I seem to be finding a lot of inspiration that does not rely on news stories lately, so my second blog post today is inspired by somebody I know who is currently preparing for their final A-Level exams. This person wondered if I had any tips on remembering quotations for a Literature exam, and I shared with them the methods I used, and still use, so I thought I would also share them with you! The tips below I mostly use to remember quotations from poetry or drama, though they can also be used for remembering quotations from novels (and for remembering formulae and constants in Mathematics and Science):
1). Read the lines aloud. Nothing helps me to remember lines more than by reading them aloud, by performing them and repeating them at various times. If I am trying to remember quotations of various characters, then I will assume different voices for each of the characters by varying my tone, pitch and pace (though if a stage direction denotes how I must perform a line, then I will perform it that way). People may think you are crazy if they find your performing your own one-man show, but when you can remember those quotations it will make you feel awesome. You could even ask somebody to join in with you to help you practice your lines! Now some of you may cry, ‘I need to remember Shakespearean or Middle English quotations, how will I manage to remember them when the language is so different to what I speak now?’ A recommendation I have often heard is to find a version of the text you are studying that has footnotes to help you understand some of the words. My personal tip with Middle English words is to think about how you try to pronounce a modern English word you see for the first time. Break the word down into syllables if you can, and sound the words out. What do they sound like? I often feel like I am speaking Geordie (the dialect of Newcastle in North East England) when I read Middle English aloud.
2). Create a notebook or poster or cards of quotations. Writing the quotations down, and jazzing them up in any way you see fit, for example, highlighting, writing them on coloured paper, doodling next to them and so on, can also help you to remember them. The best things about cards and notebooks is that they are portable, so if you have an urge to revise when you are not near your text or filed papers, then voilà, you can.
3). Watch or listen to performances. Similar to my method in tip one, where I assume different voices for different characters, listening to actors say the lines can also help to lodge them in your memory, as their tone and pacing will be different to yours. It gives your learning a bit of variation.
4). Take a quotation quiz. I love quizzes, whether taking them alone online or playing them with a group, and since they are not called that fear-inducing word exams, they can help you to feel more relaxed in answering questions. At A-Level, one of my English teachers split our class into two teams, and we had to finish off or remember quotations from the plays we were studying. It became competitive, but it was extremely fun, and it helped us to learn. As a result, I always message a few of the teams members if I hear a quotation on the television, and it can lead to us starting a conversation!
These are my four tips for remembering quotations. They are only suggestions though, and I am sure there will be other methods you can use.
Do you use any of the above tips, or have some of your own? Post in the comments below!