We’ve all been there, staring at the same page for hours but not a word has absorbed in our mind. Personally, I have gotten irked by a student that always topped me in a test, but seemingly always studied less. When I had enough of it, I began to monitor the student throughout the semester. What were you doing differently from me that gained you the top position in class without seemingly paying attention in class or submitting home-work? How did you manage to remember the countless theories when I had to struggle to even comprehend them in the first place? Sitting down, staring at the same page for hours on end, was not the answer.
So what can we do to retain information better? There are a few tips and tricks that I have picked up along the way that you can think about adopting. Let us begin by figuring out how best you learn. You can try a variety of free online quizzes to assess this. My personal preference is using the VARK questionnaire. Once you know the style that you study best with, start researching your topics, delivered in the medium you prefer. For example, some of us learn better when we have a visual of the concept. Bars and charts help us retain better or even explainer videos. These are easily sourced on YouTube for most topics. If you prefer to read, peer-reviewed journals and textbooks may be for you.
The point is, we do not all understand information the same way, and understanding is the first step to retaining. When you do understand the concept, find other ways to practice the application of it. What sense is the knowledge if you don’t use it? If you are learning Spanish, start translating Spanish songs or speaking to someone fluent in it for practice. If you are into marketing, sit in any café or store and observe the ongoing according to the theory that you are focusing on. This, too, will help you retain the information and help you make quicker associations on the theory when you need it in situations of assessments.
Lastly, I would advise you to look at the rubrics provided. This is really where the marks are allocated in your exams or assignments. They usually lay out the mark allocation. Use this to your advantage. If they are giving two marks for formatting, spend a little extra time ensuring you have the right font size and line spacing. You will be surprised how much following simple rules assigned can help improve your overall grade. This is all part of working smarter, not harder, when it comes to gaining better marks. So, remember to work to your own strengths, and use any information that they provide you with to your advantage to attain the marks you desire!