The Three R’s of Remembering Anything
This is especially true with the MCAT.
Once you correctly categorize the information, how do you retain it?
Here’s food for thought:
If you can’t recall what MCAT material you covered, said study time was wasted.
Forgetfulness curses every human: so how does one remember what they covered?
There are three major R’s to remembering something you just learned:
The MCAT may be scary, but so is life. You are studying life, here. Appreciate it! Admire it! Humility is the requirement for appreciation.
It isn’t the giant in awe of the mountains, it is the ant.
Be the ant. Did you just learn about digestion? Touch your belly. Imagine you have X-Ray vision and envision the knowledge. Give thanks to God for the complexity and beauty of Creation.
Why does this work? Emotions. Gratitude is an emotional gateway to informational longevity. As you will cover in Psychology/Sociology, the hippocampus plays a major role in our limbic system. In short: emotions are essential for memory.
Think back on your own life. I am assured you likely recall your most embarrassing incidents. While humiliating, these personal anecdotes become teachers.
Challenge: Appreciate your new knowledge more than a Christmas present. If not for the biological magnificence: for the sweet relief of not getting that question wrong on Test Day.
Ever played Mario? There are these ghosts that creep up on you if you don’t stare them straight into the eye.
This is how forgetfulness works.
WHAT did you learn?
Remembering the name of the MCAT topic is more important than the content.
Recall that article on making an MCAT filing system?
This is how your memory works. You need to know the file tab names that bring up the content. Even if you forget the specifics, you have created a reference system for yourself.
Numbers. You have ten fingers. Use them. Ever wander why so many websites – this post included – list specific amounts in the title?
Numbers make information useful.
The Kaplan books use 12 topics per content review. While I would refile said twelve chapters from the seven books into the four relevant exams, for simplicity, they are terrific ways to keep all relevant information accountable.
Once you recall the name of the MCAT topic you learned, you will simplify the concept further in your head to a more usable tool.
This is precisely what the Post-2015 MCAT tests.
Can you think on your feet as a doctor?
At the end of the week, go through each day and practice gratitude. Whittle away each day’s lesson into a few keywords and list them. Dig deeper to see the relevant information still there.
Rain covers everything in water: so should your MCAT knowledge.
Have you ever wondered why – sometimes – the smartest little kids are often annoying? After learning every tidbit, they often run about and ask, “Did you know that cows have FOUR stomachs?!!!”
There’s a reason they’re quick learners.
Let’s get a bit philosophical.
Forgetfulness is information that does not survive time. We are within timespace: the vehicle of variation. Thus, to defeat forgetfulness – we need to splash our knowledge on anything and everything.
People use powerful spaced repetition tools like Anki, flash cards – my favorite, or even Google Calendar to ripple through the future. But, I notice everyone ignores the “space” in timespace.
Get out there! Go for a walk; or lie down, cover your eyes, and stare into the void of space. See the entire world through the lens of the topic you just covered. Come Test Day, it won’t be formulas for electric circuits you recall: it will be the void of your wall socket you stared into with an appreciative eye.
Lather on your MCAT knowledge onto the world like soap.
This gives you the best excuse for a productive study break. Finally, there is one act that synthesizes all three R’s – Relish, Recall, and Rain.
Have a long, honest conversation with one and only Creator about His Creation. After all, what better way to fight forgetfulness than to submit your knowledge to the only Entity outside time?