Getting to the top of the class requires you to have an edge. Use these memorization tips that will help you work more effectively, not harder.
Visualization is one way the mind can retain information easily. Use this technique to master the information you need to memorize. Attempt to create a visualization of whatever you are focusing on. For example, if you are learning about an ancient culture, than you could put yourself in the shoes of one of the key historical figures. What was it like to be in their life? Try to use all of your senses. The richer the visualization, the better. What did they wear, eat, drink? Who did they socialize with? Why? What made them tick? As you try to get under their skin also review the content you need to remember. Your visualizations will help your brain trigger the material you need to know. Another way to go about memorizing a concept is through drawing. For example, you could illustrate a scientific concept with a picture. Don't be shy. You don't have to explain your picture to anyone else, as long as it makes sense to you. Once you get rolling with the idea you could add color or maybe some dialog bubbles, get as creative as you want. The illustrations you create will help you retain the material you need to memorize.
If you ever had a song get stuck in your mind than you already know the power of auditory tools in memorizing information. Children are often taught material in song format so they can learn and remember the information easily. Think about all of the teaching songs children are taught to remember information. Put this technique to work for you and the material you need to memorize. Put whatever you need to memorize into a song. Use a tune you already know and rewrite the lyrics. It does not need to be perfect or even acceptable for anyone else's ears, this is just for you. Rewriting song lyrics may take some time, but the rewards are clear. Once you have the words rewritten with the information you need to know you may not be able to forget the new lyrics.
Association is another technique to memorize information. With association you connect the new material with older information. Try to connect the information you need to learn with something already familiar. For example, if you were trying to learn the periodic table of elements you could associate each element with one of your friends. Create a personality for each element. What would they like to do with their free time? What do they like to eat? Who do they hang out with? Association is a powerful tool your mind uses in everyday life. Get creative while using the technique to memorize what you need to know.
Peer pressure is highly motivational and can be used as leverage tool. If you have to teach others information, then you master the information beforehand. Study groups made up of three or four other students can be very effective in helping you learn and retain information. One way to set up your study group would be separating the class material. Each study group member would get a chapter to teach the rest of the group. After presenting the material they would answer any questions the rest of the group has. Having the pressure to teach others is an effective way to insure positive motivation for studying material. Teaching and answering questions helps you master the material firsthand.
Repetition is another technique that works for many people, it is just boring. Still, it is an effective memorization tool you could use. The act of writing something, a fact a concept or a timeline helps you process the information in a new way. The very act of writing things down is usually more effective than reading the same thing if you are trying to commit the material to memory. You don't have to rewrite the material over in the same way. Use a Venn Diagram or a flow chart. Just the act of thinking through the information and rewriting it in a different way will help your mind memorize the material. Although it can be dull, repetition is another effective technique in memorizing information.
Another solid tip to to take a break from concentrating roughly every hour. Your mind needs you to focus on something else for a short time so it can process all of the information you have been studying. Give yourself a break for 15 minutes. Have a small snack and get up, move around. Do a jumping jack or go through your favorite yoga positions. Let your break be a rest for your mind as well. It is during a break that breakthroughs, solutions and insights come to you. The brain has to have a chance to process the material you have been concentrating on. Study breaks are vital for mental health. Don't overload your mind. Relax for a bit and let your mind assimilate all of the hard work you have been doing while studying.