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Using the Story Method Memory Technique in an Exam

When it comes to getting A-grades on exams with essays, it pays to combine more than one preparation technique. One successful combination is to fuse an essay route map with the story method — a memory technique that creates funny pictures of your keywords in sequence.

Here’s a scenario of how to make the combination work.

Prepare a draft essay of content you know could be applied to a variety of exam essay questions. Using the essay, extract the keywords from each paragraph that you know would trigger the memory of the entire paragraph. If you memorize a keyword, you can rewrite the entire paragraph in the exam.
Place the keywords into a sequence using a route map format — a simple line in the center of the page and section lines branching off from the center, right to left and top to bottom. Now with a sequence of 20 or more words, use the story method — a process that uses visual association to memorize them. Use your imagination to make a bright, vivid, silly picture that symbolizes the word, and link one picture to the next until all 20 are linked together to make a fun visual story.
You should find that you can recall the sequence of pictures really easily in your mind and, by association, be able to recall the keyword again. Each word should trigger the entire paragraph that you can then re-write in a logical sequence during the exam.

If you need write several long essays in the space of one exam, say three, to prevent the stories becoming mixed up in your mind, start each story with a vivid picture peg — a starting place for each story. Using the fingers of your hand, imagine one story starting from your thumb, another story starting from my middle finger, and the third story starting from your little finger.

Check out the MP3 audio of this scenario.

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