Killer Hacks for your next exam success
**#1 – Analogies and Metaphors**

## Whenever you learn a fact, ask yourself what the idea is similar to. You can learn abstract processes by creating metaphors for more common events. Variables in computer programming become jars. Derivatives become the speedometer and odometer on your car.

**#2 – Mental Pictures**

## Have you ever tried to visualize a mathematical formula?

## It’s not as ridiculous as it sounds. If you break apart a complex formula into components, you can try to imagine what it would like as a graph or how each component influences each other.

## I used this to remember how to calculate the determinant of a matrix. Instead of just memorizing rules, I created a mental picture of my hands scooping through the diagonals, adding and removing the numbers.

**#3 – Dig a Foundation**

## Do you ever get surprised how easy early subjects appear, once you advance in them. Arithmetic looks easy once you start with algebra, which seems trivial once you go onto calculus. Going a bit further in the progression means you still struggle with the furthest ideas, but the earlier ones become easier.

## What if you applied this in reverse: did a bit of extra research on your most difficult topics. You might not understand the further research perfectly, but it would make understanding your testable material much easier.

**#4 – Become the Teacher**

## Try switching roles: how would you explain what you’re learning to someone else? The act of explanation creates connections. Teaching also forces you to simplify and break down complex ideas, another good step to foster learning.

**#5 – Stop Taking Rigid Notes**

## Are you trying to learn, or create a courtroom transcript of the lecture? My suggestion is to free yourself from rigid notes, and instead write down ideas in branches and connections. Add your own thoughts, diagrams and arrows linking ideas so you have a web of information.

**#6 – Diagrams**

## Remember when your teacher told you to stop doodling in class? Well recent research suggests that drawing can actually increase your concentration.

## I’d guess that if you were actually drawing out information related to the class, that might improve your concentration even more. I don’t know if a picture is actually worth a thousand words, but it can often be worth many connections towards a greater understanding.

**#7 – Fixing**

## Mental magicians actually use this tactic to memorize any number. The tactic is a bit complicated for a brief article, but the basic idea is to attach each digit to a specific consonant. So 1 = s, 2 = k and 6 = r.

## The next step is to put these consonants together. So 16578 become s, r, d, l, p. You can then insert any vowels within these letters to create nouns. So sadly becomes sword and loop. You then string the nouns together in a story: “The sword cut through the loop before Param…”

## Then, even to remember hundreds of numbers, you only need to remember the story and letters key.

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