It’s a feeling most people can relate to: you go to open your revision book, see all the information you’re expected to learn and wonder, “How on earth is all that going to sink in?”
If you’re studying for a childcare qualification and are looking for easy ways to memorise new information quickly, here are a few tried and tested ways to harness the incredible power of your brain.
1. Use a mnemonic
Although hard to spell, mnemonics are a fun and easy way to memorise new information. One commonly used mnemonic is where you take the first letter of all the different items you need to remember, then create a standout phrase from them.
For example, say you had to remember all the aspects of effective communication listed below:
- Be very clear about what you’re trying to say
- Ensure the person you’re talking to understands what you’re saying
- Try to consider the other person’s point of view
- Have a rapport (bond) with the person you’re communicating with
Highlight the first letter of all the words that you need to remember, then rearrange them into a phrase which you can recall really easily. For example:
Clarity, Understanding, Viewpoint and Rapport
Colourful Umbrellas Vanquish Rain
So, next time you need to remember the main points of effective communication, all you need to do is remember this handy phrase and all the information will come ‘flooding’ back to you!
2. Create rhymes
The human brain finds it easy to pick up new information when it’s in the form of a rhyme. If each line ends in a similar sound, it creates a pattern which is easier for us to remember, which in turn helps our brain encode it more easily. This is known as “acoustic encoding”.
Here’s an example of a popular rhyme which helps you remember how many days there are in each month of the year:
Thirty days have September,
April, June, and November;
Thirty-one the others date,
Except in February, twenty-eight;
But in leap year we assign
Using this memory technique, see whether you can make silly rhymes out of the information you need to remember. Here’s one we made up on the spot to help remember the difference between fine and gross motor skills:
I need my gross motor skills so I can run, skip and hop
I need my fine motor skills so I can hold a knife and chop
3. Learn the ‘One-bun’ memory system
Another effective way of absorbing information is to learn the ‘One-bun’ memory system. To learn this technique, you’ll need to remember the following sequence:
- One is a BUN
- Two is a SHOE
- Three is a TREE
- Four is a DOOR
- Five is a HIVE
Now, let’s imagine that you wanted to remember 5 reasons why a child might not be immunised. This could be because of:
1) parents’ fear of side effects
2) parental preference
3) religious reasons
4) child was unwell when the immunisation was due
5) child was previously diagnosed with the disease.
Create a table like this:
Now, you’ll need to link the items listed in the second column with really vivid, larger than life images which will help you recall the items in the third column.
For example, to remember the first reason for a child not being immunised – parents’ fear – you could think of a large iced bun trembling with fear about being eaten.
For the second reason, you could think of a huge clown shoe being passed from a parent’s foot to yours to remember parents’ personal preferences (you’re literally putting yourself in their shoes!).
For the third, you could think of a crucifix on a necklace hanging from a tree and it swinging wildly in the breeze to represent religious reasons, and so on.
Check through your list a couple of times – the larger and more vivid you can link the images in column 2 with what you need to remember in column 3, the easier it will be to recall that information!
Now, start by reciting “One-bun…” and let the link spring to mind.
Play around with each of these different memory techniques and see which ones you find easiest to apply. You may find that, depending on the information you’re trying to learn, a mixture of different methods would be most helpful for your studies. Good luck!