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Published: Thu, 12 Oct 2017

Mnemonics

As you inch closer to your exams, it is important to think more closely about how you can use mnemonics on exam day. These techniques cover primary non-linear devices proven to align with the way brains function to provide optimum recall ability – an absolute must if you are going to ace those exams!

Let’s just quickly review why the linear techniques that are often drilled into us in school are ineffective. These rote learning methods do not actually mesh well with the human brain – repetition techniques simply put our brain into a state of disinterest. Research has actually proved this! In actual fact, our brains learn through association wherein our memories are put into a sequence along pathways in the brain and become much like an ordered system of topics and subtopics. This where the aforementioned techniques come into play, with people individually being drawn to certain learning processes: some like doing while others like saying, hearing, or seeing. To master these techniques, it is important to practice them repeatedly so that you essentially learn how to learn in a style that is akin to how your brain processes and stores information. Don’t worry – you will get a sense of which learning technique you like because you will feel comfortable with it.

Using these at exam time – when you are under pressure and need to deliver – is actually quite easy and may even help you focus and calm your nerves. In fact, you will be able to run through each mnemonic in your mind and then write down the facts that you retrieved from doing this along with any related connections you made when putting these together.

So, what is a mnemonic? A mnemonic is a learning technique which aids information retention. These can take many, many forms. One of the most common is the acronym, which makes a word out of the initials of other words to recall a larger piece of information. For instance, an acronym used to help memories chemical reactions is:

‘OIL RIG’ – (Oxidisation is losing, Reduction is gaining’).

Sometimes a memorable phrase can be created rather than a single word. A common example is the mnemonic used to remember the colours of the rainbow:

Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain —– Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet

However, there are other, more complex forms of mnemonic, too: numerical information can be memorised this way, and there are many uses for mnemonics in foreign-language learning.


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