Smart Ways to Remember all Kinds of Formulae

As students a big nightmare to a whole lot of them is the fear of formulae. Formulae form the integral part of various subjects. Match, physics, chemistry, computers and even economics use formulae as an integral part of their subjects. And somehow the fear of using or leaning subjects that use numbers, formulae and abstracts has been instilled in students. They are told time and again that subjects like these are tough and if not concentrated upon they can lead to dire consequences in life and so on and so forth.

But in reality it’s not that tough. If it were how is that so many people crack these subjects with flying colours. Many even pursue careers in research and such sciences, proving that it isn’t a big mystery to crack formulae and remembering them. Some tricks and knowledge hacks that exist can be applied to train the mind and deal with formulae. After all its all a matter of the mind.

Here are some tricks, trips and advice to help crack remembering formulae and use them wisely:

  • Repetition is a good technique to memorize math formulae. But instead of memorizing a formula through repetition in one sitting, one should try spaced repetition i.e. instead of memorizing (a — b)2 = a2 + b2–2ab and repeating it 45 times in 5 minutes, space this repetition across days. During the 1st read, repeat it for 10 times. then after 1 day repeat it again for 10 times, then after 2 days again repeat the process for 10 times or more. This is spaced repetition. Spaced repetition helps retain anything better than normal repetition and this has been proved.
  • If some formulas are tough to remember then noting these formulas on a paper and pasting those on paper on wall in front of the desk or in any place where they can be seen regularly. Start the next day with revising these formulae and at the end of the day when you go to sleep try to write down the formulae you remember and cross check whether you write the formulas correctly or not. Repeat the process next day. This way you will start remembering those formulae.
  • Learning reams of formula without fully understanding the meaning behind them will merely increase the amount of time it takes to learn, and probably create a great deal of confusion in the meantime. Moreover, if you don’t understand the connection between meaning and formula, the brain will not be able to see connections and you are likely to quickly forget what you have learnt.
  • Understanding the intuitive explanations of all the factors of the formulas. This can help to derive quick judgments on whether a factor should be positive or negative, and be placed within numerators or denominators. And then making it a practice to verify the formula for extreme inputs (inputs for which answers are known). Now whenever it is required to recall the formula, verify it for those inputs and if the answer right there is a good chance that formula right. If it’s wrong, just check what minor adjustments need to be made to get it right.
  • Most importantly it will be interesting if you are able to understand it. First developing a liking for the subject by practicing it the entire day in simple ways. Like not using calculators when you buy a few things in market and applying mental calculations. Or calculating mentally important days like birthdays etc and which day will fall on that date etc are good ways to practice.

It is essential to encourage students to learn the formulas, even if they are given to them in the exam. The process of learning the conditions for how to use the formula and the associated graphs or diagrams, means that they are more likely to use the correct formula and use it correctly when answering the question. Also it is important to sleep well, remove distractions that are around and maintain mental health for learning formulae as they depend on memory. This is also good for future learning, because you have a much better grasp of the basics.