Memory is a process: we do not remember
This process has four different stages
it is possible to improve your memory by
training yourself to consciously move through
You need to be focused and
alert in order for your
memory to work.
If you are not concentrating
when taking in new
information you are
unlikely to remember.
If you don’t understand the
new information you won’t
use, depend on
the type of
learner we are
Active Revision / Passive Revision
• Write revision cards
• Annotate text or notes
• Re-reading your notes
• Copying out notes
• Repeating out loud or teaching the information
• Using past papers
• Putting your notes onto your computer
• Highlighting notes
• Using memory tricks e.g. mnemonics
Active Revision / Passive Revision
•Passive learning doesn’t work
•You need to think actively about the ideas
•Think – understand – connect
•Connect the things you are trying to learn to your
•Consider how you could use the information to
answer an exam question
“What have I just learnt and how could I use it?”
When you revise, what techniques help you
remember the information?
• Continuing to work on material after you have learned it
• Improves your memory of the information by reviewing the
learned material in other ways
• If you suffer from test anxiety, some believe that
overlearning is something you should do every for every
• Anxiety interferes with ability to recall information, so
anything overlearned should be firmly embedded and so
anxiety doesn’t affect it
Breaking Tasks Down
• Split your personal study time into 50 minute chunks with
10 minute breaks in between.
• It is important that you relax or do something physical or
creative during the break to refresh your brain
• This practice will help you stay focused because you do not
feel rushed to learn all of the material at one time.
• Also consider if you learn better in the morning or at night
Look, Cover, Write, Check
• This is a common method that works for many people
• It is useful for practicing terminology, quotations or reviewing
opinions of writers
• It involves………………….
• Revise a section of work
• Cover it so you cannot see it
• Write down as much as you can remember
• Check your answer against the original work
• See what was missing and repeat this again on a different day
• A memory phenomenon called the spacing effect, which describes how our
brains learn more effectively when we space out our learning over time
• The first principle of this theory is that memories have two different strengths
• Storage strength - doesn’t fade over time. Once information has been acquired
and the brain says it has reached a level, it stays stored. Storage strength can
only increase through repeated recall or use.
• Retrieval strength – the ability to access the memory – does fade. It changes,
and we need to regularly think and re-think about the information so we can
Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve
80% of what you
learn today will
be forgotten if
you don’t make a
to remember it
•The opposite of cramming
•Allows information to consolidate in long term
•Allows information to be better organised in
your long-term memory
Spaced Repetition Apps
• Anki App (but it is very expensive on iPhone)
The Revision Cycle
1. 10 minutes after learning something (e.g. at the end of the 10
minute study break which you take after learning the topic).2
2. 1 day later at the beginning of a revision session.
3. 3 days later...
4. 1 week later....
Test yourself again and again but with increasing gaps between tests:
Use your own words:
• When you write notes, this connects your ideas with your own understanding
Explain the idea:
• If you revise with a friend, doing this can help you understand and see if your
ideas are clear
• If you have to memories formulae, write then on different coloured cards and
put them around your house, so you will see them
• Once you know it, replace with another
• Collect them all together and test yourself
• Even if you do not actually write an answer, think how you would plan and
organise your ideas – visualise what you would write.
Remember : There is no “magic wand” or quick
way to improve our memory
You have to choose a method that works for you
You might use different methods to compare
them, or just to give your brain some variety
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