8 Tips to Help You Retain Information

One of the great things about ILSPA’s Legal Secretaries Diploma is that it is not assessed through closed book exams. The focus is put on your understanding of the course material, rather than how well you can memorise it. Law and procedure can require in-depth study and a lot of concentration. Students who are able to train their brains to retain information will find it easier to process and move through the learning material with confidence.

Here are eight quick and easy tips to help you retain information: 

1. Repetition

This is tip number one because it is the most obvious. Repeating information over and over to yourself is proven to help your brain retain it. If you have a large amount of information to remember, you can break it down into sections and go over them again and again.

2. Discuss

When you have in-depth or large pieces of information to remember, try talking about them with other people. In a way this is an extension of tip number one, as when you discuss a topic you are automatically repeating things in your mind while you are talking about it. It also has the added bonus of allowing you to expand and assess the topic, giving you a greater understanding.

3. Share

If you don’t have someone to properly discuss the topic with – for example, if you are studying via distance learning – then try to share what you have learnt with other people instead. Find someone who is happy to listen to you talk about what you are learning, or you can try dropping certain areas of your study into conversation.  

4. Ask yourself why you remember certain things

People’s brains work in different ways, and people remember things in different ways too. Some people are better at remembering facts, some remember images and some even remember feelings. The key is to establish why your brain remembers certain things. Once you know this you can adapt how you are learning the course material so that your brain will retain the information better. Take a look at our previous articles on audible, kinetic and visual learners.

5. Create links

Create associations for certain topics to help yourself remember them. Think of it as a mind map where once you remember one thing it is automatically linked to other things in your mind, so you remember it all. You can link information to stories, situations or songs – whatever works best for you. You can learn how to mind map here.

6. Look things up

When reading or learning, if you come across a term you don’t know, stop and look it up instead of just passing over it. Being proactive and making the effort to look something up will make it stand out in your mind. In turn, that will help the topic stand out in your mind as a whole. Sometimes when we pass over areas we don’t understand, it creates a block in our minds that impedes the learning process.

7. Build energy and stamina

If you are tired or distracted, or have been studying for a long time, it is most likely you will not retain anything. Take a break and come back to it another time. It is much better to study when you have energy and stamina as you will be able to retain the information better. When you return to your course material, make sure you recap on the last few pages before you start something new to remind yourself of what you have learnt so far.

8. Focus on one subject at a time

Try not to make your task harder by overloading your mind with multiple topics at the same time. If you focus on one area, you can get a clear understanding of it. The tips we recommended regarding repetition and creating links will be easier this way.