In our first blog post, we will discuss how to memorize lengthy material faster, and better.
It's a common misconception that the path to success is just to read notes over and over. And over. Rather, the true way to memorize a lot of material is to truly understand what you are reading. Yes, it is called memorizing, but memorizing is not just attempting to place everything in your memory. The only that will happen as a result is that during times of great need (i.e. a test), that information disappears from your mind.
Instead, there's a much better way to approach your studying. For example, let's say that you are trying to memorize 10 pages of writing of an Economics textbook. One way to approach it, the most common way, is to simply read it. 10 pages and 1 hour later, you finish, but realize, you forgot the first 9 pages. This doesn't have to happen. The best way to tackle those 10 pages, is to read with purpose. Read a paragraph. Then look away, and recite or write the main concepts of that paragraph as notes. Then look back at the book, and find the important details you've missed. Leave some space on your notes to come back, and move on to the next paragraph. Do the same process for that next paragraph, but after try to add the details you missed earlier back onto the first paragraph. This process reinforces your memory, and helps you remember key details. If needed, reread a paragraph, and rewrite the concepts. (A personal trick, I never take notes. I just review the paragraph in my head, and move on. The things I had just reviewed remain in my memory for a longer period of time.) Even if this process takes longer than one hour, your reviewing would be done. Your disappointing grade becomes an A, and you move on to the next test with confidence.
We will perform this method of study in detail below, using a paragraph from the Second Edition of the Principles of Economics by N. Gregory Mankiw.
"We have just seen an example of each component. Consumption is spending by households on goods and services, such as the Smiths' lunch at Burger King. Investment is the purchase of capital equipment, inventories, and structures, such as the General Motors factory. Investment also includes expenditure on new housing. By convention, expenditure on new housing is the one form of household spending categorized as investment rather than consumption.) Government purchases include spending on goods and services by local, state, and federal governments, such as the Navy's purchase of a submarine. Net exports equal the purchases of domestically produced goods by foreigners (exports) minus the domestic purchases of foreign goods imports) A domestic firm's sale to a buyer in another country, such as the Boeing sale to British Airways, increases net exports."
Whew. That was a lot. Did you take notes? Let's talk about what I wrote from memory of the paragraph:
1. Consumption-spending by consumers on goods
2. Investment- purchase of capital
3. Government purchases- using governmental cash to buy goods
4. Exports? -
See what just happened? I wrote down the main ideas- who needs the details? I realized I forgot what the definition of Exports is: easy to fix, just go back to the book. And my list consists of NO specific details. I didn't include Burger King, or General Motors, or the Navy's purchase of submarines. During the reading, it helps with understanding, but once I have understood it, I don't need it at all. Now, review the paragraph you have just read, but DO NOT fill out what you have missed just yet. Move on to the next paragraph and perform the same work. After that paragraph has been done, return to the first list and fill it out from memory. Did you finish the outline? Yes? Awesome. No? Review that first paragraph and fill out the list from memory. Awesome.
By using this method for every paragraph to study, your memory of key concepts will skyrocket. While this may take more than simply reading, the amount of memory that this will allow you to maintain is immense. Instead of simply reviewing notes and reading the book for five hours, 1 run through of this method is just as effective. Of course, if you perform these actions for 2, 3 days in a row, you will definitely be earning an A or B on your next test!
If you have any questions about this method, please contact us using the "Contact Us" tab. In the meantime, I hope this tip will improve your studying and make sure you come back for the next tip tomorrow!
Lewis Zou/Raj Mukkamala