Memorization Secrets

Jason Dion • 200,000+ Students Worldwide
A free video tutorial from Jason Dion • 200,000+ Students Worldwide
CISSP, CEH, Pentest+, CySA+, Sec+, Net+, A+, PRINCE2, ITIL
4.6 instructor rating • 23 courses • 251,981 students

Lecture description

There are some things you simply must memorize. In this lesson, I will show you how.

Learn more from the full course

CompTIA A+ (220-1002) Test Prep, Exams and Simulations

Pass the CompTIA A+ (220-1002) Core 2 exam with help from an expert in the field!

03:27:19 of on-demand video • Updated October 2020

  • How to pass the CompTIA A+ (220-1002) Core 2 exam on your first attempt
  • How to become a better certification exam test taker
  • How to answer the Performance Based Questions (PBQs) and simulation style questions
  • What your weak areas are in the CompTIA A+ curriculum so you can restudy those areas
English -: Up to this point I've told you that you mostly need to recognize and not memorize things for the exam. Unfortunately though, there are some things you're just going to have to memorize for the exam because they're going to come up time and time again and there's no easy way to associate a keyword or a concept for them. In this lesson, I'm going to teach you a couple of secrets to help you learn how to memorize better. The first thing I want you to learn is to reproduce things like lifecycles, lists and diagrams because these are the things that help you reproduce things from memory to help you succeed on the exam. On test day when you sit down, you're given a blank sheet of paper for you to put down your cheat sheet or brain dump. Now, these are memorized facts, figures and lists, and these are the things that you've memorized and pushed into your head right before you went and sat down for the exam. And so you want to start dumping those onto this paper as soon as the clock starts. For the A+ exam, you may want to include things like the seven step malware removal process because you know you're going to get at least a few questions about it including the proper order of those steps. So writing down those seven steps on your note paper at the beginning of the exam is a really good idea. Another thing you should write down in your list is common Linux commands, since most students aren't very familiar with those and that's something that gives them trouble on the core to exam. This means you might want to write things down like mv equals move, cp equals copy, pwd equals present working directory, and other commands like that. Now if you look in objective 1.9 of your exam, you're going to see there are 17 Linux commands that are listed there. These 17 commands are a great thing to put down on your paper at the start of the exam. Now, if you have to memorize these things to write them down once you get into the test center, why should you write them down anyway? Well, the reason is because the exam can be really long and you get stressed out and oftentimes you'll forget things. So while you might know that pwd is the present working directory command in Linux, when you sit down for the exam at the beginning, you may forget that by the time you get to question 60 and then hours passed on the exam. And now you got a question says, "Which command should you use to change you password "on a Linux system?" And you see pwd is one of the options, and it looks similar to password, so you select it. By having that command list written down on your notepad, you can simply look over, reference it, and ensure you get that question correct. Because, guess what? You're going to get at least a few questions that are either going to ask you for a Linux command or they're going to reference them in some way during the exam. Trust me, write them down at the beginning because these lists and diagrams and lifecycles are the things that are going to help you jog your memory throughout the exam. Now, if there's something that you have to memorize and it's too hard, for instance, you might be trying to memorize something like the seven steps of the malware removal process. This can be really difficult for some students to memorize but if you can create a hook for yourself, it can make memorizing things easier. Some people like to use mnemonic to act as their hook. So they make up a saying with the first letter of each keyword. For example, let's memorize the seven steps of the malware removal process together. Here are the seven steps that you should know from your A+ studies already. One, identify and research malware symptoms. Two, quarantine the infected systems. Three, disable system restore if you're using a Windows system. Four, remediate the infected systems. Five, schedule scans and run updates. Six, enable system restore and create a restore point in Windows. Seven, educate the end user. Now, that is a whole lot of words but on the exam you just need to be able to recognize them, right? Well, let's simplify this list down to a single word for each step. One, identify. Two, quarantine. Three, disable. Four, remediate. Five, scan. Six, enable. And seven, educate. Now, if I wanted to create a mnemonic for this, I could use I, Q, D, R, S, E, E, and maybe I'll remember that saying by saying I Question Dad's Reasons Some Early Evenings. Now, this is a silly sentence but it's a sentence that's an easier hook to remember than that random series of words or those seven letters. This is just how are human brains work. So I need to write out those seven steps of the malware removal process. Now I can simply write down the first letters of I Question Dad's Reasons Some Early Evenings, and I put that on my paper, then I fill in the words. I for identify, Q for quarantine, D for disable, R for remediate, S for scan, E for enable and E for Educate. Now, with my keywords I could write out the entire step in long form but there's really no need for me to do that because the exam is all about recognition, I can now recognize the seven steps in order because I have those seven keywords written down based on my seven-letter mnemonic that I've created of I Question Dad's Reasons Some Early Evenings. Now, whatever that hook is for you, you need to be able to figure that out so that you can memorize things easier just like I did with these seven steps above. Just memorizing a bunch of lists and facts and figures is really hard because, as humans, we aren't designed to do that well. So you have to have a reason to make these things more memorable and using mnemonics can help with that. One of the things I like to do when I'm teaching in my video courses is I use stories to teach concepts. The reason why is because you remember the story come test day long after you forgot the actual fact. You'll be sitting there and you'll be going, "Man, I don't remember exactly what it was, "but Jason said something about how TCP work "using a handshake. "And I can't remember exactly how it worked "but I do remember him telling the story "about trying to communicate something to a student "and he asked as the student was ready to get the message, "and then he told the student the message, "and then he verified the student got the message correctly." And you're thinking back to that story and all of a sudden you go, "Oh wait, that's exactly how a TCP handshake works." And it sticks in your head. You have to find things that'll help stick these things into your head. Stories, analogies and relating it to things that you already know are all great ways to make those things happen. I'll give you a great example of how I use weird memory tricks to remember things. In the IT service management world, there are two key terms known as warranty and utility. People get these mixed up all of the time. If you decide to take the ITIL exam as part of your career path, which you probably should if you're going to work for a large company doing IT or service desk support, these terms are going to become really important to you. Now, the definitions for them is fit for use and fit for purpose. They sound really similar, so students are always getting them confused and getting them backwards. So how do I keep this straight in my head? Well, I think about the fact that utility has U in it and use has a U in it. And I think that the two Us should never be together. So instead of having fit for use, I know that fit for use is not going to be with utility because they both have a U in it. And therefore, I know that fit for use is for warranty and fit for purpose is for utility. Now, that's a really silly little memory aid that I use but I know now that utility is fit for purpose because there's not two Us together. And warranty is fit for use because, again, I don't want those two Us to be together. Now, I know it's silly and I know it's stupid but you'll never forget that when you sit for the ITIL exam because it's so silly that it's going to stick in your head. It's things like that that make things memorable. Find those little keys and hooks for yourself so you can work through them and remember the information that you to memorize. Now, let's take a look at a really big number known as pi. Pi is a very long number. In fact it's infinitesimally large. Do you think if I told you that I want you to memorize pi to 25 digits that you could do it? Well, right here on the screen are the first 25 digits of pi. Let's say I'm going to give you just one hour to go off and memorize those 25 digits, and then you have to come back and repeat it to me. Do you think you could do it? Well, I gave that challenge to my two kids. They were only six and eight years old at the time. They each were handed a note card with pi and it had 25 digits written on it. They went off to their rooms and they begin to try to memorize that number. Off they went and an hour later they came back and recited pi to my wife and myself. We sat down and one at a time they rattled off all 25 digits of pi. Now, that's a hard thing to do because pi is a none repeating series of digits that appears completely randomly, but they did it perfectly as a six year old and an eight year old. No, they aren't savants or geniuses but they were able to do it. Now, how did they do it? Well, they had a good incentive. My wife loves to celebrate pi day, which is on March 14th, because it's 3/14 on the calendar which is the first three digits of the pi. We decided that this little memorization test would be a fun little experiment, so we told the kids that we would buy each of them their very own pie, and they could eat the entire thing themselves if they can memorize all 25 digits within just one hour. And guess what? At six and eight years old, the thought of getting an entire pie to themself was massive motivation. Now don't send me hate mail telling me what a horrible parent I am because I gave my kids each an entire pie. You see, I'm the son of a lawyer and I know that everything comes down to the fine print. I promised each of them an entire pie to themselves but I never told them if it was going to be nine inches, 12 inches or 16 inches. So we put the kids in the car, we went down to a local bakery, and each child picked out their very own four-inch pie. They were thrilled about their new pies and I was very happy because they proved my point. You can memorize anything with the right motivation, even a seemingly random series of 25 digits. So, yes, there are some things you're just going to have to memorize before taking the exam. There's no mnemonic for figuring out how to memorize pi to 25 digits. You don't need this for an IT exam, obviously, but there's a lot of other things you have to memorize for an IT exam. And so you have to find a reason. You have to ask yourself what is your motivation. Is it getting a passing score in the certification exam? If so, why do you want to do that? Is it so you can get a better job? Maybe so you can get more money? Maybe it's so that you can keep your job because you're working for a company that requires you get certified within the first six months of being hired. I don't know your specific reason but whatever that reason is, you need to have a good motivation and a good reason, so you'll put in the effort to study, memorize and learn the material. Now, I mentioned before that stories are great way to aid memorization. In my courses I tell a lot of stories. It helps students relate the material and it makes it more memorable. I've had students come up to me after and say, "Why do you tell all these stories? "It just seems so useless like you're wasting our time." And then a month goes by and they take their exam, they come back and they say, "You know, that story you told, "it was really useful because on test day, "I couldn't remember but I remembered your story "and that helped me get the right answer." So, stories help. Stories help you relate the information to things you already know and you can already relate them to your own life. Another useful memorization trick is use pictures, patterns and rhymes. If you have a picture, a pattern or a rhyme, it makes things easier to understand. On test day, you may not remember the words, but you can visualize the diagram, the picture or the pattern to help you find the answers. So here's a picture of a boat. This has nothing to do with IT exams, I promise, but it's kind of fun. I used to have a boat and I like going boating but when I tried to remember what side of the boat the red light was on and the green light was on, I had a hard time with that. So I created a simple little rhyme: Red, right, wrong. Now, I know if the red is on the right of the boat, then I'm wrong because the red is actually on the left side of the boat, which is the port side. So as you can see here in the picture, the boat has the red light on the left side or the port side of the boat. Again, this is a silly little rhyme but it works and it makes it memorable. I couldn't keep those things straight in my head for a long time, and then I heard that stupid little rhyme of red, right, wrong, and I never messed up which side of the boat had the red light on it and the green light on it ever again. Find one of these little rhymes for yourself or make up your own. It really can help with your memorization. Now, the final thing I need to talk about is the concept of repeating information. If you don't refresh your memory often, you're going to forget it. I used to be very fluent in Spanish, now, (speaks in Spanish) These days, I don't understand Spanish when people speak it to me. I can read it pretty decently but I can't comprehend it fast enough when people speak to me because I haven't used it in so long. This is because I grew up in Miami and this is a Spanish speaking area but I moved away from there about 20 years ago and I haven't really refreshed my memory over those 20 years. So I've forgotten so much of the Spanish language. My point is you have to keep refreshing information in your head. For example, in the A+ Core 1 Exam, you learn the 17 ports that you need to memorize but as you go up your IT career and go into other exams, there's going to be even more ports you have to memorize. If you get to the Security+, for example, there's about 50 ports you need to memorize. Now, if I give you 50 ports to remember today, you might be able to remember them. If you don't look at them for six months though, how many of those ports are going to remember? Not all 50. Maybe 10, maybe 15, maybe even 20, but definitely not all 50. So if you're studying for the A+ exam, give yourself about 10 minutes a day to practice writing down your cheat sheet. Write down those port numbers and protocols. Write down your seven steps of the malware removal process. Write down the 17 Linux commands. Doing this is going to help bring that information back to the front of your mind and it'll help you remember it because if you don't do this, you will forget it. Finally, I want to tell you that people that I see who are most successful in studying for their certification exams are the ones who do this in a short period of time. You should not be studying for your A+ exam for a year because by the time you go sit for it, you're going to forget everything you learned at the beginning of that year. Instead, you should give yourself two weeks, three weeks, maybe four weeks, but that's it. You want to get it, memorize what you can, study as much as you can and get on with that exam before it leaves your head. That's the idea here when it comes to memorization. It's all about figuring out what works for you and how to memorize faster, better and more efficiently. (electronic music)