Top tips to improve your memory

Mental abilityAre you fed up of preparing for test, feeling confident - and then walking into the exam room only to forget everything you revised? We’ve all been there. Luckily for us there are ways to avoid leaving blanks in your exam. Join us as we take a trip down memory lane with our top tips and tricks to improve your post exam memory:

Spaced repetition

Considering many students have extremely hectic lifestyles, it’s hardly surprising we forget things from time to time. In fact, it’s perfectly normal - and we’d be concerned if you could recall everything you did today. But, you need to find a way to inform your brain about information you need to keep. It’s an age-old favourite with many students, but spaced repetition can significantly maximise your chances of retaining long term information. It works by showing you the same revision notes for a long period of time and refreshing those minutes later. For example, you might see a flashcard for the first time and forget its contents – it’s OK. You see it again after a minute and the information is coming back to you. This exercise is especially useful to retain information from a whole deck (virtual deck) of cards. 

Positive thinking

There’s a lot to be said for a positive outlook. If you continue to tell yourself and others that you have a bad memory, the longer you’ll continue to forget things. Mind-over-matter is certainly a major indicator of exam failure (or success). Depending on your outlook you can actually train your brain to believe in your ability to succeed. So, stop making excuses and get revising. You’ll be surprised what you can achieve with a little self-motivation. 


It’s been proven that daily exercise can increase your memory. And no, you don’t need to be a fitness fanatic for this method to work. Try walking to your exam – 10 minutes of fitness, running, walking or other exercise can boost test scores. It’s been known that exercise can lift your mood, ward off depression and keep the brain free from dementia and memory loss. A study of 586 children, teens and young adults that was published by the British Medical Journal proved that 10 – 40 minutes of regular exercise can improve concentration, mental focus and academic performance. 

Study space

We’ve always recommended a study space and found it hard to believe the reaction to Sherlock’s use of this technique. The famous TV detective uses his study space to remember literally everything he comes across. These places are real and although they don’t work like Sherlock’s do, they are perfect for revision. Try blocking out background noise and visualising somewhere familiar to you, filled with images which by association trigger your memory. 

Image association

Trying to remember facts and figures can seem like one big headache – and it’s hardly surprising as this information means absolutely nothing to you. To make it something that you can actually remember, attach a visual to each number or phrase. This way you create a visual dictionary for your revision notes, so in your exam you’re reminded of familiar things, like places you’ve been or a face that you know. 


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