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Categories: Studying Techniques

Change the record to fix your memory problems and learn anything 

By  Lysette Offley

Change the record to fix your memory problems and learn anything - photo of record playerA change is as good as a rest, to fix your memory problems – or so they say!

When revising for boring old exams you’d be forgiven for complaining that perhaps some subjects just aren’t that exciting!

And that’ll just add to your memory problems!


Because we’ve evolved to forget anything that’s unlikely to be useful to our survival.

That’ll be for example, anything to do with exams!

No wonder you’ve got memory problems!

Oh dear!

Fortunately though, our brains like something that’s different and so you’ll keep your mind on the job for longer, and paying more attention too, if you can get some variety in the way you revise.

On that score, have you considered using recordings to solve your memorising problems?

Change the record to fix your memory problems and learn anything - photo of microphoneRecording your revision notes may not suit everyone, and it may not suit the particular subject matter, but maybe occasionally, implementing the following ideas will be a breath of fresh air for your novelty-seeking brain!

Interested? Here are two effective ways to use recordings to learn and kick any memory problems into touch.

Active Recording

The information you want to learn needs to be put in a question and answer format. Devise a question, which by answering it, you demonstrate that you’ve learned that bit of information. Each question should test only one keyword or concept.

  1. Record the question
  2. Leave a space
  3. Record the answer

Change the record to fix your memory problems and learn anything - photo of woman with heaphonesThen when you listen back to it, you can say your answer in the gap. You’ll hear the correct recorded answer immediately afterwards which will either confirm that you know this bit of information, or will correct your answer.

The more often you use the recording, the more reliably you’ll give the correct answers.

If you can record the questions onto a portable device that you can play while doing something else, such as mowing the lawn, you can really make the most of the time available to you.

Make sure the volume is low enough, not just to keep you from harming your hearing, but also so you can hear what’s going on around you. Don’t use it when it’s not safe not to have all your attention available for something else – driving the car, or crossing a busy road etc.

 Passive Recording

This is where you record the information you need and simply listen to it over and over again. This method depends on repetition for the information to get into your head.

There are a couple of potential pitfalls though. You’re trying to solve memory problems, not add to them!

You don’t want to send your brain to sleep! Not if you’re trying to learn something.

Change the record to fix your memory problems and learn anything - photo of record playerChange the record to fix your memory problems and learn anythingIf you’re not engaging actively with the information on your recording, as you would in the first method, it’s all too easy to switch off and stop listening, especially if it’s your own voice you’re listening to.

No! I’m not casting aspersions on how interesting or otherwise your voice might be! Research tells us that you’re more likely to continue listening if it’s someone else’s voice you’ve got on your recording.

So, either ask someone else to record the information for you, or use the first method, and make an Active Recording and end your memory problems forever – at least where your revision is concerned.


I can do it, so why can’t he?

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Lysette Offley

Genius Maker & Founder of Genius Material and The Genius Principles. Working with professionals who need exceptional academic & professional development.

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