Tips on Becoming Geo-Savvy - Revising for Geography Exams
As the world becomes more geo-centric with global becoming local, it is even more important to understand who we are as groups and communities and what we represent. Whether you are in school or not, geography is important. But, of an immediate nature is the idea that you have a geography class and you need some help in revising for the upcoming exam. While it may seem like it is just about naming places and people, learning geography involves so much more. And, if you only look at studying with that in mind, you miss out on an incredible amount of important facts and knowledge that can help you navigate our globalising community and become more socially responsible in life when it comes to our fellow citizens of the world.
But, enough of the soap box about the importance of geography. Let's get down to the nuts and bolts of what is still a large part of geography exams – knowing places, including countries, cities, capitals, etc. For students with memory deficiencies and recall challenges, it always helps to have some assistance from a specific type of memorisation technique that can help fill in these gaps.
Beyond just relying on the traditional ways to memorise information, here are some ideas that you can put into effect to help you become a whiz at recalling important geographic information:
- Mnemonics, mind maps, colour coding, visual patterns and diagramming are all great tactics to employ when working on geographic terms for memory and recall.
- Focusing on shortcuts and ways to identify the information is a must for a topic like geography that can involve a long list of names, locations, and situational location.
- It is important to try a number of devices to see which one works specifically for you as you may not find that a technique another student works for you as well.
- Focus on materials that offer diagrams, pictures, maps and colours rather than just text. This is why flowcharts, mind maps, tables and tree diagrams work so much more effectively with the human brains, especially when it comes to geography where you may also be tested on a country's shape or certain images that are presented for you to offer an answer on what country or city it might be found in.
In looking for some other ideas that might help specifically for geography exams, you may want to consider Paired Associate Learning (PAL). These are actually flash cards that work well with pictures or visuals on one side and factual information on the other, such as vocabulary words, terms and definitions, country and city names, etc. PAL involves the pairing of words and ideas so that a connection is made by the student wherein they are faced with a known or an unknown stimulus as well as a known or an unknown response. There are two steps involved:
- Develop the cards based on your personal learning style. This is something that can be done as you review your notes and reading prior to beginning your revising strategy. Your cards could focus on creating rhyming cards, pictorial cards, and the like.
- Use the cards over a period of time for revising for an exam. You can either quiz yourself or use them with a study partner to help each other with improving memory and recall.
There are other ways to study for geography that can help with critical information retention:
- There are many online sources now for studying geography and taking practice tests. This will help you narrow down where you need the most practice to focus your revising strategy on the areas that need the most memory recall exercises.
- Download maps or use online atlases to study specific areas. Even recreate the maps by drawing them yourself to see if you can become more familiar with the location of countries to each other.
- Connect recent events and news items to your geography studies to use this as a point of reference for remembering.
- Take online geography classes in your spare time as a way to reinforce the concepts in addition to what you are doing in your regular studies.
- Try geography games, puzzles, and contests as a fun way to practice what you need to know and reinforce what you have to study.
These all provide action-oriented ways to learn about geography and provide a varied way to approach the information. This will keep your brain interested in the process, which also helps to further embed it in your memory banks.
Now, so far most of the memory techniques related to revising for specific subject areas have been straightforward. What happens when the subject matter becomes more technical and difficult to follow like maths, science, and technology? The upcoming chapters of this e-book will help you understand how to approach and revise for these subject areas by utilising some of the memory techniques mentioned here as well as delve into some other tips and tactics to take the stress out of your upcoming exams.