• Sunday, March 03, 2024
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Study less, score more


Good Morning, Nigeria! I am excited to be back with you, doing what I love to do, which is to equip students to be future ready. Is not there that we all belong? In the future. And you more than me. We spoke about the changing world in the previous article. I had promised to talk about getting smart, more efficient and faster at acquiring, processing and managing information. We have work to do this week. Let us begin.

There is an old adage that says no pain, no gain. If you have a commitment to excellence, you will experience pain as you read on. But, like I said we are talking about the future. Your future. The gain is in the future. The pain in the present. Okay, let me not scare you any further, and get to the tools and techniques I want you to grasp, acquire and eventually master.

Look at your life. Ponder over some of the activities which comprise your day. Studies? Good. Let us get a little more specific. What does studying involve? A lot of time! For sure. Are you smiling? It does, my little friend. Have no doubts. Your time is as precious as that of a grown-up. So, to be effective, you need to manage time. What are some of the aspects of time management? Scheduling, following up on the schedule, which, in turn requires self discipline, and self assessment. We’ll talk about each as I move forward.

Brilliant memory

But right now, let us talk about the activity that, I am sure, takes up most of your time. Remembering. Since you became a student, they have been giving you lessons, names, dates, locations, numbers, formulae, words, languages and several other materials to remember. Did you take lessons in memory? Are you smiling again? Let us examine this domain. Here is a list of items I need to shop by next weekend.








What I will typically do is I will jot down the items on a piece of paper, or on my mobile phone, take it to the grocery store and purchase the stuff. Let me try something different this time. I will introduce you to The Link System of Memory. In order for me to remember my list of grocery for a few days, without missing out on any item, I need to picture each item. I will visualize each item, and link the 1st to myself, 2nd to 1st, 3rd to 2nd, and so forth.

I will form a movie of my grocery list, with me being the chief protagonist. I need to follow just one rule while making the movie. The links have to be ridiculous, laughable, out of the ordinary. I’ll need to use my imagination. Here I go: I am sitting on my workdesk, communicating with you, when suddenly my ceiling begins to slide. Did that make you sit-up? I told you the movie requires imagination for it to be a hit with your brain.

Back to the movie.

The ceiling begins to slide. Before I have opportunity to react, it starts to drizzle. Little droplets of RICE fall on my cheek, and my hair, and skip and skim to the floor. It is raining RICE. I am not particularly thrilled. I get up to leave the workstation, and go some place safer. Multitudes of slimy, snaky objects steadily encircle my feet, and climb up to my knees. I hazard a peek down, expecting several snakes crawling up my body: NOODLES. Noodles are making their way up, engulfing me. Horrifeid, I yelp and bolt out the door. I shall complain to Mama and ask her to get rid of all these frightening events. I barge open the kitchen door, and march in. Only to slip over a greasy substance neatly kept all over the kitchen floor. SHAMPOO. Go on linking the items on the list to each other.

Why do you think I told you the silly story above? To answer, I’ll have to request you to close your eyes, recall the story and give me the grocery list. I’ll wait. Good! Do you have all the items? Do you have them in order? Aha! I’ll let you in on another secret. You will not forget it easily. Test my assertion. Towards the end of the current week, try to recall the grocery list, in order. Let me know the results. I would love to hear from you.

Tools to improve Memory

Was not that fun? Honestly, the idea of the write-up is not for you to have fun; sorry to disappoint you. The design of the entire narrative is to drive home the point that memory is a function of the brain which can be improved with scientific tools and skills. Perhaps, I will speak to you about other methods of retention in my subsequent articles. Right now, you want to know that significant research has been done in the domain of human memory. The research has been around for decades, tried and tested. You could lay your hands on it with relatively little effort.

Proponents of the science of memory have demonstrated incredible retention power. The title of Grand Master of Memory is granted to those who can commit to memory in sequence a deck of cards in less than two minutes, ten decks of cards in one hour, and perform several such incredible memory feats. Championships are conducted each year. Christopher Carandang of Philippines could recall 120 words in 15 minutes, in the 2012 championship. The participants in memory championships are tested for recalling names, abstract numbers, random pictures, etc.

I do not advocate you become a memory geek. You could, if you wish. The intention of this article is to instill in you a healthy interest in the subject, with the crucial motive to make studies easy and fast for you. The various techniques may be copious in initial attempts. But do it for fun. You will enjoy them. You will enjoy your studies, thanks to the skills you acquire in the process. You will also discover some practical advantages, such as recalling groups of people in first meeting, your contacts were you to misplace your phonebook, and of course, grocery lists for Mama.

Happy Learning! Remember to have fun!

Vinita Bansal is a finance professional from India. Having worked as accountant, company secretary, and banker, she left her corporate career to follow her passion for excellence. She conducts trainings for students that transform what it means to excel in studies and in life. You may contact her at [email protected]

 By:  Vinita Bansal