How To Improve Your Memorization Skills Before Your Next Exam

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Hi, I'm Tanya!

It’s that time of the year when most of us are getting ready for midterms and even finals which means we have a few more quizzes or tests before the final exam of the semester. As a college student, one priority we are tasked with is remembering the material we are taught, not only for the tests but some, for a lifetime. Sounds easy right?! For some this comes easy and for others it can be challenging. I remember when I was growing up singing songs word for word when my mom would say “I hope you know your school work the way you know these songs.” I’m sure my Caribbean folks can relate to that statement!

         I tend to do well with memorizing but often times I leave it for the last minute and by the time the exam comes around I realize that I really did not retain much information. Truthfully, the real reason I am writing this blog post is because I knew I had some personal changes to make in my study routine and thought it would be a great idea to share for anyone else having a difficult time during their exam time. I came to this realization after I flunked a quiz and I am ashamed to say it was an open book quiz at that! I know, how is it even possible to fail an open book quiz? The answer, yet to be discovered. If you’re one that struggle with retaining information even after spending hours of studying your own notes, this post is for you. I’m sharing 3 ways you can improve your memorization skills before your next exam!



         In order to effectively memorize information, the best thing to do is prepare ahead of time. Those exams that seem to be more difficult, I make a conscious effort to start preparing at least 2 weeks before the exam and the quizzes at least 3 to 5 days before. I tend to read through my notes and highlight important information especially what I remember the professor putting great emphasis on in class. Flashcards are a very helpful tool as well. I like using flashcards due to their convenience and portability. This allows me to pull out my flashcards on long rides or even while I’m waiting. This helps prevent from extreme procrastination and last-minute cramming which is not good for our mental health. 


         This has been my life saver. I think my parents gave me the wrong middle name because if I had a choice ‘procrastination’ would be it. I’m known for waiting until the ninth hour to study everything. And it has surely worked out for me in the past but now I no longer have that luxury. Leaving studying until last minute tends to increase stress and decrease my energy levels from the moment I begin to cram to during the test and after the test until the grades are posted. Breaking your notes into topics or smaller more manageable sections helps with retaining more information. I do this by studying a particular topic for a certain number of hours in a day or for a certain amount of days at a time leading up to the exam. Or, I would even give myself a set number of flashcards to study by the end of the day. Before moving on to the next topic I make sure I review and test my memory by trying to repeat and explain what I’ve been studying before I move on to a new set of flashcards/topic.



         You can also retain information by incorporating the material into your favorite song or something that you love. For me I make up my own songs with the notes I’ve taken. I also like studying in the bathroom. Yes, I know you’re judging me but believe me, I get some of my best memorization done in my bathroom. I like to walk around my apartment reciting what I’m studying. Find what works for you and you’ll see how it helps. Speaking out loud also helps tremendously as I believe I retain the information better. 


         When it comes to memorization, repetition is key! This will help with improving your memorization skills. I strongly recommend studying at least 2 weeks before, you can study many weeks before just as long as you’re reviewing constantly but 2 weeks should give you ample time to go over your notes so that everything can remain fresh leading up to the exam. 

         I hope these 4 simple ways will help you to improve your memorization skills before you take an exam. I’ve made some adjustments, and these are all the things that has helped me to get good grades thus far. And I am almost positive you’ll see improvements too!

What do you do to prepare for an exam? What tools or tricks help you to memorize your material? I’d love to hear what you do!  Leave a comment below and share some of your tips with me.

xoxo, Tanya

Comments +

  1. Hannah Erica says:

    It’s a trick to those open book quizzes. They make the questions so you have to read it 3 times to understand what is said, then they have 2 answers that are so closely related.

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