How to Boost your Memory for the UPSC Prelims 2017

How to Boost your Memory for the UPSC Prelims– UPSC prelims are round the corner and if you are aspiring to crack them, the question that is most bothering you would be, ‘how do I remember everything that I have studied?’ Indeed, the syllabus for the UPSC exams is monumental and it takes planned preparation to get through them. In the UPSC prelims, you would be given multiple choice questions and apart from knowledge and concept understanding, it requires good retention abilities also. Here are a few tips you can practice to improve your memory skills and up your chances of cracking one of the toughest exams in the country.How to Boost your Memory for the UPSC Prelims

How to Boost your Memory for the UPSC Prelims

Basically, there are two laws of memory. The law of visualisation and the law of association. Simply put, the first law means that you remember more what you see; and the second law implies that you recall abstract or new information more if you relate it to something that is affixed in your mind. There is also a third law – law of repetition, which is self-explanatory. Setting aside the jargon, how do you as a student apply these laws in your daily study pattern? Read further to get some practical tips.

How to Boost your Memory for the UPSC Prelims

Make visual aids

  • Preparing for the UPSC preliminary exams involves memorising and recalling a large quantity of facts and figures. Instead of learning by rote sentence after sentence, make figures, flow diagrams, charts, graphs, etc. and go over them. You will find that your ability to recall not just the facts, but also the concepts underlying them will develop.
  • For example, the key features of a government scheme can be recalled better if you make a chart and read from it. Learn visually rather than from plain text. Also, if you watch a documentary on a historical event you will be able to remember more points about it than by reading a book. Also, it could give you the much needed break from monotony.

Learn by association

  • Another important tip is to relate new concepts to what is already ingrained in your mind. This is a retention technique memory experts swear by. In fact, most of us would already be using this technique albeit subconsciously.

Highlight and write

  • Another small tip to boost you memory while reading is to underline or highlight what you feel is most important. This improves attention and helps cement what you are reading into your brain. Take notes or jot down important points from your study material. Writing reinforces what you have learnt and it is a good practice to write down important points from your memory after you have finished a section.

Teach others

  • Another simple and effective tip is to teach or give presentations on the topics you find difficult to remember. Teaching is not just a reinforcer but also makes you doubly confident of the topic. You generally don’t want to embarrass yourselves when you are the ‘teacher’, so you end up clearing all your doubts and questions before teaching others. It helps you look at a concept from different angles as well. And most importantly, your recall power greatly improves. While taking the exam, you will be able to remember what you had previously ‘taught’.


  • Ever wonder why we never forget the ABCs even though we learnt it when we were as young as three or four? It is because of something called ‘mnemonics’.
  • It refers to a practice of assisting memory by making acronyms or songs to remember certain things. Another example is how we learnt the planets in the solar system by chanting, ‘my very educated mother just showed us nine planets’ (the first letter of each word in that sentence indicating a planet each).
  • Try applying this technique while preparing for the UPSC prelims where you will have to recall many facts in a short duration of time.

Revise, revise, revise!

  • The importance of revising regularly cannot be stressed when you are attempting the UPSC exams. You tend to forget what you have learnt if you do not back it up with regular revision. Revision is a reinforcer.

Enhance your diet and routine

  • Lastly, here are a few tips regarding your diet and routine that can boost your memory. Be an early riser. Our brain functions most efficiently early in the morning. Drink lots of water and eat healthy. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Chicago, eating vegetables, berries, cherries, walnuts and food containing omega-3 fatty acids such as fish improves memory skills. Include these in your regular diet.

Let us see in a nutshell some of the tips discussed above that will help you boost your memory and help you ace the UPSC prelims.

  • Make diagrams, charts, etc.
  • Watch videos
  • Make associations
  • Underline points
  • Make notes, write
  • Teach or give presentations
  • Create acronyms or songs if possible
  • Revise regularly
  • Improve your diet and daily routine

Remember your goal and if you are ready to do whatever it takes to cross over the first hurdle to your civil service dreams, incorporate these easy but useful tips into your study regimen. These are scientific methods proven to be successful. All it takes is a start! How to Boost your Memory for the UPSC Prelims