Flashcards: Make ‘Em Right!

The other day I decided to sacrifice my Math Quiz Section in favor of three hours of pure study time for the finals. I must add, I do not regret this decision, as lately things with organization have been getting out of hand.

While studying for my upcoming Psychology final, which has just so many theories and hypotheses, I decided to go for making flashcards (these have some great advantages!) To make things a bit different this time, though, I put the definitions in my own words and added some comments relating to my life experiences, movies I’ve seen or songs I’ve heard. For example, one flashcard that came out looked like this:

aversion

From this experience, I realized that there are several things I need to do to make my flashcard-making time worth…my time. Because if you think about it, after spending hours (sometimes even days) drawing these up, how much do you actually study from them? I’ll be honest and say that I give up the second I put the pen down, thinking that making the flashcards was helpful by itself. So, if you are like me, I would suggest following these quick tips to remember more while  making flashcards:

1. paraphrase
1. Paraphrase
– always restate the key definitions in your own words. This is help you to actually think about the meaning of the words and remember them a bit better. Read more

Memory Techniques

Memory

If you have a hard time memorizing large amounts of material for school or work, there are several techniques that could help.

1. Give it some meaning:
Information is best processed when you apply some kind of meaning to it. For example, to remember random words “baby, chicken, music, tennis shoes”, you can imagine a baby in tennis shoes dancing the chicken dance.

2. Mnemonic Devices:
Rhyming, acronyms, songs, associations, anything that helps you remember the order of the words. A wonderful example of this is a poem to remember the number of days in each month:

Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November;
All the rest have thirty-one
Excepting February alone:
Which hath but twenty-eight, we find,
Till leap year gives it twenty-nine.

Check out these Mnemonics Generator sites: 1, 2, 3.Movie Get Out (2017)Movie A Dog’s Purpose (2017)

3. Flashcards
Memorization with flashcards cannot by any means compare to any of the methods above or below. Mindless memorization can get you through only for a short period of time: if you do not understand the material, you will not remember it in the long run. However, if the time is pressing and you must remember tons of keyterms and formulas, this would be a good way to go!

3. Categorization

Organize the new information into categories, map the concepts in your mind and link them to understand which concept leads to another. You can use charts, diagrams, or even the outlining note taking methods to connect all the dots in your mind.

4. Chunking

For long lists of numbers, group them into 4’s or 5’s.  chunking

5. Imagery

Come up with an image that goes along with the material. I’ve watched a great Ted Talk a few weeks ago, and oddly enough I still remember some of the things the speaker said because he associated them with weird images. Watch the video:

6. Method of Loci
This is a very interesting way to remember information and one of the oldest mnemonic devices. “This method was developed by the poet Simonides of Ceos, who was the only survivor of a building collapse during a dinner he attended. Simonides was able to identify the dead, who were crushed beyond recognition, by remembering where the guests had been sitting. From this experience, he realized that it would be possible to remember anything by associating it with a mental image of a location.” You can read more about it here: Health.HowStuffWorks

How do you guys memorize your class information?

About Memorization

Learned this the other day in BioPsych:

The reason why flashcards are a great way to memorize concepts and terms is because when you study with them, you make your brain work hard to retrieve information from your memory.The more you do this, the better it stays in your long-term memory.

—> To remember things better, you must make yourself retrieve that information several times. 

This is also the reason why simply reading over your notes a thousand times won’t help you study. Because you’re not working hard to retrieve any information, the info is not consolidated in your long-term memory and stays in your working memory (only up to 5 seconds max).