Memory

Do you remember sitting compulsory exams during secondary school? There was always one who’d turn up just in the nick of time, rattled and completely flustered. You’d have those irritating few who loved exams and would therefore turn up early, prepared and ready for action. And then you’d have those somewhere in-between who, on the whole, preferred coursework to examinations. If you are one of the latter and are looking to study an accounting qualification with the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), we have a little bad news; AAT’s accounting courses contain exams. Before you run for the hills, let us tell you the good news: if you struggle with exams due to having a bad memory, we can help…

“Never Forget Anything”

Have you ever blamed your bad memory on your parents? We at Aspiring Accountants aren’t afraid to say we have. Today, it’s common for individuals to believe that great memory skills are associated with genetics. However, researchers have just revealed that memory skills are actually associated with intra-neuronal connectivity instead; a neuron is a nerve cell. Therefore, it’s time to stop passing the buck. The Telegraph reports that through specific strategies, it’s possible for us all to improve our memory skills.

And with a recent study revealing that our short-term memory deteriorates nearly 40% when we stop being employees and become pensioners, now’s the time to train our brains in preparation for those later years while we still can (it might also just be nice to remember where we left our keys for once). Below we explore the first three of seven specific strategies reported by the Telegraph that let you do this:

1) The Method of Loci

Sometimes referred to as the “mind place,” “memory palace” or “journey method,” the method of Loci is an ancient technique which involves memorising information by ‘placing’ what needs to be remembered – say a number – at a point along an imaginary journey (usually in a familiar environment). When you want to recall that information in a specific order, you would simply re-trace your ‘steps’ on the path you’ve created. According to website RememberEverything, the method of Loci is one used by students and those working in sales to remember information. Stage performers have used this technique to memorize 100-digit numbers. The secret? Apparently, you’re more likely to remember things that are personal to you.

2) Repeated Testing

Rather self-explanatory, repeated testing comes from the idea that the more you test yourself on something, the better you can recall it. It’s a technique that will certainly be familiar with those studying for exams. Do you remember cramming your brain with information before a school test? This is not the way to do it the Telegraph states. Although you may think repeated testing involves re-reading something, it’s actually better to re-test yourself instead. There’s a reason why practice tests are so useful.

3) Elaborative Processing

When you associate previously stored information with new information, this is called elaborative processing. Say you have to remember a list of items. If you give each item a context, your recall is likely to improve. Perhaps you need that butter for a birthday cake you’re making for your brother. Or maybe those batteries are needed because the alarm on your bedside table has run out of juice. Studies have shown that if you link something that needs to be remembered with a specific context it’s likely to result in a better recall because you’re using a more complex level of mental processing.

Test yourself: Can you remember the first three techniques we’ve just written about without peaking upwards?

Ready for the final four methods? Head to Improve Your Memory; Improve Your Exam Results – Part 2.

If you’re determined to pave your way in the accounting industry, but are worried about taking AAT’s exams, why not give one of these memory-improving techniques a go? You never know, they could make a world of difference to your marks.

For more information on AAT’s accounting qualifications and the appropriate course provider for you, get in touch with Aspiring Accountants today.

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