is copyright Michael Curtis 2010-2016. All Rights Reserved.

Try to Remember


For exam revision and learning new information, it is important to think about 'forgetting' and 'remembering wrongly'.

It is difficult to learn new material by re-reading it several times. There is no reason for the brain to memorise something which is presented to it without any effort.

After reading material, it is good to try to recall what you have read - without looking back at the original material!

In this way, the brain really is doing some work.

Sometimes, you will have a probability when you remember things: you are not certain but you think that the text book stated something. In those cases, do not convince yourself that your memory is correct; otherwise, you will, at times, memorise something untrue and then find difficulty erasing that false information.

Memory becomes sleepy and distracted after a short time. When you feel this happening, it is good to do a lower mental stress activity - such as organising your existing knowlege rather than memorising new knowledge. If you have a rest, have a plan for testing your memory of the text - in the way explained above.

A tool for testing your memory is 'flash cards'. You are presented with a revision question and then you try to remember the answer; and it is then that you proceed to look at the answer. It works well partly because you are not looking at a page where the question and answer are presented together; that latter approach can trick you into thinking that you have memorised something whereas you merely 'know it when you see it'.

People return to their successful flash cards days or weeks or months later; and discover what has been forgotten since then. It is a very well established method.

You can find flash card software online and create 'question and answer' revision tests for yourself.

Here is a flash card example where choices A, B, C and D are shuffled. The code behind it is quite easy for a programmer to adapt (it is one htm file and fcplayerbtns.jpg to deploy in one folder)

Shuffled flash cards example

Another very useful technique is called Acrostics. I cover that a bit later in this course.

A principle which is great if you have time for it is: study small bits often - but revise those bits often too. In that way, large memory projects are painless.