There are probably hundreds of different study and memorization techniques; the trick is finding the ones that work for you. Here is a categorization of memorization techniques developed by Brown and Miller (1996):
- Memorizing through association
- Memorizing through visual, auditory, and kinesthetic systems
- Memorizing through grouping
- Memorizing through repetition
- Memorizing through mnemonic techniques
It easier to remember something if we link it to something we already know. Try to relate new information to personal examples as much as possible. Analogies can also be very powerful: some students remember the cell structure and function of the organelles by relating them to a factory (the cell body would be the boss who gives the orders, the ribosomes are the messengers, etc).
Although you may have already found out that you have preferred learning style when it comes to the presentation of the new information, try to incorporate as many of the senses as possible when studying -- not just your preference(s). Each sense is processed in a different part of the brain, and by using all the different senses, you are using more of your brain, which will help in the retention of material. Examples are walking as you rehearse your flashcards and drawing pictures to represent abstract ideas and definition.
Students literally have to remember hundreds of pieces of information. One of the key aspects of memory performance is to learn the material from the general to the specific. In order to achieve this, graphic organizers are often a must.
Think of all the information you need to learn as books in a book shelf. If you simply shove in one book after the next without any kind of organizational structure, it will be very difficult to find one particular book (especially if you have hundreds of them). However, if you organize the books according to topic and subtopics within each course, then it would be easier to find one specific book for which you are looking.
The brain functions much the same way. It needs some kind of mental organization in order for you to retrieve the stored information.
This is probably the one aspect of studying that most people know -- and dread. However, even though most of us know that we should have lots of repetition, we don't know how important it actually is.
Also, repetition, in the context of memorization, means different interactions with the new material. In other words, it is more than a simple rereading of notes. It could include making flashcards, talking as you draw your mind maps, and writing lecture summaries.
Mnemonics are very powerful memorization devices that work especially well for memorizing lists and sequences of items.
The words technique is usually used for lists, e.g. the mnemonic word HOMES is a memory trigger for the great lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior).
The sentence technique works well for items that need to be remembered in sequence, e.g. "My very elegant mother just served us nine pancakes" stands for the nine planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto).
The key to mnemonics is to build a strong association between the mnemonic and for what they stand. Mnemonics take a little bit of practice, but become easier the more you use them.