Wednesday, December 27, 2006
REMEMBERING FOR EXAMINATIONS
Few people hear the word 'examination' without a slightfeeling of fear or distaste. In Speed Reading, I have dealtcomprehensively with methods for studying three to ten timesmore effectively. Here I'm going to discuss examinations inrelation to memory systems.Typically, the person taking an examination dashes to hisseat in order to use all the available time and reads his exam-ination paper so nervously, quickly and confusedly that hehas to read it over again to find out just what it is he is beingasked.At this stage he usually becomes flustered, desperately tryingto co-ordinate all the information which he thinks might relateto the question he is trying to answer, but which is buried inthe mire of all his other disorganised knowledge. How oftenhave you yourself, or have you seen someone else write anexamination, spending as much as 15 minutes of an hour'stime jotting down notes, scratching his head, resting his chin onhis hand, and frowning as he frantically tries to recall all thathe knows and yet at this moment does not know?Such students often possess more knowledge about thesubject than others. I remember at least three students in myundergraduate years who knew more about certain subjectsthan virtually everyone in the class and who used to giveprivate tuition and coaching to those who were struggling.Extraordinarily and regularly, these students would fail toexcel at examination time, invariably complaining that theyhad not had time in the examination room to gather togetherthe knowledge they had.Problems such as theirs can be overcome by preparing forexaminations using the Major and Skipnum Memory Systems,in conjunction with the link system.Let us assume that the subject to be examined is psycho-logy. Reviewing your notes, you realise that in the year's studyyou have covered four major areas, and that each area had fouror five main theories, four or five major figures, and a numberof experiments.Applying this information to the memory system, you linkthe name of the first major area with the first word of thesystem, list the main theories on the following numbers, themain figures on the next numbers and after that the experi-ments. For the next major area you repeat this process untilyou have covered the major key words and ideas for thecontent of the year's course. Should any of these items havesmaller items which you think might be significant, they canbe linked to the key psychology words.It may surprise you to learn that in circumstances wheremy students have applied these systems, their memory listfor any given subject in a yearly exam seldom exceeds 70 items!In the examination room they are immediately far ahead oftheir erstwhile "peers. When considering their answers toquestions, they simply survey their organised knowledge inless than a minute, selecting those items that are relevant. Inaddition, the items selected are already in an 'essay' form.In the example we are using, the answer to any questioncould take the following form 'in considering the problem ofblank and blank I wish to discuss three of the major areas ofpsychology, citing the theories of blank from the second, andthe theories ofblank and blank from the third area. In connec-tion with these areas and theories I will also consider theimportance ofthe following major figures in the history oftheseideas, and shall discuss in relation to the entire question thefollowing experiments: ...'Without having said anything our imaginary studentalready sounds well on the way to a 1st class! Indeed he maywell be, for as his initial fact getting-down task has been madeso much more easy, the amount oftime left to him for creativediscussion and comment on what he has written will begreater.To carry this last point a little further—it is advisable to pegon to your memory system creative or original ideas that flashinto your mind concerning the subject of examination. Theseoften make the difference between a 1st and 2nd class, yetnormally they tend either to get mixed up in a generally con-fused presentation of knowledge and ideas or lost in the heatof the moment.Smaller details, including the titles of books, articles anddates, can obviously be co-ordinated with the system explainedabove.Examinations are not all that difficult. Explaining what youknow in an organised and coherent fashion to an examiner canbe—use your memory systems to help you!