Video Study Tips - Essay Memorisation Framework

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Essay Memorisation Framework

This is a summary of Ali Abdaal’s YouTube Video : How I Ranked 1st at Cambridge University - The Essay Memorisation Framework.

The original YouTube video can be found here: How I ranked 1st at Cambridge University - The Essay Memorisation Framework

Writing essays is one of the most frequently occurring methods of assessment used throughout medical studies. This essay memorisation framework guides learners through creating and memorising essays in preparation of assessment.

The Creation Stage
Overall, this stage aims to create a large number of high quality essay plans that you can memorise and recall on demand.

When deciding on the essay plans you want to create, it is a good idea to scope a topic and find essay titles that cover the breadth of the syllabus. Past exam papers are a trove of information when it comes to finding essay topics to cover. If this resource is not available to you, an available option is to approach a lecturer and ask about the types of essay topics they would want to explore.

Planning your essays is the next step. Allocate a specific amount of time to spend on researching a question of choice using a variety of sources (including Google, published articles, lecture notes and recommended readings). Using a variety of sources ensures that your essay will be based on more information than what many other students would use in their writing. Once your research is collated, take time to prepare an essay that consolidates the information you have found. This is the essay you will memorise.

To ensure your essay plan is of high quality, you need to consider its structure, answering the question and adding a unique flair to your discussion. Your introduction is the best place to demonstrate this because it shows the lecturer that you are well-versed in the subject matter.

The Memorisation Stage

Once you have created a handful of excellent essay plans, it is time to commit them to memory for recall in assessment situations. There are different tools and strategies that can be used to aid you with memorising.

1. Anki
This software allows you to create flashcards that can help you memorise all your essay plans. Using key words or terms, you can add information from publications or other relevant sources that allow you to answer the essay question effectively. In addition, you will also have a trove of information to refer back to in the event that a new essay question pops up in the final exam.

There may be certain information in your essay that may not be useful to your essay writing if you cannot refer them back to specific essays. To overcome this hurdle, spider diagrams can be used.

2. Spider Diagrams
Having memorised large blocks of information from your Anki flashcards, you can create a spider diagram for each essay plan you’ve created. Each spider diagram will contain all information and key words that can trigger your memory about the points you want to make for your essay. This uses active recall, as the diagram will have you retrieve information related to your essay plan. In addition, the spider diagrams allow you to refer to the relevant Anki flashcard.

3. Retrospective Revision Timetable
A retrospective revision timetable involves the creation of a spreadsheet that lists prepared essay plans. You then input the dates on which each essay plan was studied and colour code the appropriate cell based on how well your revision went (thereby potentially signalling a need for repeated revision).

This overall approach of creation and memorisation allow you to prepare high quality essays for a wide range of topics and retrieve information to answer them as needed. Even if a question comes up in the exam that you did not prepare for, you may have blocks of information that will allow you to create a completely new essay to answer any question.