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  • Hey guys,

  • welcome back to the channel. If you are new here, my name is Ali

  • I'm a junior doctor working in Cambridge and in this video

  • I'm going to share with you the essay memorization framework that I

  • used when I was in my third year at Cambridge University.

  • That was the year,

  • in which I was studying psychology and I actually ended up winning the prize for best

  • exam performance in the year (yay) group and I've pretty much exclusively

  • attributed that to this essay memorization framework

  • This method should work for most essay based subjects,

  • but even if your subject is an essay based

  • I hope you might still find this video useful and pick up a

  • few tips and techniques along the way and of course, everything I'm

  • going to mention is going to be linked in timestamps in the video

  • description and in a pinned comment so you can skip around the

  • video if you feel like it, let's just jump into it

  • So there are basically two stages to this method.

  • The first stage is the creation stage

  • and the second stage is the memorization stage.

  • So in the creation stage, the objective is to create

  • first-class essay plans for every conceivable

  • essay title that they could throw at us in the exam.

  • And in the memorization stage,

  • we're going to be committing all of these essay plans to memory

  • by systematically using active recall, spaced repetition,

  • spider diagrams, and flashcards.

  • The idea is that by the time the exam rolls around,

  • you'll have memorized so many essay plans that a lot of them will

  • just come up in the exam anyway

  • because you've predicted the titles and you'll just

  • be able to regurgitate stuff from your brain onto the paper,

  • but even if stuff comes up that you haven't memorized

  • You'll know so much about the subject and you'll have so many

  • content blocks in your head that you'll be able to generate a first-class

  • Essay from scratch.

  • So that was a general overview.

  • Let's now talk about the two components: the creation state and the memorization stage in turn.

  • So the broad objective of the creation stage is to create a large

  • number of really really good essay plans that you can then memorize

  • In the memorization stage and regurgitate onto paper during your exam.

  • Now, it's probably beyond the scope of this video for me

  • to teach you how to write a good essay and

  • probably also beyond the scope of my own expertise.

  • But I will share some tips on three main questions and that's

  • firstly how you decide what essay titles to pick.

  • Secondly, how you plan the essay and thirdly how you make sure your essay plan is really really good.

  • So let's deal with those in turn so firstly how do we decide what I say is we're going to prepare

  • the objective here is to scope the subject and find essay

  • titles that cover the entire breadth of the syllabus. Now the easiest way to

  • do this is to look at past papers and look at whatever pause papers you

  • have available and see what essays have come up in

  • the past and you start off with those and then once you've planned

  • out those essays, you'll know enough about that subject in particular

  • that you'll be able to put yourself in the shoes of examiner's and start thinking,

  • "okay

  • what's a good essay titled that I've not yet asked about?"

  • If you haven't got past papers available that I'm very sorry to hear that.

  • You're just gonna have to put yourself into the examiners shoes from the get-go

  • or you can actually go to your teacher, your professor, your lecturer, or whatever and say, "hey,

  • what's the sort of essays that might come up in the exam? What are some things other things

  • I should be thinking about?

  • So, having made a list of what essays we're going to plan,

  • we then need to actually plan those essays and this is the fun part.

  • This is the part that actually requires doing some doing some cognitive labor

  • So the way I would do this is that I'd give myself one day per essay plan.

  • So in, in the first time of uni

  • I was a slacker only made like five essay plans.

  • In the second term I made about ten, and then, in the Easter holidays

  • i've really ramped it up and made about 35 different ones.

  • And the way I do it is that i'd start off with a question.

  • So, for example, do animals have a theory of mind and then I would use Google

  • To get as much information as I can about that particular question

  • I would ignore the lecture notes initially

  • and I would ignore the recommended reading

  • I'd start off with Google because Google was, it was like a really

  • good way to find the answer to any question that you want.

  • And often I'd be linked to review articles and review papers,

  • and I'd be reading through those review papers

  • Oftentimes, the review paper would directly answer the question,

  • in which case I've pretty much got my essay.

  • I just need to turn it into my own words,

  • but a lot of the time, I'd be following references from the route

  • from the review paper. And then,

  • once I'd created my essay plan

  • I would then look at the lecture notes and the recommended reading

  • and this meant that a lot of my material was hopefully more original

  • than everyone else's because most of the students

  • would have built their essays based around the lecture notes.

  • Whereas I was building my essays on a random Google search.

  • So, I would start off by creating a research document on

  • that particular topic and pretty much copy and paste every relevant bit of every

  • paper I could find.

  • So, this is my 10 page document about theory of mind.

  • I've copied and pasted various bits and rephrased various bits.

  • And you know, very random. I don't even know any of this anymore.

  • This is, and you, know included links at the bottom to

  • where I got the information from so if I need to return to it,

  • I'll be able to find it again.

  • And then once I've got my research document, I spent the next few hours

  • planning out the essay and actually writing it out properly.

  • So, here is my plan, "Is theory of mind a useful concept for understanding social cognition and animals?" And

  • yeah, I've got an intro, I've got a preamble, I've got subheadings,

  • I've got evidence

  • And I've basically taken all of this from these various

  • different resources from books, from the review papers, from the lecture notes, from Google.

  • And I've consolidated them into this one essay that I'm

  • ultimately going to memorize. And as you can see over here,

  • I've pretty much done this for everything within my subject.

  • So this is Section B, "Comparative Cognition,"

  • which is all about the thinking of animals, can an animal's plan for the future?

  • Causality, Cognitive Maps, the Convergent Evolution Theory of Intelligence.

  • "Do animals have a theory of mind?" "Is a theorem an useful concept." And you can see here,

  • I've written an key beside them,

  • which is a foreshadowing as to what's gonna come later in this video.

  • So now we've done a research document. We've planned this essay.

  • We've pretty much written it out based on a research document

  • and we've only given ourselves one day to do this because of Parkinson's law.

  • That work expands to fill the time we allocate to it.

  • But how do we make the essay plan actually good.

  • A lot of things go into good essay plan

  • but in my opinion, there are three things that count .

  • Number one, structure

  • Number two, actually answering the question.

  • And number three,

  • having a bit of flair, a bit of a spice that you're sprinkling in your essay plan.

  • And I think the introduction is the most important part of the essay.

  • because in the introduction, you can signal to the examiner that

  • you're doing all three of these things and when the examiner is marking your paper.

  • They're probably really bored,

  • they've read hundreds of these scripts already.

  • You want to hit them with like a really legit introduction.

  • So here's an example of an introduction from one of my essays about,

  • "Weather judgment and decision making is cognitive,

  • ideological, or affective ie. emotional."

  • So, I written that, "The historical view in social sciences has always been that judgments

  • are based solely on content information, with individuals being assumed

  • to form judgments by systematically evaluating all available

  • content information in an unbiased manner."

  • Oh my god.

  • However, over the past three decades a considerable

  • amount of research has challenged this assumption by showing that

  • Judgments may be formed not only

  • on the basis of content information (cognitive judgments)

  • but also on the basis of feelings (affective judgment).

  • It is now well accepted that judgment can be both effective and cognitive."

  • And here's where the good stuff comes

  • "Whether it is one of the other depends on a multitude of factors;

  • (1) the salience of the affective feelings, (2) the

  • representativeness of the affective feelings for the target,

  • (3) the relevance of the feelings to the judgment, (4) the evaluative

  • malleability of the judgment, and (5) the level of processing intensity.

  • And here is the ultimate clincher for this.

  • "I will discuss these in

  • turn and ultimately argue that generally speaking in day-to-day life,

  • the circumstances are generally those that result an effective rather

  • than cognitive and decision-making."

  • So, if we can disentangle all the verbosity from that paragraph, what I've done is I've

  • laid out the five main bits of the essay, in terms of structure

  • and I've used numbered points for that rather than just a list

  • because numbered makes it really really obvious to the examiner that I've got

  • a good structure. I've also said exactly what the answer to the question is.

  • The question is asking whether our judgments are cognitive,

  • (biological?), or affective emotional and instead of wishingwatching around it,

  • I have said in this essay, "I will argue that they are

  • emotional rather than cognitive in most elements of day-to-day life."

  • So I'm telling the examiner, "Look, I'm answering the question,

  • this is what you're gonna get from me." And finally I've added a little bit of flair.

  • Hopefully with this stuff about the historical context

  • I probably got that from a textbook or from a review paper somewhere

  • and I've probably phrased into my own notes

  • and obviously this is just my plan.

  • So in the exam, I won't quite be using it word-for-word.

  • So, it's absolutely not plagiarism.

  • It's using, you know, useful resources to create a bit of flair by adding a bit of historical context.

  • So hopefully this introduction covers all three points:

  • structure, answering question, and a bit of flair.

  • Now, I'm gonna leave it at that for this section of the video.

  • Obviously, you know, there are entire university courses andentire books

  • and stuff, devoted to the art of writing a good essay.

  • I don't personally think I'm very good at writing an essay,

  • but I think I'm pretty good at using Google effectively and copying and pasting

  • stuff into a research word document and then turning it into

  • fairly legit sounding prose and

  • then, I think I'm pretty good at systematically memorizing all that information.

  • So,

  • if you want to know more about how to write an essay,

  • how I write an essay, then let me know in the comments and

  • I'll maybe try and do a video on it if I can kind of break down the process a bit further.

  • But now let's talk about stage two of the process:

  • The memorization stage.

  • Okay, so by this point,

  • we've got a load of really good essay plans that we have created

  • in Word documents. Now the objective in the memorization stage is to

  • upload, all of those essay plans to our brain so that we canthen regurgitate

  • them in the exam and we're gonna do this using

  • three main techniques: Number one, ANKI flashcards.

  • Number two, spider diagrams

  • And number three, a retrospective revision timetable.

  • So again,

  • Let's talk about these in turn.

  • So firstly, ANKI, and I've basically used Anki flashcards to memorize

  • every paragraph, in every essay plan and this might seem a bit overkill, but it worked for me.

  • So what I've done is as you can see,

  • I've got keywords on the front of the card like "Bauer in 1984"

  • or "Damisch et al 2006" or "Ellis

  • et al 1997," or short-term versus long-term memory introduction.

  • I've even put the introduction into an ANKI flashcard and then over time

  • I'll memorize

  • these, because pretty much anything that goes into my ANKI flashcards

  • because during the exam term, I'm going through my flashcards every single day and

  • I'm doing and keep spaced repetition algorithm.

  • I just know that anything that that's in my ANKI is

  • just going to get uploaded to my brain with a

  • small amount of effort put in, by me, to actually actually memorize this stuff.

  • So yeah, I've got I've got the keywords and I've got the content.

  • So basically if I put you know a paper, Russell & Fehr in 1987."

  • I'm describing in the ANKI flashcard what that paper shows, which means that overall I've

  • create these blocks of content that every ANKI flashcard is his own little block

  • and that block can slot into my essay that I've planned.

  • But also, if a weird essay comes up that I haven't explicitly planned,

  • I still have all these blocks of knowledge in my head,

  • and that means if there is a paper that's relevant

  • I'll know what it is. I'll know what the reference is. I'll know what the content is.

  • I'll know how to describe the experiment and I'll just be able to put it into

  • even new essays that I'm writing on the spot in the exam.

  • So that's all well and good, but obviously knowing

  • Tversky and Kahneman experiment from 1974 or Mussweiler & Strack from 2000,

  • those things aren't that helpful,

  • unless you can also associate them with their own essays andthat's

  • where the spider diagrams is coming.

  • All right,