If – for example – I have to memorise 50 items, then I usually do this:
1. I have my journey. I make sure that my journey is very clear to me. If there is confusion later on, in most cases it is not the material itself, however one might have gotten ‘flustered’ with the stages of the journey. Definitely very important.
2. I change the first five elements into pictures, and place them on the journey. AND THEN: I revise those 5 elements already for the first time. Just to make sure I have them.
3. Then I do the same with the next 5 elements. AND: I revise those as well.
4. And then, to strengthen it: I do revise the first 10 element.
You might say: isn’t that a lot of revising?
No, not really. This is part and parcel with learning as in: making yourself familiar with the material.
The revision part as described above only takes a few moments, and is definitely worth it.
5. And then continue in the same pattern. 5 elements and revise; next 5 elements and revise. And then the whole lot: revise those 10 elements.
6. Revision after the study period: In an ideal world, you might revise the whole lot at the end of your study period; then at the end of the day; and definitely again the next day.
Don’t worry: those revision periods only take a few minutes. You can also ‘walk the walk’ during shopping; when you drive to the pub; or even when you watch telly in the evening.
And it is such a rewarding feeling, at the end of the day, when you revise your list, and ALL the items come back, that you have done a good job. That feeling is the basis for exam confidence.
And now to finish it: After the next day you might revise occasionally. No clear rule here, as once you have done the pattern as described above, you just KNOW what to do.
One example of mine:
When I give a course, say 20 students, then I do remember the names of the group. I should mention here, that I am fine with names (change them into pictures and place them on a journey), however faces are a challenge.
Nevertheless I can do it now.
So, on the first evening, there is a list of attendance, and I use this to familiarise myself with the faces (= attaching the face to the name to the stage on the journey).
The course is once a week.
When I started out, I revised the list of names (and faces) just before the next evening. And it wasn’t all that powerful. Until I changed the revision pattern. Now, when I walk home, after the first evening, I revise already the first time. At home, unwinding in front of the telly, I revise the second time. And I do revise again the next day: Stage 1 = this name AND a face; Stage 2 = this name AND a face; and so on. I have to say that this little change made an enormous difference. So strong that I can say that I go into class on the second eveing in very confident manner, because I not only know the names (the easy part for me) but also the faces (which used to be the difficult part).
Revision made all the difference in this case.
1. 5 items + revise
2. Next 5 items + revise
3. Revise those 10 items
4. Start again. Revise all the learned material
5. Revise at end of study period
6. Revise at the end of the day
7. Revise next day
8. After that: revise occasionally
I used a lot the word revise.
It simply means: walk the walk.
Walk the stages of your journey and once you get the memorised item back, that is ALL that is necessary.
Don’t overdo it.
And there is no magic in all of this.
It is plain and simple: Practice, practice, practice.