Recommendations for memory systems or exam preparation?

May I ask if anyone has an idea for studying a memory technique? My daughter has her GCSEs coming up in June and I’m starting to feel…

Hi - I’ve made this a new topic, because that seemed like the thing to do. Hope that’s OK.

I’ve not used memory techniques, except in one informal case, where I was trying to learn a Rubik’s Cube method and make it stick. The idea I followed was Spaced Repetition, where the idea is to keep redoing the task (or revisiting the knowledge) at increasing intervals. Apparently the optimum is “just before you forget” but in my case what I probably did was

  • do the thing
  • do it again later that day
  • do it the next day
  • then after three days
  • then after a week
  • and then after a further fortnight

People who like this sort of thing often also use flashcards: you print up a set of cards which you flash up as a challenge to yourself. You could space those too. You could even be clever, and redo the ones you get wrong more often, and the ones you get right less often. If you search for flashcards you’ll see there are various apps and websites.

Perhaps see

or more specifically

Two things which really helped me at that age

  • seeing a printed copy of the syllabus for each subject. I could see exactly what things I was expected to know, or demonstrate. I could not worry so much about things I had a good handle on, and study those I didn’t.
  • understanding, rather than memory. Although I had a good memory, the subjects I did well on were those where I understood what was going on. The ones where it was just a pile of facts I did less well on. For that reason I didn’t choose to study history. To have done well at history, I would have needed a story approach, which linked things in causes and effects, and trends, and what came before and what happened after.

Thanks Ed, its fine, I did think about starting another ‘topic’. Anyway, you’ve gone into some serious detail! Thanks 20,678 times.

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Hi Lawrence. I visualise things more easily than memorising them. I was useless at exams until I started using mind maps. I would go home after taking notes of the FACTS I needed to remember and draw them with little pictures and cartoon type images in coloured felt tips (20 for £1 at cheap shops). This is the hierarchy of hazard control as described in the Management Regulations (riveting stuff) it takes a while to draw things and during that time I found the information sunk in - and by imagining one drawing I could ‘see’ the next.

Also, I cannot stress the value of looking at Past Papers - previous exam questions with model answers and examiners notes. Hope this helps.

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Big thanks Paul for your help with the memory retention idea!