Written by Lysette Offley
You’ve heard me say a number of times, it’s no good expecting the material you need to learn to enter your head of its own accord, settle down into your memory banks and await your recall.
You’ve got to actively manipulate the information in whatever way is appropriate for you, for your brain to make a pattern of it and send it to your long-term memory.
Keeping it in your head for when you need it, is another story, but for now, let’s have a look at one way to manipulate that information, to pull it apart and restructure it in a form that your brain likes.
Yes! Your brain likes patterns. It latches on to relationships between one thing and another. It notices and remembers the similarities between things and the differences between them too. So that’s what you need to be establishing as you create revision notes from your course manual, training videos, lectures etc etc.
Of course, your brain is highly visual. It processes images much, much faster than text and this means that the more visual you can make your revision notes, the easier it will be for your brain to recall that information in the exam and beyond.
We’re talking signs, symbols, shapes, colours etc etc.
The fewer words you can use, the easier it will be for your brain to remember what you intend to remember.
And you most certainly want to avoid writing sentences, because they’re just too easy for your brain to forget.
So let’s have a look at a few symbols you could use to replace words, or phrases, which you may not have considered in the past, which, once you’ve got used to using them, will help you achieve what I am suggesting.
|+||And, In addition (Price + VAT)|
|-ve||Negative (-ve equity)|
|+ve||Positive (+ve outcome)|
|=||Equals, The same as (RO3 = tricky)|
|≠||Not equal to, Not the same as (Income tax ≠ NI)|
|± or c||More or less, Approximately (±$80Kor c$80K)|
|>||Is greater than (income > expenses)|
|<||Is less than (claim < £1000)|
|&||And (Ts & Cs)|
|!||Surprising (1000 millionaires!)|
|#||Number (Key #2)|
|→||Leads to, Implies, Suggests (Overcrowding → under-funding)|
|←||From, Results from (Innovation ← research)|
|x||Multiplication, Times (Commission x 10 clients)|
|@||At (1hr @ £95 or 5 yrs @ Uni)|
|?||Question, Debatable (Best policy?)|
I bet you’ve got your own shortcuts and symbols you can use, but are you using them? Are you making your notes as visual as possible?
Give it a go, and let me know the difference it makes to your ease of recall.