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Curious on Memorizing Tips

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by stitchattack, 09.24.14.

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  1. stitchattack

    stitchattack

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    I'm curious on how everyone retains all the information. I have 1 month until test day and I have a decent grasp of the content and remember most of the fundamental information but there may be other information that I don't have memorized. I heard flash cards help but I have a month left so that's not enough time to do any flash cards. The way I've been approaching is reading explanations after I do the passage practice (TBR and TPR SW) and hoping the repetition of certain content will help the other forgettable info stick. I'm not sure if that's a good idea but with limited time left, I think it's important to spend more time practicing.
     
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  3. sps27

    sps27 2+ Year Member

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    I am with you. I keep forgetting things over and over again. My method is to write down. The Next Step Tutor recommended writing things down several times over a period of a week or so. I haven't done that because it takes time. And as you said, we don't have much time. II try to go over my notes as often as I can and it consumes time. I guess this is going to be my life. Going over the notes over and over again till exam day. No other remedy.........and I agree that doing practice is imp but so is revision of notes, they have to go hand in hand I guess........
     
  4. the_fella

    the_fella

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    Mnemonics can be helpful. Do you remember the recent uproar over the SOPA bill that was supposed to censor the internet? I use SOPA as an acronnym: Somatic and Parasympathetic use Acetylcholine as neurotransmitter. LEO (is) A GERC is another (soft "G" like "jerk"). Loss of Electrons Oxidation (Anode) Gain of Electrons Reduction (Cathode). Things like this can be helpful.

    For certain things, you may find that the "Journeys" or "memory palace" technique works well for you. It exploits the fact that humans tend to be better at spatial memory. You pick a route that you know well. It can be real or imaginary, though real works better when you're staring out. You need to be able to vividly visualize the route in your mind. It can be the route you drive to work/school, a path through your house, really any route you know well. Along this route, you will find landmarks. These will act as "hooks" or reminders for the things you want to remember. I once took a course called "Music of The Beatles" (yes, really). It was a good idea for us to memorize the (British) Beatles discography. Their first album is "Please Please Me". Now, what you want to do is create very vivid images, the more graphic or otherwise "noteworthy" the more likely you are to memorize it. I used the path through my house as my memory palace. I enter through my back door. As I round the corner into my room, I see Paul (or John, or any of The Beatles) receiving oral sex (please please me...). Their next album is "With The Beatles" I continue my journey and go into my bathroom, getting into the shower. Whom do I find in there? The Beatles. I'm showering With The Beatles. It's important that you use the features (or landmarks) in the spaces in your journey as "hooks". That way you come to associate the object with your memory.

    If you were trying to remember a speech, for example, and you were talking about a boat at some point, you could for instance put an anchor or a sea captain (maybe the guy from The Simpsons) or something of that nature somewhere in your palace to remind you of this.

    The idea is to make the images stand out in some way, they can be obnoxious, outrageous, violent, or whatever. The goal is that you remember them. Does this help you?

    Making things into a song is also helpful. My former German TA taught us two, one for remembering the common dative case prepositions, another for accusative. One was to the tune of Camp Town Annie. The other one is a familiar tune, but I don't know the name of it. Haha.

    Some MCAT prep materials will teach you things like this. I learned LEO (is) A GERC from MCAT prep material. There's also a chart I learned to help you figure out electron oxidation states, or orbitals or whatever they are (that 1s1, 2s2 stuff). I have never found an explanation for that that didn't seem like it was written in Gibberish, so I just memorized how to draw the chart (but not the chart itself). You draw arrows through it diagonally, right to left, and that shows you the order in which the orbitals fill up.
     
    Last edited: 09.26.14
    stitchattack likes this.
  5. stitchattack

    stitchattack

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    I stopped revising my notes..I use a lot of stickies and stick it over the practice passages. With 1 month left, I'm going to focus my energy on practicing and hope that I don't forget all that on test day.

    I agree! Mnemonics are actually really help. There's a SDN thread dedicated to mnemonics..some of which I find to really stick.
     
  6. IslandStyle808

    IslandStyle808 Akuma residency or bust! 2+ Year Member

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    I trying to practice with memory palace now and it is pretty amazing.
     
  7. the_fella

    the_fella

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    When used properly, it's a very powerful technique.
     
    IslandStyle808 likes this.
  8. NextStepTutor_1

    NextStepTutor_1 Next Step MCAT Tutor Exhibitor 2+ Year Member

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    Practice, practice, practice! With one month left this is your best bet at success - so, really, I think what you're doing is spot on! Add in a couple practice tests and I think you've got a strong month ahead of you.

    I'd still recommend that you supplement this with flashcards. I understand not having time to write things down, but you can get Anki flashcards that are pre-made which are good quality, extensive, and give you the ability to practice them wherever/whenever. Food for thought.


    Good luck!
     
    stitchattack likes this.
  9. the_fella

    the_fella

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    Thank you NextStep, I was going to recommend Anki as well. I use it to help me learn German words.
     
  10. brood910

    brood910 2+ Year Member

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    I asked the same question when I started.
    Took MCAT twice and never got below 12 on science sections and I realized memorizing details for MCAT is pointless.

    YOU DO NOT NEED TO KNOW MUCH FOR MCAT.
    It's all about analyzing the passages and apply basic knowledge to the given information.

    KNOW THE BIG PICTURE
     
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  11. stitchattack

    stitchattack

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    Did you do a lot of memorizing for Ochem? Aside for the NMR/IR peak stuff and different function groups, were you able to figure out a lot from the passages?
     
  12. brood910

    brood910 2+ Year Member

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    Yes. I didnt really memorize a lot of reactions. Just know how nucleophiles/electrophiles work, etc. Even if you dont know the reaction, you will be able to figure out the product from understanding nucs/electrophiles unless it's a complicated one.
     
  13. stitchattack

    stitchattack

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    That's the approach I've been taking..along with doing passages in TPR. It seems knowing the substitution, elimination, nucleo/electrophiles, and electron withdrawing/donating are the key..I've been able to figure out answers based on knowing how those work. Doesn't always work but when I'm stuck in a rut, applying some of those principles seem to help out. Thanks for your input!
     

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