Memorizing information for a test can be challenging and sometimes frustrating. But memorization is a skill that every student needs to master. Whether you’re preparing for a test or preparing for the professional world, there are certain facts, principles, and ideas you need to remember in order to succeed.
For example, if you decide to attend a Dental Assisting program, you’ll have to memorize plenty of dental terms that will help you pass your tests now and perform effectively in the workplace in the future. A few things you would need to memorize are: the types of teeth and their assigned numbers, the names and purposes of dental instruments, the types of dental procedures, the symptoms of dental problems and diseases, the equipment used and practices involved in taking X-rays, and more.
Memorization is the foundation for your education, and the work you put into your studies now will pay off later. So focus your efforts on using the following memorization tactics to boost your test taking skills.
One of the challenges of memorizing information for a test is that you usually have many terms and ideas to commit to memory. That’s why organizing individual elements into related groups can be an effective technique.
In the Pharmacy Technician program, students learn the names of many drugs. One way to memorize generic drug names through grouping is to learn common suffixes. For example, drugs that end in the “-cillin” or “-cycline” groups are antibiotics. Understanding groups will help you quickly categorize and identify a large number of elements.
Memorizing through association involves connecting unfamiliar ideas with familiar ones. To practice this technique, try to relate each concept you want to memorize to a personal example, story, or analogy. For instance, if you are studying to become a Vocational Nurse and you wish to memorize the body systems, you can personify those terms to create a silly story out of them, allowing you to more easily remember each term and identify it on a test.
By using the learning style that suits you best, you can make memorization an easier and more natural process. Here are the three learning styles and a few ways to employ them.
- Visual – learning through images. To learn visually, create flashcards that allow you to look at terms and their definitions. Look at images, photos, and models of your subject material if possible.
- Auditory – learning through sound. If you’re an auditory learner, memorize while listening to music. You can also try reciting facts aloud or even singing them.
- Kinesthetic – learning through movement. Recite the names of movements while you perform them. For example, to memorize “dorsiflexion,” practice the definition by flexing your toes up in the direction of your shin. Many people who are training to become Massage Therapists use this technique.
Mnemonic devices involve learning acronyms, numerical sequences, or other patterns that help you retain a list or sequence of information. Once you commit a mnemonic device to memory, it can be extremely useful in improving your recall of the associated information.
Respiratory therapy students can use the acronym BAD TOMCAT to diagnose a cough:
Bronchitis or pneumonia
Drug side effects
Malignancy, e.g. lung cancer
Aspiration or Achlasia
Repetition is perhaps the most familiar – and effective – way to memorize before a test. Repetition takes time and creativity, so try the above techniques and reinforce them by performing them repeatedly.
Now you should be familiar with a variety of memorization tactics. If you wish to learn more about test preparation, contact ACC’s Student Services Department.