Quotes About Exams

If you’ve got a closed book English exam coming up this summer you’re probably daunted by the need to memorise quotes. No doubt there are loads of quotes you’ve underlined in the text as being really important and it just seems too much for your poor brain to take.

Today I’m going to give you some tips and suggestions about how to memorise quotes for your closed book English exam in a manageable, and maybe even a fun (!) way.

1. Don’t try to remember too many at once

Pick out five quotes at a time to work on. Trying to memorise too many all at once is going to addle your brain. As your first five choose the ones you mostly likely to come back to and use time and again – basically the most important ones.

2. Choose quotes for the main characters and themes

If you’re studying The Tempest by William Shakespeare (like I did for A-Level) you’ll have heard this quote:

We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.

This is one of the most important Shakespeare quotes out of all his plays, it was said by the main character Prospero and it supports many of the main themes in the play. It’s a very good place to start your learning.

Whatever text you’re studying start by learning the quotes that you seem to use most often.

3. Make an index card for each quote

My very favourite revision method for memorising facts and information is using index cards

If you haven’t got any already click here and order some right now. (That’s an affiliate link to Amazon – if you click on it and buy I’ll get a teensy bit of money to thank me for linking to it!).

Once you’ve got them, write your quote on one side. On the other side write the key words from your quote. So, for the quote from The Tempest I used above pick out these words: we, stuff, dreams, made, little, life, rounded, sleep.

When you first start trying to memorise the quote look at the side with the full quote on and read it out loud to yourself several times. Then, flip the card over and use the key words to prompt your memory. Finally, hide the card and see if you can still remember it.

You can carry your index cards around with you for the quotes you’re currently focusing on and if you get a quiet moment e.g. on the school bus or while you’re waiting for a lesson to start you can quickly go over them.

4. Make sticky notes and stick them where you’ll see them

Many people swear by this. You can stick them above your desk, on the back of the loo door, around the mirror where you do your hair and make-up or on the fridge door. Read over them whenever you see them.

I just want to issue a word of warning with this revision technique though…. Often when things are on the walls in your environment you stop noticing them. Are there pictures on the wall in your bedroom that you haven’t looked at properly in ages? Just beware of becoming immune to your sticky notes because they’ve blended into your environment.

5. Draw cartoons or sketches to help you remember

If you’re a visual learner drawing pictures, cartoons or dingbats to help you remember will probably help. There’s a blog post written by an English teacher about this here: Memorising quotes through pictograms.

6. Act them out

If you’re a kinaesthetic learner (someone who learns by doing) then act out the quote. Get into charcter and ‘be’ the person saying that quote.

Alternatively, you could come up with an action for each of the key words.

7. Read, cover, say and write

I did a lot of my learning by reading outloud, covering up the information and then saying it as I wrote it out again and again and again.

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