How can I remember whatever I have learnt?
Memorizing is easy and forgetting is easier. If you ever thought that an IAS topper has never forgotten any fact and every lesson or topic learnt by him or her from the very first day of starting preparations; then you are wrong! Forgetting things are normal but can be overcome if you follow certain tricks:
- Link news with conventional lessons: If you come across news on ‘Election Commission press meet’ in a newspaper, question yourself: “Is the Election Commission a permanent body?” or “Which Article of the Indian Constitution deals with the Election Commission?” Again, if there is news on the policy rate cuts by the RBI; give yourself some time to think “Why did the RBI slash the Repo rate and not increase it?” Studying in this manner will not only help you remember what you have learnt, but at the same time result in a holistic preparation covering both the factual and analytical dimensions of the topic/issue thereby reducing your preparation time.
- Create a Mind-map: Form a picture of whatever you learn from the book, in your mind. In schools, at primary levels, children are taught basics like alphabets and numbers with the help of pictures. Pictographic illustrations work as wonders when it comes to retaining facts for a longer period of time. You can create charts, diagrams and examples in your mind for a particular topic and recapitulate it every time you come across it in some related topic, in future.
- Focus only on Syllabus-centric topics and issues: A fair knowledge of the syllabus and past years’ question papers is very important before reading any chapter. This will help you to eliminate unnecessary information and make you acquainted with the topics that are most likely to be asked in the examination. Although UPSC CSE question pattern is well known floor its unpredictability, but still it is possible to gauge the type of topics that are important and prepare those topics holistically.
- Just don’t read; think and analyze: When it comes to preparing for the Civil Service Examination, reading is considered to be equal to glancing and that definitely won’t serve the purpose of cracking the exam. One round of complete reading and then multiple re-readings of the important highlighted portions of the chapter is the key to memorizing all the facts and figures, till the D-day.
- Read, Revise, Repeat: You read a chapter, or make newspaper notes today and then move on to learning a new chapter the very next day, thinking you have already absorbed the previous lesson by heart. This is the mistake that is bound to happen. Due to lack of time, IAS aspirants tend to skip revision of the previous lessons and head on to new topics every single day. In the end, even if they complete the entire syllabus, they will find themselves forgetting most of the things. Revision is more important than reading and should be practiced religiously before starting a new chapter. (If you want to get an idea of how to manage time for UPSC preparation, read our blog: http://educratias.com/2019/10/14/time-management-for-upsc/)
- Practice Meditation: Benefits of meditating are abundant and enhancing concentration is one of them. Minimum 5 minutes and maximum 10 minutes of meditation is all that you need to help you remain focused to your goal and avoiding distractions that are bound to surface. Stress is another reason which prevents the human mind from forgetting things and committing mistakes. However, it is impossible for the human brain to commit mistakes but at the same time, it is definitely possible to reduce the number of mistakes to minimum and that is not possible with a stressful mind. The intensity of the stress increases for UPSC aspirants due to many factors: the syllabus is huge; the competition is rigorous, unpredictability of the question paper, lack of abundant time, family pressures, etc. Meditation acts as a stress repellent and keeps the mind away from being negative and enhances the retention capacity of the brain.