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The human brain is wired to filter out and forget information that it deems irrelevant for survival. Unfortunately, most of the academic content you learn in school falls into this category, which is why they are so easy to forget. However, there are strategies you can employ to signal to your brain that this information is essential and worth retaining. As you prepare for the coming JAMB, we’ll walk you through 8 practical techniques that you can follow to ensure you retain and remember all you have studied in the exam hall.

1. Pay Attention

When you’re studying, information has to go through three stages in your brain before it can be properly retained: sensory memory, short-term (working) memory, and finally, long-term memory.

The sensory memory can only hold information for 4 seconds before it gets eliminated. If you manage to pay close attention during those 4 seconds, the information makes it through to the short-term memory round. This is working memory, where you can actively process and make sense of the information for a bit longer – around 20-30 seconds.

But to permanently cement the knowledge in your brain, it needs to successfully move to the final long-term memory round. This is where limitless information can be stored for days, weeks, or even years! 

The key to getting information through all three rounds is paying undivided attention from the start. Social media and other distractions make you drop out of the sensory round immediately. Imagine trying to study for a math test while also browsing Instagram stories. The formula you just read will get completely bounced from sensory memory because your attention was divided. However, if you fully concentrate with minimal distractions, you greatly increase the chances of information advancing all the way to long-lasting long-term memory.

2. Study Actively 

Simply re-reading notes is passive. Active studying means constantly engaging with the material. For example, this could be pausing to ask yourself questions like “What did I just read? How do these two concepts relate? This makes you think about what you are reading, which makes you understand and remember it compared to reading passively

3. Make Notes

As you read, write what you read in your own words as if you are explaining it to a friend. If you discover that you can’t write about what you just read in your own words, it means you don’t quite understand it, and you’ll be forced to go back and study it till you know. As you make your notes, you can get creative by adding anything that makes you easily remember them, such as symbols, diagrams, abbreviations, etc, that make sense to you. 

4. Use Other Resources When Necessary

Apart from your class notes and textbooks, there are jamb cbt apps like Edubaloo JAMB app that give you an extra layer of understanding. The Edubaloo JAMB CBT app, for example, provides up-to-date past questions that help you test your knowledge in a CBT environment, as well as an AI snapsolver feature that simplifies complex questions with instant explanations.

All you need to do is take a picture of any difficult question, and you will get instant simplified answers and explanations for better understanding. Having multiple modes of learning enhances your understanding and retention. 

See the AI snap solver in action below

5. Associate New Information with Something Familiar

Try linking new information with something familiar. You can find relatable examples, analogies or mental images to connect with the new material. For example, when studying acids and bases, you could imagine them as characters in a dance. Acids could be imagined as dancers who eagerly donate their moves (protons), while bases are those who accept and match these moves. 

This method is also similar to mnemonics. Mnemonics are coded memory aids that transform dry information into catchy phrases, acronyms, or rhymes. A classic example: “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Noodles” to remember the order of planets. 

6. Active Recall and Space Repetition

When you study, you need to review and try to recall them repeatedly at different intervals without consulting your book. Try to remember as many times as possible before the exam. As you try, you’ll find the places you struggle with, and you can revisit them. This is one sure way to prevent forgetting things in the exam hall. 

Also, using JAMB past questions as you study is one of the easiest ways to actively recall what you are studying. If you are not using past questions as you study, you will also be missing out on identifying key topics and understanding the pattern of questions that are likely to be repeated.

7. Teach Someone Else

One of the best ways to solidify your own knowledge is to explain it to someone else. The act of teaching cements those details in your mind. It could be your friend, classmate, or even a family member. Lecture” them on something you need to remember for the JAMB exam and have them ask you questions and give you answers. Apart from helping you retain the information, doing this also improves your confidence, so you won’t be nervous when entering the exam hall.

8. Sleep and Healthy Lifestyle

This sounds cliche, but sleep is extremely important for memory retention. During sleep, our brains process and consolidate new information into long-term storage. Ensure you get adequate rest, especially the night before your exam. Additionally, exercise, eat well and manage your stress level.