Flash cards are the perfect way to utilise active recall in your study. Whilst there are plenty of places online to download pre-made flash cards, the best method is to make your own as making them becomes part of the learning process itself. Grab yourself a pack of blank cards and get started.
Write the question on the front of the card – keep it to just one simple question. With only one on each card you’ll probably end up with lots of cards, but that’s fine.
Write the answer on the back. Don’t forget, we remember pictures better than words so focus on images in your answer, but do add a few words to the image for the greatest effect.
Mnemonics are really helpful too. These are patterns of letters, ideas, or associations which assist in remembering something. For example, if I was trying to remember the wives of Henry the VIII in the correct order, my flash card answer would look like this:
So in summary, one simple question on the front with a clear answer on the back that uses images and just a few words.
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management technique developed by Francisco Cirilo. It involves using a timer to break down work into 25 minute long intervals, separated by short breaks. Each interval is known as a pomodoro, from the Italian word for a tomato, after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a university student. Using this technique is a great way to help you focus on your study.
Here’s how it works:
Choose a task
Set the alarm for 25 minutes
Work on the taskTake a short break – maybe 5 minutes
Every 4 rounds take a longer break – maybe 30 minutes
If you become distracted whilst you are working, or realise you have something else to do, write it down on a piece of paper and come back to it later when your 25 minutes of focus is over.
This is a great way to study, especially if you start each pomodoro by recalling what you learnt in the previous one. Trying to recall what you have previously learnt is a great way to consolidate the memory and the pomodoro technique helps you develop a laser sharp focus.
Lack of sleep impairs reasoning, problem solving and attention to detail. Not only does a good nights sleep address these problems but it is an important part of remembering information too.
In one study 2 groups of students were given a list of unrelated paired words to remember such as “elephant/glass” and “star/ladder”. One group was given the list in the morning and tested 12 hours later in the evening. The other group was given the list in the evening and tested 12 hours later in the morning after sleep. An increase in 20.6% in memory was found in the group that had slept. It seems that declarative memory (that’s remembering facts and information), improves if you sleep on it.
And one study showed that napping for 45-60 minutes after memorising word pairs could significantly improve memory.
Research also tells us that it is probably best to sleep about 3 hours after learning for the best rewards. So if you are learning during the day, try and take a nap or recap a few hours before bed to reap the rewards of sleep consolidated memory.
A memory experiment was conducted on a beach. Participants were asked to memorise a list of words in two conditions: one on dry land and the other while scuba diving. The next day, they were asked to recall all the words. The words learned underwater were better remembered underwater and words memorised on dry land were more accurately remembered on dry land. There was around a 50% better recall when the learning and recall environment were the same.Other studies have shown similar results and suggest that the more your study and test environments are the same, the better your memory is.
It seems that novel smells might play a role in memory too. Perhaps because the part of the brain that first processes smell is connected to the hippocampus – the part of the brain responsible for memory. If you use a distinctive, unfamiliar smell when you study, smelling that same odour during an exam may help you remember more information than without the odour.
So when you study, try and keep your study environment, smell and noises as similar to the real exam environment as possible.
Flavonoids are a group of natural substances that are found in fruits, vegetables, grains, flowers, tea and (best of all!!!) wine. They have anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic and anti-carcinogenic properties.
Evidence suggests that flavonoids found in fruits have the capacity to improve memory and the effects of blueberry and blackberry appear to be most pronounced in terms of short-term memory. In one study people aged between 18 and 30 were given a smoothie before doing tests of their mental acuity. Everyone’s brainpower dipped in the afternoon, but after five hours it was 15 to 20 per cent higher if the smoothie they drank had contained 200g of blueberries.
Flavonoids are thought to increase blood flow to the brain and interact with signal pathways that are crucial to brain cell survival and growth. The changes they cause may help at the vital stage where a nerve impulse is converted into a lasting memory.
But make sure you buy fresh and eat the berries quickly because the chemicals break down over time.
Synapses are the connections between the neurons in your brain. Chemical and electrical signals pass across the synapses from cell to cell and the stronger the messages between your neurons, the stronger and more permanent your memories will be. Whilst repeating an action tends to make the signal between the cells stronger, stress can weaken your brains ability to retain information.
It turns out that regular aerobic exercise appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning. Exercising can mean that you retain information even under stressful conditions. As little as a 10-minute walk may be enough to increase the way your brain communicates between its regions and to enhance your ability to learn and remember. Exercise can also stimulate the release of chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells and the growth of new blood vessels in the brain.
So when you are studying or preparing for an exam, make sure you plan regular exercise into your schedule.
Most people read about 250 words per minute. But a few simple techniques can quickly double that speed for you. When we read we are slowed down for several reasons. First, your eyes do not move continuously along a line of text, instead, they make short, rapid movements with short stops. During these movements your vision is suppressed, and you are effectively “blind”. To reduce this, use your finger, a pen or a bookmark to follow along the line as your read. This alone will increase your reading speed.
Secondly, don’t go all the way to the margins. Start several words in, and finish several words before the end. You can increase this distance over time with practice. Try using a “Shultz table (there’s link in the notes below) to improve.
Finally, if you hear the words in your head as your read, you are limited to 400 words a minute. Reducing your “ internal voice” will make a noticeable improvement.
But be warned, faster reading doesn’t necessarily mean deep understanding, but it can certainly help you cover more ground to find the important details in a textbook.
Your brain can make sense of images in as few as 13 milliseconds. And like the saying goes, “a picture paints a thousand words.”
In one study, university students were asked to listen to statements that were completely new to them. Half of the participants were instructed to rate how easy the statements were to pronounce – which forced them to focus on the auditory element. The other half rated how easy it was to form a mental image of the statement – which forced them to focus on images. The students then answered a series of questions about the statements. Results showed that the group prompted to visualize the statements answered the questions two times more accurately than the group that focused on the auditory information.
So it seems that learning words is easier when you use an image. Try remembering these words: trees, hammock, cat, balloon. They are easily forgotten, but an image like this makes them easy to remember. And the more bizarre, or distinct the image you use, the more likely you are to recall it.
Always include images when you study, you can remember information more quickly and more accurately this way.
Cuevas, J., & Dawson, B. L. (2017). A test of two alternative cognitive processing models: Learning styles and dual coding. Theory and Research in Education, 1-21.
Choline is a chemical plays a key role in memory, learning and our ability to think. It is used to make the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine, which helps brain cells communicate with each other, keeps memories intact and is responsible for memory recall. Acetylcholine is involved in several stages of memory, especially the encoding of new memories and learning. It’s also involved in sustaining attention and helping us focus. Your body is able to synthesise small amounts of choline in your liver but most comes from your diet.
Choline is found in a wide variety of foods including eggs, milk products, beef liver, cod, and chicken. There are vegan and vegetarian-friendly sources including quinoa, cauliflower, tofu, broccoli, spinach, and almonds.
The recommended daily allowance of Choline is 425mg per day for women and 550mg per day for men. 2 egg yolks will contain about 300mg of choline. Keeping up your choline intake should boost your ability to learn and store new memories.
Pace 2018 CODE C contains updates for voluntary interviews, therefore we have created a summary of those changes. It’s hard to replace old knowledge with new. As a result, we’ve also included details on how they have been updated from the 2017 code.
The Home Office has summarised the changes for voluntary suspect interviews. The changes comprise new and amended provisions which set out in full the rights, entitlements and safeguards that apply. When you are arranging for the interview to take place it sets out the procedure to be followed. The changes take account of concerns that some suspects might not realise that a voluntary interview is just as serious and important as being interviewed after arrest. This applies particularly when the interview takes place in the suspect’s own home rather than at a police station. The approach mirrors that which applies to detained suspects on arrival at the police station with the interviewer standing in for the custody officer. It requires the suspect to be informed of all their rights, entitlements and safeguards that will apply before they are asked to consent to the interview and to be given a notice to explain those matters. You can find the original document here.