Memory Skills and Tools
Awaken the elephant in you!

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Mobile Notes

Mobile notes are excellent tools for learning all the key concepts in the study guide. Mobile notes are easy to make and you can take them with you wherever you go:

  • Fold a blank piece of paper in half. Fold it in half again. Fold it again.
  • Open the paper. It will now be divided into 8 parts.
  • Cut or tear neatly along the folded lines.
  • On one side of each of these 8 bits of paper, write the basic concept.
  • On the other side, write the meaning or the explanation of the basic concept.
  • Use different colours and add pictures to help you remember.
  • Take these mobile notes with you wherever you go and look at them whenever you can.
  • As you learn, place the cards in 3 different piles:
    • I know this information well.
    • I’m getting there.
    • I need more practice.
  • The more you learn them, the better you will remember them.


A mnemonic code is a useful technique for learning information that is difficult to remember. This is an example of a word mnemonic using the word BALANCE where each letter of the word stands for something else:

  • B – Best – doing your best is more important than being the best.
  • A – Attitude – always have a positive attitude.
  • L – Load – spread the load so you don’t leave everything to the last minute. Use a study timetable to plan.
  • A – Attention – pay attention to detail. Only answer what is required.
  • N – Never give up! Try, try and try again!
  • C – Calm – stay calm even when the questions seem difficult.
  • E – Early – sleep early the night before your exam. If you prepare well you will not need to cram the night before.

Mnemonics are code information and make it easier to remember. The more creative you are and the more you link your ‘codes’ to familiar things, the more helpful your mnemonics will be.

Mind Maps

Mind maps work because they show information that we have to learn in the same way that our brains ‘see’ information. As you study, add pictures to each of the branches to help you remember the content. Make your own mind maps as you finish each section.

How to make your own mind maps:

  • Turn your paper sideways so your brain has space to spread out in all directions.
  • Decide on a name for your mind map that summarises the information you are going to put on it.
  • Write the name in the middle and draw a circle, bubble or picture around it.
  • Write only key words on your branches, not whole sentences. Keep it short and simple.
  • Each branch should show a different idea. Use a different colour for each idea. Connect the information that belongs together. This will help build your understanding of the learning areas.
  • Have fun adding pictures wherever you can. It does not matter if you can’t draw well.
Sample Graphic Organisers

We have collated a number of graphic organisers to help you summarise and map the work you are studying.

Click here to download the Sample Graphic Organisers or be creative and design your own!

Further Reading

Read the following articles for more helpful tips on retaining information you are studying:

Source: Department of Basic Education