In my experience, students commonly have two concerns when they or their parents seek
private tuition. The first concerns factual recall. The second concerns exam technique. I intend to deal
briefly with both of these issues here, providing tips to aid factual recall and improve essay writing
ability in particular.
Psychological studies have consistently shown that our brains work in very different ways. Some people
learn through repeating examples again and again. Some learn through visual aids. Others learn best
through sound. Each individual has very different memory functions from the next and we, in the private
tuition industry, are conscious of this fact. The following list introduces some of the best techniques
and strategies to help improve memory. Of course, it will differ from person to person.
- Focus – in order to consolidate learning it is necessary to have complete focus, removing oneself
from all distractions.
- Organisation – by organising and structuring the material you are studying you can take advantage of
the natural fact that our minds organise information in related clusters. Grouping similar concepts
together is one example.
- Relate to existing memories – by relating new information and ideas to information already
memorised, it dramatically increases the chances of recalling the new information.
- Mnemonics – this is a light-hearted way of memorising information which works by using positive
imagery or a catchy play on words and associating this with the material you want to learn.
- Teach others – reading material out loud significantly helps improve recall. Working with others is
a fun and challenging way to do this.
- Do not cram – memories take time to cement themselves in the human mind. Regular, structured study
helps to achieve this better than an all-night session the night before an exam.
- Focus on difficult information – we have a tendency to take the path of least resistance and focus
on the easy materials that we know. It is vital to tackle the difficult information before the easy
information – the order in which we take in this information plays a big part in how we remember it.
- Elaborate and rehearse – a great way to improve long term memory is to start with a basic idea and
build upon it each time you consider the matter.
- Variation – variation of study routine, such as studying in a different place, makes it that little
bit more interesting. Research shows that this helps improve long term memory.
- Visualisation – visualisation of charts and diagrams acts as a great cue to factual recall. Using
pens with different coloured ink is a simple but effective idea when making notes.
Exam technique can be tricky but once it has been mastered there is no looking back. One of the simplest
ways of structuring an essay is to use the PEEL technique. Point – make the point you want to make.
Explain – explain the point you have just made. Example – provide an example which backs up what you
have just said; it makes it much more persuasive. Link – link everything you have just said to the
question you have been asked. This lets the examiner know you are answering the question and makes it
easy for them to give you the marks.
This very simple technique can be used as the basis of any essay up to undergraduate level. Once the
individual has developed the intellectual confidence to stand by their ideas and express them clearly
they can develop a more sophisticated technique suitable to them.
to Prepare an Exam in a Scientific Subject in 2 weeks
10 Last Minute Exam