7 Powerful Techniques to Memorise Effectively


Students always complain about the various ways they fail to memorise their study materials. One of the commonest forms of their forgetfulness is – unable to recall many points of some questions after seeing the question paper even when they were well prepared and completely ready for the examination.

Why kids forget lessons, especially before exams ?

When students keep learning and memorising things one after the other , the previously learned materials tend to get suppressed below the newly learnt skill sets. Sometimes students tend to remember things learnt long back, yet forgetting the newer ones.

Why so? Or to put it right, why students forget things they are supposed to remember, while they seldom forget story of a good movie?

The answer lies in the fact that the more parents and teachers give stress upon making children rote learn study materials without making them understand the basic concepts, the more they tend to lose interest in the subject. While trying to simply memorise without much understanding and interest in the subject, a time comes when they fail to remember.

Learning should be a lifetime skill acquisition process and not merely for passing few examinations. So to let students memorise effectively, parents and teachers should help them learn and understand the concepts instead of rote learn it. Understanding will not only help to memorise but also make student curious and inquisitive towards gaining knowledge.

Memorising strategies differ in older kids:

Now the question arises that how parents and teachers are going to encourage children from an early age to understand concepts and not to simply mug it up? At a very early stage of learning, when children are not so capable of constructing good sentences by themselves, rote learning helps to grasp the study contents. It also helps to improve memory capacity and attention building. But after a certain point, when the initial learning stage is over, parents and teachers should always look into the matter that children are actually trying to understand study concepts and trying to put them into their own words rather than writing word by word from books. This will also help students in improving their vocabularies.

Researchers have found that reading by self has better effect on memorisation than reading by someone else. One’s own voice induces a distinct stimulus of self recognition that creates memorable experience.

Role of parents and teachers to improve students’ memory :

Given below are a few very important and essential tips that parents as well as teachers should implement to motivate students to understand and write concepts on their own:

  • Help children to express ideas and concepts in their own words. Asking kids to summarise what they learnt in whichever language , is the best way to encourage them to do so. English need not have to be the medium at an early stage of life. Having grasp over vernacular is equally essential especially when it comes to understand things and not rote learn them.
  • Encourage them to be able to use own vocabulary while evaluating or explaining something to someone else.
  • Motivate them to relate the ideas learnt to real life situations by identifying them as case examples from their own environment.
  • Help children to identify differences and similarities between the concepts or ideas learnt. Best way to do it is to give examples. Narrate the similarity and difference between dancing and swimming, and explain how both are the forms of physical activity but the former is essentially a creative pursuit while the later falls under the category of sports.
  • Encourage children to strive for understanding and solving problems when numbers and components are changed.
  • Help them develop the sense that there can be more than one right answer to any given problem depending upon the circumstances.
  • Motivate them to seek meanings, effects, results and consequences beyond the regularised idea or concept.
  • Encourage children to understand and analyse cause and effect relationship behind everything. Children must critically question and be able to evaluate with reference rather than merely accepting things at their face value.

The OK5R Technique

There is a skills set for learning that every student should follow to memorise better. Student Academic Resource Center has termed it as the method of OK5R, that helps students to learn and memorise materials from textbooks in an effective way. The OK5R is the abbreviation of the study techniques suggested for students from the mentioned center that is specified below:

1. Overview (O) –

Students should follow this, by sampling a new chapter for 1-2 minutes to find out what it is all about. This can be done by checking the headings, sub-headings, questions and chapter summary. Overviewing chapter/topic helps to overcome the inertia to read and study.

2. Keywords (K) –

All chapters consist of these three major elements, viz. main ideas, supporting details and conclusion or outcome. Students, while studying a chapter, should try to identify and write down these basic key ideas that the section comprises.

3. Read (1st R) –

Students should thoroughly read the chapter aloud. Reading aloud helps function the sense organs (visual, auditory and speech) and in turn the brain, most effectively. Besides increasing attention span, reading aloud improves vocabulary and pronunciation as well.

4. Record (2nd R) –

Students, while studying, should record their understanding simultaneously. They can do it by keeping notes or discussing concepts with friends who are studying the same subject.

5. Recite (3rd R) –

Once the reading is complete and the concept is grasped to some extent, students should recite it or write it down without the help of the book. This will ensure the understanding and memorisng of the whole thing, and students would be able to evaluate that if any part of the chapter needs better understanding or re-reading.

6. Review (4th R) –

This should be done at least 2-3 times a week to ensure what was learnt and remembered since the lesson is still in memory store and not forgotten due to learning of new stuff.

7. Reflect (5th R) –

It means analysing the concepts. Discussing over the topic/chapter and thinking critically to gather more knowledge on the subject matter, time to time, will not only boost memory but ensure students’ interest in acquiring knowledge.