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Remembering QCE Content: The Eternal Struggle

By Jaidyn Taverna in QCE
28th of June 2019
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Having completed my fair share of content-heavy subjects through high school, I am all too familiar with the struggle that is remembering subject content. Fortunately, I was able to complete these subjects without having to carve into my skin information relating to Maslow’s theory of motivation, the history of the Catholic Church, the primary cortices of the brain or the elements of an effective legal system – and hopefully this article will help you do so, too!

Here are four easy steps for remembering QCE content:

 

Step 1: Understand the content

Initially, this may seem rather obvious. But I need to emphasise that, in my opinion, the only way to succeed in content-heavy subjects is to actually understand (and not just memorise) the information. The reason for this is simple: no exam question is ever going to ask you to simply write everything you know about a topic; nor will you need to recite page 150 of your textbook. Instead, your QCE exams will be assessing your understanding of the information and, in most cases, your ability to apply it to a given scenario.

As such, it is essential that whilst reading about a topic in your textbook, you repeatedly stop and consider: a) what it means; b) how it relates to the overriding topic; and c) if any examples might apply. In doing so, you ensure that you have actually grasped the content, and not simply drilled a random sentence into your brain.

 

Closeup portrait young woman scratching head, thinking daydreaming deeply about something looking up isolated on gray wall background. Human facial expressions, emotions, feelings, signs, symbols

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Step 2: Apply and manipulate the content

As most exam questions require application of material, the benefit of practice questions is two-fold. Completing practice questions will ensure you can successfully apply content to exam questions and have top-notch exam techniques. After all, these are essential for QCE success.

Alongside this, the application and manipulation of content through compiling study notes, drawing mind maps and ‘teaching’ the content to others will enhance your ability to remember the content come assessment time. In this sense, you are conducting something called ‘elaborative rehearsal’, which involves organising content into something more meaningful. As a result, you tend to process content more deeply and, therefore, remember it more easily. I recommend compiling study notes, creating mind maps and completing practice questions relatively soon after first learning the information.

 

Step 3: Immerse yourself in the content

This step is especially important for exam revision. Unlike most exam study, however, it can be completed continuously throughout the entire year. Given that content-heavy subjects are dense in information, you are giving yourself a massive advantage over your peers if you constantly revise subject material (even post-assessments). This is much better than having to re-learn the content a month before your exam, and seriously stressing out.

Try immersing yourself in the relevant material as often as possible between learning it and your final exam. The way in which you go about immersing yourself will vary, but I found effective covering my bedroom walls with study notes, posters and mind maps. I regularly went over these (e.g., by reading them aloud) throughout the year. By surrounding yourself with content, you ensure subject material is retained in your long-term memory up until the exam, and is not simply forgotten immediately after your assessment.

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mind mapping and blurred background

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Step 4: Retrieve the content

Having completed steps 1 to 3, you will, hopefully, find retrieving content straightforward. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. You may find that, despite your best efforts, there are times where you cannot remember the relevant information. And to make matters worse, this may occur in the midst of an assessment or exam. Luckily, it is possible for you to manipulate your own memory and, ultimately, retrieve the information.

As a starting point, I found it useful to consider the environment in which I first learned or studied a concept. This may be, say, a particular classroom, in week a, when event b was happening. Should this fail, I would focus on the content immediately preceding and following the forgotten information, and would attempt to fill-in-the-gaps using a ‘reverse mind map.’

Say I was struggling to remember the original jurisdiction of the County Court. I would first think about the original jurisdiction of the Magistrate’s and Supreme Courts. Then, working backwards, I would logically identify what would ‘fit’ the original jurisdiction of the County Court. If need be, you can always make an educated guess following a process of elimination – after all, you won’t ever lose marks for being wrong!

If you use a systematic process to store, maintain and retrieve subject material (such as the process suggested here), you will most likely find that despite the abundance of information covered in your subject(s), you are able to remember it when needed! Good luck!


Looking for more info and free resources for QCE? Check out these resources!

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MORE QCE RESOURCES

 

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