Memorization Tips for Students: How to Study and Remember Facts

Develop Test Amnesia? Forget No More

By Keren Perles

When you have a huge test coming up, you might find yourself drowning in facts to memorize. Use these tips to memorize lists of facts easily and quickly.

When you have a huge test coming up, you might find yourself drowning in facts to memorize. For a history test, you might have to memorize dates; names of people, places, and events; and definitions of terms. For a science test, you may have to memorize types of rocks, steps of the scientific method, or elements on the periodic table. It could seem like an impossible task! But if you use these tips, you’ll be able to remember long lists of facts – just in time to ace the test.

Break down the facts:

If you can split the facts that you need to memorize into smaller categories, you’ll have an easier time keeping them in your head. For example, you may be able to make several lists of facts to memorize for your history test: a list of dates, a list of people’s names, a list of place names, and a list of important events.

Although the ideas might interconnect, you’ll be able to understand how they interconnect much better after you have basics memorized.

Tackle just a few facts at a time:

Memorize three or four facts, and then test yourself on them. When you’re sure you’ve gotten them memorized, add a couple more and retest yourself. You may want to break down your lists into smaller lists, testing yourself after you finish each smaller list.

For example, you can break down a list of dates into “dates from before the Civil War," “dates from during the Civil War," and “dates from after the Civil War." When you finish each small list, celebrate your accomplishment!

Use music or physical activity:

If you’re an auditory learner, you can memorize the facts to a tune. You may want to record yourself singing your new “facts song" and play it over and over again to commit the facts to memory. If you’re a kinesthetic learner, you can listen to the recording while you’re running or biking.

Try some flashcards:

Write part of the fact on one side of the flashcard and the rest on the other side. For example, you might write the date on one side of a flashcard and the significance of the date on the other side, or part of a cell on one side of the flashcard and the function of that part of the cell on the other side.

Stack the cards in a pile and run through them once, putting the facts you know in one pile and the facts you don’t know in another pile. Often, just creating the flashcards can help a few of the facts stick in your head. Continue to go through the “unknown facts" pile until all of the cards are in the “known facts" pile.

Study with a friend:

Although you’ll have to make sure to stay on task, studying with a friend can make memorizing facts fun! Throw a ball back and forth while you study, or race each other to get through a stack of flashcards.

Completed all of that?

When you’ve finished memorizing all of the facts, reward yourself. Eat a snack, relax with a book, or call a friend for a little while. After all, you deserve it!

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