The UPSC Syllabus is huge and is often thought to comprise of everything under the Sun. But, contrary to the popular belief, the IAS Syllabus is indicative. There is definitely a lot to study and a lot to remember. Cramming will not work in this case, one has to thoroughly understand the concept, connect it with current issues, revise multiple times and build links, in order to remember everything that is studied. If not done in a proper manner, no matter how much time you put into UPSC preparation, you will feel underprepared while writing the examination. Here are FOUR simple tricks to help you remember everything you learn.
Creating mental associations is the fuel of creativity and intelligence. So, how to create mental associations? “Mind Maps” is one of the best ways! Create a simple overview of different connections related to the topic. This will help you in remembering all the details and also, in a sequence. It is also easier to remember when you draw diagrams. Visualizing information makes remembering easy!
Relate abstract topics you learn about, like inflation, to real-life things – such as creating an example in your mind about how you went to buy onions … and prices suddenly were double what you thought it would be!
And all new information you might get, such as, for instance, the Iran Sanctions, link to your existing knowledge about India’s own dealings with IAEA earlier, or to India’s troubles with Nuclear or Petroleum fuels, etc. The stronger the links you make – both to real-life examples and old familiar knowledge – the stronger your learning is. And the higher the chance of remembering things in crunch time (exams!).
Flashcards are the best for revision. You can quickly test your knowledge of facts, definitions, formulae etc using flashcards. Flashcards are easy to make and will make revising multiple times fun. Make the flashcards simple, do not stuff in too much information on one single card. Bullet points should work!
This technique will help you plant the new knowledge well and also reinforce existing knowledge!
It is said that teaching is the best way to remember things. While studying, study as if you were to teach the topic to some other person in simple language. This allows you to as questions to yourself and will also help you understand the topic in detail. Once you are done reading, try explaining it to someone. If you are able to do it effortlessly, that means you have understood the topic very well and will remember the information for a very long period of time.
Revision is the key to remembering everything that you have studied. You might spend 3 hours learning about a new topic for the first time. In the first revision you will be able to complete the topic in less than 3 hours, in the third revision, the time taken becomes lesser and so on. Multiple revisions will ensure that the topic is etched in your memory forever. This will also help in allowing your thoughts flow coherently even while you are writing the IAS exam.
These are some ways to be achieving more with less work! Start using them from today and keep checking this space for new tricks and memory aids.
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