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Learning Portal - Study Skills : Memorizing and Understanding Concepts

Memorizing and Understanding Concepts

This module will explain strategies for remembering the material you have learned. You will cover a lot of material over a semester and it can be hard to remember everything. These strategies will help you remember the material that you need for a test or exam.

Top Tips 

✓ Understand the concepts. Make sure you understand the concepts first before you memorize them.

✓ Start with the hard stuff. Use the stoplight approach if you are having problems applying or understanding key concepts (see the "Deciding What to Study" page for more on this technique).

✓ Create colour-coded flashcards. Making flashcards in different colours lets you separate them by subject.

Study Tools 

Create custom flashcards for yourself in Microsoft Word with this template.

How to Remember What You Learn

Strategies to Remember Information

Watch this video (The Learning Portal Ontario, 2016) to learn several ways to help remember key concepts once you understand them. 

You can learn how to use some of the techniques mentioned in the video in the Mnemonics and Flashcards tabs.

How to Use Mnemonic Devices

Mnemonic devices are one of the techniques that you can use to better remember information so that you can recall it later, whether in a test or in a job. This technique involves creating word/number patterns, images, diagrams, or other shorthand memory aids for complex material.

While you can create your own unique mnemonic devices based on what you are studying, examples of commonly used mnemonic devices include:

Word-Based Mnemonics

  • FANBOYS (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) - a way to remember the main coordinating conjunctions in English.
  • Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally (PEMDAS - parentheses, exponents, multiplication/division, addition/subtraction) - a way to remember the order of operations in math.
  • Every Good Boy Does Fine / All Cows Eat Grass (EGBDF / ACEG) - a way to remember the notes on the lines of the treble and bass clefs, respectively, in music.

Image-Based Mnemonics

  • The Narrative Arc - a way to remember the typical pattern or "shape" of the action and events in a story's plot.

(Claire Pienaar, 2021)

  • La Maison d'Être - a way to remember which verbs take "être" in the compound past tense (passé composé) in French.

(Claire Pienaar, 2021)

Watch How to Create Flashcards

Flashcards are a handy technique that you can use to remember information. Watch this video to learn how to create and use your own flashcards.

Attribution 

Unless otherwise stated, the material in this guide is from the Learning Portal created by College Libraries Ontario. Content has been adapted for the GPRC Learning Commons in June 2021. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY NC SA 4.0 International License.

All icons on these pages are from The Noun Project. See individual icons for creator attribution. 

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