The Revision Movement #psychology #edchat #ukedchat

Movements Of Revision

Have you ever struggled to remember all the material required to pass an exam; either multiple choice or blind essay questions? I certainly have experienced this. I remember in my first year of my undergraduate degree at Preston University (Psychology) having a bunch of exams on mandatory topics I really did not find all that interesting (which made revision harder). This made it even harder for me to remember the material because the motivation was not there. However, I found myself performing an action while I was trying to revise…

Where I revise I have a large whiteboard that I use to summarise the material into chunks. I then simplify this material hoping that each time I simplify, I can remember the more in-depth version I first started with. Eventually, I get the material down to some simple bullet-points (This is a fine art and requires a lot of patience). However, trying to commit this material to memory still provided a challenge. Suddenly, as I was recalling this information from memory I found myself moving around my room. I began to pace around the limited floor space while reciting from memory my compact bullet-points. I did not realise at the time but I was surely thinking with my body and not just my mind… What do I mean by this?

The Mind and Body…

Thinking Movements

Over time analogies referenced the mind to be like a computer and our bodies were simply a tool to be utilised. However, there seems to be a growing body of research which explains that we may not just be thinking with our brains but with our bodies too. For example, research was conducted examining how children solve maths questions and it was found that many children could solve more questions correctly if they were told to use their hands at the same time. Another study looked at actors remembering their lines better because they apply movement while they are reciting them from memory.

I found this body of research interesting and it got me considering whether this is something I am personally doing. Even to the point of deep thought on certain topics of interest, I find myself moving around while my synapses fire away creating new neurological associations (connections). However, I did pickup on another aspect of my revision techniques regards movements… I found that when I wanted to check my overall ability to recall all the information required I would either stand still, sit down, or lay down on my bed while reciting the information. Could this be presenting the idea that after a certain period of time my movements were becoming a distraction to my revision process? I have noticed in some experiments the subjects were under the impression that movements were there to distract them from completing the tasks. However, some researchers were actively monitoring to see if the movements had a positive impact on one’s intelligence. It would appear thinking and moving at the same time can interfere with one another but this interference does not necessarily result in a negative impact on intelligence.

However, I would argue another aspect for discussion… when I revise and I am struggling to remember certain contextual information I find my emotions playing a larger part in eliciting my movements. I found that I would move my head slightly forward as I was repeating a certain bullet-point over and over. I would use my hands and arms and move them in a downward motion as if to say to myself, ‘I have got to remember this’ as I spoke the bullet-point out loud to myself with a much harsher tone than I had previously used. My emotions at the time were fueling my movements and it was those movements combined with the emotions, the repeated reciting, and the condensing of material process that allowed me to remember each and every point, each and every authors’ name, and even the year of publication for each individual author. Ever since I noticed this type of revision technique being rather effective for me, I have never used another method since. It would appear to me that:

As I act (move), therefore I think…

Additional Reading:

Don’t just stand there, think –  Drake Bennett

By The Editor

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