Students enrolled in online degree programs can likely relate to the following situation: big test coming up; worth a large chunk of the overall grade for the course; lots of information to retain in order to fare as well as you'd like.

One problem: Some of the material is more difficult to retain to memory than other course concepts to which you can more easily relate. Once it's time for the test, how can you remember some of this stuff?

We have a few suggestions that might help.

The next time you have trouble remembering specific material before a test, try some (or all) of these four best tactics to commit information to memory for your online degree program. It will take some time management and organizational dedication, but if it works, wouldn't it be worth it?

Tactic No. 1: Mnemonics

If you're a visual learner, mnemonics may be an effective method of remembering material. Mnemonics, derived from the ancient Greek word mnemonikos (meaning "of memory"), rely on associations between easily-relatable concepts that can be traced back to the data to be remembered. Here's how to put the concept to use for school:

Ask the expert: "Choose a secure and well-known environment," Grantham University Psychology instructor Stephanie Phillips suggests. "Next, vividly imagine each item you want to remember and place it somewhere in this room. As you are asked to recall the information, such as on a test, visually 'walk' yourself through the room, recalling where you placed the information. This particular method improves with practice."

Tactic No. 2: Distributed Practice

Not a fan of cramming a massive amount of information into a tiny window of time? We didn't think so.

Instead, try spacing your study time over a period of weeks. This way, you won't have to look at the material for hours upon hours each time you pick up the textbook. Distributed practice, or breaking the content into digestible chunks, can enhance the amount of information retained over an extended period of time. Phillips recommends 15-minute intervals as being the most efficient way to establish a manageable study time frame.

Tactic No. 3: State-dependent Learning

This type of learning is based upon the notion that recalling information is based upon the physiological and mental state of the individual. In other words, for optimal results, try studying when you're in the proper frame of mind.

Ask the expert: "Emotions can also serve as a recall cue," Phillips said. "Meaning if you study when you are in a happy mood, you are more likely to recall the information. You are less likely to recall that same information if you are in a depressed mood."

Tactic No. 4: Elaborative Rehearsal

Elaborative rehearsal is a deep form of processing the material that involves applied thoughts of the information's meaning.

Ask the expert: "Repetition of material is generally a less effective memory strategy than is semantic, or meaning-based encoding," Phillips said.

How can you give this method of learning a try? Phillips suggests three steps for elaborative rehearsal that may help you store more information to memory.

  • After reading a few paragraphs in your text or assigned reading, stop and ask yourself what you just read.
  • Go back over major concepts in the reading and paraphrase them. By paraphrasing these concepts, you are processing the concept at a semantic level rather than a structural level.
  • Relate the information to someone or something in your life. This will make recalling the information easier.