Now, I can fool my mind to memorize..!!!

Honestly, “memorizing stuff” has been my hostile problem for the last two semesters or so. When I entered the college, I got disappointed a lot of times. Over the course of the first semester, I got lucky here and there, and somehow scored 75% in the final exams. Moreover, my interest in aeronautics didn’t experience an apocalypse that time. It was slowly shifting towards Physics, as disappointments pummeled over and over.

During the second semester (with formula numbers which kept on increasing spontaneously each week), somewhere in the middle, the transformation was complete. I can’t accept that I had been rote-learning all the time (especially during the exams) and tried to put an end to it, all of a sudden. I started shouting, ranting, complaining like a lunatic, to almost everyone who praised about our education. And, those activities had a backstabbing effect on my grades. I was stabbed down to 62%.

Stop sniveling, and do something..!!!

When I was on my solitary vacation, I finally realized that I was speaking too much, without actually saying much. I decided that instead of ranting around, I could at least try (as a positivist) and be productive. So, I chose my goals during my third semester. For a long time, I had been suffering from ridiculous “fears” like fear of crowd, of stages, of girls (even my classmates), of speaking to third parties, of speaking English, and few of my own mind. My first goal was to eliminate these fears.

And, guess what? I did..!!!

Though I’m not an engineer and of course, not intelligent like my fellas, I’m diligent. I know that I can do a lot of things to make them wonder. No, not magic tricks. Instead, a few intuitive & mind-boggling snippets from math & physics, that I’ve come across in my internet lifetime (meh, that’s all I can do in my class). Armed with that, each week, I choose a topic and throw a question at them, during the 30 minutes “break”. Because, they (being busy) are catchable only during such breaks. Anyways, I know that no one would come up with an answer. But, I did hope that everyone would get interested, as their curiosity drives them for the answer (well, they’re the bright sparks of the state).

Bad luck..!!! At the start, it looked like the initiative was going well. After a few weeks or so, one fine day, I recognized something. Almost none were listening to me. Eager minds faded out soon. Later that day, I felt “guilt” for all my stealing of their good times. Maybe due to my stupid speech or that’s how people’s interests fade out. But still, my goal wasn’t ruined. I was no longer fear of crowds, stages and my speech.

My next goal is to fool my mind, to memorize…

In order to improve my ways to memorize, I tried group-studying with some of my friends. As I love to teach, I can come up with some nice ideas & mnemonics, while we were rote-learning the formulas and procedures. I mean, I’ll come up with something (which wouldn’t be wrong anytime) at least for the sake of me to teach others…

That was satisfying for a few days. I was able memorize the formulas, but not for a long time. I forgot those formulas, right when I was writing the exam. Not so lucky..!!! Though I’m a no good respecter of our educational scheme. I had never (ever in my life) disgraced the subject. I mean, I always hate to write “something” to fill up my paper. I’ll attend the question, only if I know about it. That’s where the pitfall occurs usually for me…

Anyways, this method failed me. My grades screwed me again. My results were just 60% during the final exam. Being an amateur teacher, I can convince almost anyone. But, I can never convince myself.

An unexpected “effect” comes into play…

So, I had to try something totally new, to survive in our environment. My fourth semester started this week and I got a wide range of species of lecturers. I’m happy that two of them were good. During a boring hour (when the lecturer does nothing, but dictate the 10 papers he’s brought for us), something struck my mind.

How does our mind learn new things? Say, you’ve migrated to a new city. And, your home is at some walkable distance from the nearest bus station. And, the path has all the corners and left-right turns, just like a small maze. How would you return to your home after your work? You try it each day. Once you’ve tried for a week, you’ll be familiarized with “solving” the maze. Even if I ask you after a few years, you’d definitely be able to take me to your old home.

That’s how everyone’s mind learns about the environment and our usual doings. And, that’s the same technique used to train animals. But, most of us don’t use it to learn our subjects (especially me). We just learn on the eve of the exam. We try to crush ourselves into the subject overnight and expect to be succeeded in doing that merciless activity. I thought that there should be a name for that effect. I reached home and within a few minutes of serious googling, I found that it was called the “Spacing effect“.

It says that it’s much easier to learn new things when they’re studied a few times spaced over a long time, rather than rote within a short time. And hopefully, it’s directly related to our cramming before exams.

In addition to this, I have another issue. I don’t like to study “engineering” books. Whenever I take that book, I get a bad feeling which I can’t overcome. If I wanna overcome that, I should debate with myself a lot of times. In the meantime, I can learn almost anything in my computer. Psychology, History, Philosophy? I don’t care what subject it is. I just love to read…

Moreover, all of my notes have my own enhancement charms, in addition to what the lecturer has said, dictated or spewed. So, I have to take notes regularly and transfer my notes to my computer. That’s the whole point. And, I remembered Manish once suggesting me (in our chat room) to make use of LaTeX, to make our own notes in PC. Latex is a hypnotic markup. Its beauty attracts everyone. Not to mention that we (at Stack Exchange) use Latex to denote equations and I chose WordPress only after the confirmation that it allows latex.

Why? Because,

Latex is simply beautiful..!!!

And, I don’t have much experience with Latex, than just using symbols so & so. By this way, I can also acquaint myself with latex. There ya go, problem solved.

I create a database (latex’ified PDF) for all subjects. It’s much like having all the formulas and procedures I need to memorize during the course of the semester. Everyday, I update the .tex file with “my own notes” that I’ve taken during the classes, and recompile the PDF. So, whenever I update the Tex file, I come through my notes again & again. In this way, I’d have read my notes for a hell lot of times, before I rock the final semester exams (at least, that’s what I expect)…

Time to find out whether it works. Fourth semester classes have just started from last Monday. Well, I hope this method works right. I’ll definitely tell you all about my final exam results…

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