Let’s say you have an exam in the next few days, and you want to be 100% prepared. You came up with possible questions, wrote essay-like answers to them and found out that there are no more than 24 hours left to learn them by heart. How to make your brain absorb this information faster and reproduce it easily during the exam? Here we offer you a certain technique.
1. First of all, print out your essay on a separate sheet of paper using a hard-to-read font. Easy fonts are less useful in terms of retaining the information. Re-read it.
2. As it is always better to divide the material in chunks, it is only logical to learn your essay in sentences and paragraphs. Make double spaces between paragraphs to separate them.
3. Start learning. Say the first sentence several times until you can repeat it without looking. Once you are done with it, move to the next one. See how you stood up and started walking? This is what most people do while learning things. It helps you stay focused and not drowse. After the second sentence is learned, repeat two of them together a couple of times. Then add the third sentence and so on until the end of the paragraph. This is how you work on paragraphs.
4. When you’ve done with the first paragraph, do the same with the second and then repeat both of them. Move like this to the end of the essay. When you’ve come to an end, it is time to have some rest.
5. Take your sheet and read the essay aloud to record it. Read slowly and with intonation. While you are having rest, play your recording in the headphones. If you are used to listening to music with the same track sequence again and again, you must have noticed that if you hear one of these songs on a different occasion you expect a certain one to follow it. The same rule applies to memorizing essays for school.
6. In a couple of hours go back to work. Now make an outline of your essay. Make a list with as many points as there are paragraphs in your essay. Under each point write a number of sentences in the corresponding paragraph and a few words every sentence starts with. If you are allowed to take prompts, you can take these. By looking at this list, you will easily reproduce the remaining part of every sentence. Try to memorize this list visually– it is much shorter than your essay.
7. Try repeating your essay aloud without looking at your notes and find out which parts are giving you the most trouble. Mark them with a highlighter to make them stand out.
8. Try to repeat your essay by using only the prompts, and then eliminate them as well. Don’t panic if you are still having troubles – your brain need some time to process it all, and after it has a few hours of rest, it will be able to reproduce a solid part of information.
This is the technique we are offering to you. Having tried it ourselves, we can assure you that it works. You might need to make some alterations – read less, listen more, for example – but the general framework of learning in chunks and recording it to replay again and again will not change.
We wish you best of luck and hope you pass your exams with flying colors.