Driver Knowledge Tests

Memory tricks to help you study for your Driver Knowledge Test

Often a poor memory is the result of a number of influences: we convince ourselves our memory is bad, we’ve been told our memory is bad, we haven’t practiced using our memory, or we haven’t learned how to remember. Don’t despair, though, because everyone can improve their memory and, unless you have something physiologically wrong, there is literally nothing stopping you from remembering facts and figures and therefore making DKT study much easier.

Relate what you are learning to what you are interested in

You will be much more effective at memorising facts if you can relate new knowledge to existing knowledge that you are interested in. For example if you want to learn speed limits and you need to remember specific figures create a fictitious team in your mind that has the speed limits on their jerseys. Give them the names that let you know how fast the maximum speed is, for example, number 40 is Jason School (speed limit in a school zone is 40kph where marked).

Create rhymes and mnemonics

Rhymes like ‘only a fool breaks the two-second rule’ can help you remember facts. Other mnemonics (which are just aids to learning) are used in all kinds of applications. For example, to remember the order of guitar strings, low to high, use Eddy Ate Dynamite, Good-Bye Eddy (E, A, D, G ,B E). You can make up your own.

Get the blood flowing

If you sit down for long periods of time studying then your brain is running on blood that is not oxygen-rich. Get up and do some exercise to get your blood pumping. Extra blood flow brings more nutrients to your brain, and if you exercise regularly more capilliaries and blood vessels develop to transport blood around.

Many studies have shown that adults learn better after high-intensity aerobic exercise – up to 20% better than subjects that remained sedentary and even subjects that did light exercise. Exercise also drops your stress levels making you better able to cope with learning new facts, and taking tests.

Duplicate the environment

Try to make your study environment similar to the environment you’ll take your test in. You won’t have music when you take your test, therefore you shouldn’t study with music. If you do, your brain will associate this knowledge with hearing music, and when it has to recall the facts without music it has to do more work.

Use flash cards and Post-Its

Sticking notes to your fridge and the bathroom mirror – places you’ll see frequently – can help get some stubborn facts into your brain. You can also create yourself a set of flash cards that you can use to run through sets of facts.

Use your short-term memory

A bit of last-minute cramming will put facts into your short-term memory. Make sure you’ve also got them in your long-term memory, too, through regular studying as you won’t hold everything in your short-term memory.

If you have a smartphone or tablet with a data plan then you can take the practice DKT tests on this website while you are waiting to take your test.

Advanced memory techniques

If you want to take this further you can look into the Memory Olympics and advanced techniques such as the method of loci, Haraguchi’s mnemonic system or other mnemonic systems.

Your first steps

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you think that your memory is bad. So let’s take the first step:

  1. Get 10 Post-Its and write down 10 facts that are causing you difficulty, then put them around your house where you’ll see them.
  2. Now get 10 small pieces of paper. Choose 10 more questions that you’re having trouble with and write one each on each piece of paper, and write the answer on the reverse side.
  3. Now take two facts that you are having problems remembering. Take a sport or hobby you do and weave those facts into a story.

There you go – you’ve just easily and quickly taken three positive steps to improving your memory. Your memory will get better as you use it over time.

Darren is an expert on driving and transport, and is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists

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