Physics classes and homework can be one of the most difficult classes to take. Students may feel overwhelmed by new terms and equations. When it comes to taking tests and completing homework, memorizing formulas can speed the process. Instead of looking up formulas, students can save time. On tests, knowing the formulas is imperative for success.
Organize the Information
There are so many pieces of information that are given in a physics class. To get started with memorizing the data, students have to be able to structure it in their mind. Keep the big picture in focus while associating the related points. Overall, students have to work from general information to specific formulas.
Understand and Use the Information
When someone does not understand why a formula or concept works, memorizing the information can be almost impossible. To be able to memorize the information, students need to understand why the formula works. Sometimes, learning the history behind a concept can help provide a spark for the memory to latch onto. After memorizing the formula, students have to use it as soon and often as possible. For the information to stay in long-term memory, it has to be used. Solve problems, repeat the definitions or try teaching it to someone else.
Physical Movement and the Brain
Studies have shown that individuals are better able to remember things when they use both sides of the brain. To do this, students can read the information out loud. This incorporates the visual focus of the right brain with the verbal functions of the left side of the brain. Additionally, physical movement can help with memorizing information. Tie a specific formula to a sequence of gestures. Instead of having to remember the formula, students just have to remember the progression of gestures.
Break it Up
Phone numbers are not remembered as ten digit sequences. Instead, humans recall them as three sets of numbers. Breaking up long formulas or sequences of digits into smaller portions makes it easier to recall the information.
When something is impossible to break down or conceptualize, over-studying is a key way to remember it. Review flashcards 20 times or more to get a mental picture of the concept. Read it aloud, teach it to someone else or listen to the concept on tape.
Even with the best memory tricks, memorizing physics formulas ultimately comes down to practice. Continued use of the formula helps to cement it in the mind over the long term. Additionally, practice ensures that the student can actually use the formula on a test.