Updated: Nov 22, 2020
Education levels in the recent decade have been getting more and more difficult to excel in. This is mainly due to the fact that studying materials have been brought down from higher tiers to a lower tier, which means that students will now have topics in their current syllabus that used to be in a higher level of study in the past.
Hence, the increment in syllabus content has been causing many students to feel stressed out and therefore under perform for their studies. However, there is a particular skill that is deemed to be the enemy of students, it works hand in hand with poor time management and have caused many students to fluster during their period of studies since the beginning of time: Memorization.
Memorization is a skill that we so often use during our time in school, be it for class tests or examinations. It extrapolates into our future when we are out of school as well: Memorizing the ways to answer questions posed during an interview, memorizing a transcript for a shareholders’ meeting presentation, memorizing the groceries your mum asked you to purchase when you are at the supermarket, and the list just goes on.
However, it is a skill that we struggle to keep up with, whether if it is because of age, or just because there is just too much to remember. So, what can we do to improve and boost our memorization skills?
Today, Math Lobby will be talking about how you can use abbreviations and mnemonics to compress the content and information you need to memorize, decluttering your mind from the unnecessarily long paragraphs and organize an easily-accessible “library” in your mind. Let’s begin!
1. Less is more, so learn to summarize
When we try to memorize something, it is often extremely off-putting to view a whole page filled with just words after words. This turns your mind off and places it into slavery mode, meaning that you will have to start forcing yourself to memorize in order to remember the things on that page. Hence, what you should do right from the start is to learn to summarize.
By summarizing the contents on the page, you draw out only the necessary details and information that will benefit you. You can start by firstly, highlighting the words that has actual relevance to the topic you are studying. Let’s take a look at an example of a physics topic’s definition down below:
Definition of Lenz’s law: Lenz's law, named after the physicist Emil Lenz who formulated it in 1834, states that the direction of the electric current which is induced in a conductor by a changing magnetic field is such that the magnetic field created by the induced current opposes the initial changing magnetic field.
Definition of Lenz’ law: Lenz's law, named after the physicist Emil Lenz who formulated it in 1834, states that the direction of the electric current which is induced in a conductor by a changing magnetic field is such that the magnetic field created by the induced current opposes the initial changing magnetic field.
After you have highlighted the necessary details and information that you deemed to be useful, next you should eliminate some of the non-essential grammatical articles (eg. ‘a’ and ‘the’) and the conjunctions to shorten the sentences. Then summarize the remaining keywords.
Lenz’s law: Direction of electric current induced in a conductor by a changing magnetic field results in the magnetic field created by that induced current opposes the initial changing magnetic field.
2. Learn the application of abbreviations and mnemonics
Abbreviations are essentially just shortened versions of words, and mnemonics are a set of initials that represents the words in the context. Learning to use abbreviations and mnemonics will help you to memorize things so much easier because of how effective it is at compressing information and storing it like “little blocks” in your brain.
A similar concept in our daily life is the use of an application called WinRAR on your computer, it basically bundles up the files and documents on your computer and compresses it into a much smaller folder, which helps in the ease of transportation in the digital world and uncompressing it by the receiver.
Let’s take a look at the examples of acronymically-created and abbreviated words:
In the topic of “Redox Reactions” in Chemistry, we have an acronym: OIL RIG, this was used to represent “Oxidation Is Loss of electrons, Reduction Is Gain of electrons”.
In the topic of “Electromagnetic Waves” in Physics, we have an acronym use: RMIUXG, or Rabbits Mate In Uniquely (E)Xpensive Gardens. This is used to represent the electromagnetic wave spectrum consisting of the Radio waves, Micro waves, Infrared waves, Ultraviolet waves, X-rays and Gamma rays.
3. Start early, make time your best friend!
With the various methods above, you must also be disciplined enough to allocate sufficient time in memorizing the contents. The earlier you start, the easier it is for you to make it a routine.
One method that was trialed and tested is to allocate a period of time, like maybe a month before an examination. Then, learn and memorize the content on the first night, and when you wake up the next morning, take a blank piece of paper and pen down the exact things you have learnt the previous night. If there are areas which you are unable to recall, study that for the day and repeat the penning down process throughout every morning until the day of examination comes.
Do not stop even when you have gotten everything right in the midst of the memorizing period, because memorizing is a constant effort, complacency will cause you to lose the clarity of the content you have memorized throughout the period.
And that’s all we have for today, students! Math Lobby hopes that you have gained some insights on the ways you can learn to improve your memory skill, and if you have any questions or inquiries, feel free to contact Math Lobby on our website, Facebook or Instagram page! As always: Work hard, stay motivated and we wish all students a successful and enjoyable journey with Math Lobby!
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