How to... Remember Information for Exams

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Learn techniques to store more exam information to memory.

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Using the Tools

A very effective way of structuring information for revision is to draw up a full, color-coded concept or memory map of a subject. This will help you to see the overall structure of the topic and show you the associations between pieces of information. A good concept map can be an effective mnemonic in its own right.

The problem with this is that you can forget the label on a line on a concept map. A more reliable method is to take your concept map, and break it down into a numbered list of important points. You can then use one of the peg techniques (see links above) to remember the items on the list. Alternatively you can use the journey technique for longer lists.

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By associating items on a list with a peg system or journey, you can check that you have retrieved all items held by the mnemonic. Supporting facts can be associated into images or sub-mnemonics. These could be triggered by the pegs for the peg systems, or at landmarks if you use the journey system. Alternatively you can loosely associate this information with the facts coded.

Retrieving all the facts necessary to answer an exam essay question becomes as simple as running through the mnemonic in your mind. As you go, jot down the retrieved facts that are relevant to the question. Once you have written these down, you can apply any other mnemonics you have coded, or note any associated facts and connections that occur to you. This should ensure that you have all possible information available to you, and should help you to produce a good essay plan.

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