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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Maximizing Information Retention

Working as a police officer is sometimes like working with a jigsaw puzzle. As a police officer, information is one of your key assets. Your ability to observe, retain, and recall a key piece of information can make or break a case for investigators and prosecutors alike. I am sure there are some gifted people who can retain mounds of information, but in my opinion, it is a learned skill. In your daily routine, you can develop habits that will help you observe, retain, and recall information as needed. In the section that follows, we will cover two basic techniques that you can use to prepare yourself for the police officer exam. The following are two techniques that will help you retain information for the exam:

  • Organize the information

  • Create notes from memory

Organize the Information

Organizing and ordering information can significantly improve retention of information. For example, if you are asked to memorize 100 randomly generated letters in a particular order, it will be difficult to retain and recall this information. On the other hand, if the same randomly generated letters make a sentence that you can understand, or you construct some meaning and make links to existing knowledge, it will be very easy to retain this information. Apply the same principle when you study for the test. This approach can be applied not just to the police officer test, but also to any academic test. Organizing and adding meaning to the test material makes storage and retrieval of the information easier. The following strategies will help you organize information to increase your understanding of the material. You can organize this material on paper, similar to making an outline, or simply organize the material in your memory bank.

Create Notes from Memory

During the study session, you will be given some loose sheets of paper for note taking. You will not be allowed to keep these notes in the class, but you can use these sheets to create an outline of all the information being provided in the study guide. After this outline has been created, it will be a much shorter document to remember than the complete exam guide. When you are ready to take the test, the testers will provide additional scrap pieces of paper. Even though you are not allowed to keep your outline, you will be allowed to create the outline based on what you remember. So, as soon you enter the exam after the study session and the break, you can perform a memory dump and create an outline of everything you studied in the study session.

Because you now have some idea of how you should approach the study material, let's see how you can apply some of these principles to the police officer test exam in particular.

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