How to improve your memory

Want to improve your chances of getting good grades on your exams? Follow the advice of Jackie Andrade, Professor of Psychology at Plymouth University, who has five memory tips to help you revise:

1. Work out what you already know

Try some past papers before you even start revising, then you can focus on learning just the new material rather than everything.

2. Test yourself

Another reason to practise answering past exam papers is that research shows testing yourself improves performance and makes studying more effective. That is true even if you get the answers on the test wrong.

3. Keep it varied

The more you revise a single topic in one sitting, the harder it becomes to remember anything. Memory works best when it can compartmentalise different material, so plan to switch revision topics every couple of hours.

4. Go outside

Being outdoors is a good mood booster and energiser. It also helps create powerful retrieval cues. If you only revise in your room, everything starts to look the same when you search for it in your memory. Getting out and about gives you more effective retrieval cues, helping you remember information as the topic you revised on the bus, or in the park.

5. Stay interested

Remember that you chose to study this subject because you wanted to know more about it. Tell your friends about what you have learned so far and why it fascinates you. Explaining the subject to other people will improve your understanding too.