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  • Learn from the general to the specific -
  • Get an overview of the work by skim reading before you start studying.
  • Levels of concentration can affect your ability to memorize. If you aren't able to focus, you are not likely to retain much information. Determine what you need to do to enable yourself to focus (e.g., eat, take a short nap, a walk, several deep breaths, etc.). Figure gout your optimal concentration cycle - when is your optimal time to concentrate, eg, early morning or late night etc  and where eg your room or the library, etc.
  • Overlearn - especially to enhance speed, accuracy and confidence.
  • Take mini breaks - distribute your learning - this allows you to focus.
  • Reward yourself - for small gains and achievements. 
  • Be aware of your attitudes - and how you feel about a subject, especially the difficult ones.
  • Choose what not to store in memory - extract core concepts, decide what is important to remember.


Flashcards - Write a word or formula on the front of a card and its definition on the back. Go through the cards until you can define each word correctly.

Acronyms - Make up a word or phrase using the first letter of each term you want to remember (e.g., S.M.A.R.T. goals = specific, measurable, attainable, realistic & Time specific).

Create associations - Make meaningful connections between things you already know and facts that you're trying to memorize. Use diagrams, cartoons, sketches, mind maps, visualisation and humour.

Mind Maps - Draw diagrams of concepts that your are trying to remember. Be able to verbally explain the concept and reproduce the diagram.

Recall - Study till you can recall your work, not simple recognition. This means that you can define and explain material in your own words.  Review work after a few hours and periodically, this also helps escape the "short-term memory trap".

Recite and repeat - repeat out aloud so that you are using visual, written, auditory senses to learn. Repeat until you know the work to memory.

Imitate the exam - test yourself as if you're sitting in an exam - Write what you know; repeat this. Identify memory gaps and fill this in as you continue the study sessions.

Use your body - Learn actively - gesture, talk aloud, stand up, pace about, use your hands and act it out, etc.

Study groups - Join a serious group of students, preferably from your degree to motivate each other to study and to bounce off each other, the understanding of the notes etc.

Review old tests. Ask your lecturers/senior students/tutors or check the library for old tests and past papers. This may help to know what to expect in a test and can assist to prepared you better. 

Don't CRAM - Cramming is only minimally effective for getting good grades, but a GREAT way to learn and know content, is to work consistently.



  • Recall related information or brainstorm around it,
  • Work on something entirely different; this could cue up the information that you need to remember.
  • Use the information - teach it, review it regularly or talk about it. This maintains memory accessibility.
  • Don't panic - If you have processed it, you will be able to remember it.  Keep positive - remain calm, and keep going. Do other tasks if necessary.