How To Memorize A Lot Of Info
How To Memorize A Lot Of Info
When I tutor students, I am always surprised that they perform more poorly in subjects such as Biology compared to subjects such as Physics. This is mainly due to the fact that subjects like Biology are concept-poor but high in information, whereas subjects such as Physics are concept-rich but low in information. For example, most of Physics has to do with understanding concepts such as Newton’s Laws and then being able to apply these concepts to different scenarios. There is no way for you to memorize every scenario, so you must simply understand the concept, which is very little memorization. Biology, on the other hand, requires you to understand few simple concepts such as the Theory of Evolution or Negative/Positive Feedback Loops and it has a vast amount of information that you just have to memorize. This is very difficult for a lot of students, especially in our modern society where often times it’s hard for students to focus their attention on something for a long time. So, how do we deal with this and what are some the best strategies you can incorporate in you studying to better help you memorize vast amounts of information?
“It is better to spend 1 hour a day memorizing something for 10 days, than spending 10 hours memorizing in 1 day.”
By this, I mean that if you are trying to memorize something, it’s better to put it in your long-term memory than in your short-term memory. Often times, students will cram the night before a test, be able to recall a lot of information during the test, then forget it all after the test. This is a very poor way to study and retain knowledge. And this method will certainly not work for Standardized Exams like the MCAT, DAT, USMLE, etc.
Let’s say for example you are trying to memorize something as complicated as the Clotting Cascade. If you read through it and spend an hour or so every day for about a week, you would find that it’s so much more easier to remember and recall than if you just cram it all into your head in 1 day. You will also find the whole process of studying and memorizing a lot more enjoyable and less stressful. Of course, this also means that you should start your studying well ahead of time (this method won’t work for cram sessions the night before a test)!
Another great method, that adds on to the motto above is to create flashcards. For example, I have had students who had such a hard time memorizing all the important reactions for Organic Chemistry. I would tell them to make flashcards with those reactions and simple explanations for them and then to read those flashcards every morning as soon as they wake up and every night before they go to bed. Each reading would only take them 10 – 20 minutes and before they knew it, they had memorized all the reactions!
So, these are great methods that you can incorporate into your studies to help you memorize lots of information. Remember, that cramming is not helpful if you want to retain and recall a lot of information!