visual learner, this is probably not true for you, I, for example, remember info best in Times New Roman 12, so that’s the font I print all my notes in. Try printing three paragraphs of information (two different pieces of information that you’ve never gone over and that is easy to understand, needing only memorization) in both styles and test yourself to see which one you remember better.
When you have to learn a process, visualize it, picture it in your mind, you’ll understand it a lot better than just repeating the steps in words. If a proteín is recognized by the cytoplasmic membrane and then enters in through a pore, imagine it happening. If you can’t picture something, such as structures, look them up on google images.
Sticky notes. Need to memorize a formula? Write it down on a post it note, stick it on the cover of a notebook/book and force yourself to recall the formula whenever you have to use said notebook. Check whether you got it right. If you didn’t, look at it, repeat it out loud. Try again next time.
Highlighter and annotations symbiosis. Don’t stop using highlighters, you still want them to mark important parts of the text. However, if what you want is to stay present while you study, the best method is to go through a paragraph and then write in the margin whatever you understood. This is not really useful in subjects like Biology (because you basically can’t summarize all that much, everything is important) but it’s perfect for more logical subjects like math or chemistry. I find it especially useful in summarizing formula deductions - instead of writing the steps in numbers and symbols, write them out in words, you’ll remember it much better.
Get the whole picture. Every time you come across a piece of information that relates back to something you’ve already learnt, recall that whole other topic. It’s a great way to review.
Rewrite your notes, don’t recopy them. By this, I don’t mean “put it in your own words” because you probably have already done that in your original notes (if you just copy what comes out of your professor’s mouth word by word in class, don’t, it’s not doing you any good). What I mean is, if you’re taking the time to rewrite them, you may as well reorganize them. Have to memorize a bunch of facts about a type of cell? Group them together. Which ones refer to its functions, which ones are related to its shape and size and contents? Put those together. If you don’t know how to regroup them just by looking at your notes, read through these and underline facts in the same category with the same color. You’ll be surprised.
Try to link facts or concepts when rewriting your notes. Ex: Don’t write
“-Meristematic cells primary function is to divide.
-They have little cytoplasm.
-They have few organelles.”
But: ”Meristematic cells primary function is to divide. That’s why they don’t need to have a lot of organelles or cytoplasm.“
Following this same line of thought, when highlighting, highlight only the ‘main’ point. The consequences or everything related should stem from there.
Say it yourself This method consists of reading two/three paragraphs, making annotations if necessary and then repeating these paragraphs to yourself OUT LOUD. You’re not repeating things like a parrot, you’re putting the information into your own words. This is the main method that I’ve been using since I got my first textbook and I was honestly so shocked when I saw that people usually study in silence. It makes the information stick so much better, but forget about libraries and oh boy, when you get to college be prepared to get creative with your study spaces if you have a roommate.
Make flashcards of vocabulary. If a month from now you’re asked to explain a theory or a process you’ve already studied, you’ll probably be able to recall the main idea. If you’re asked to explain a certain term/vocabulary word, the chances of you remembering it are… well, slim. So, even if the moment you’re studying it you’re convinced you will remember it, make the flashcard anyway. Oh, and remember the ‘drawing pictures for vocabulary’ thing? Draw those on the back of the flashcards.