How to Develop a Photographic Memory for the UPSC Civil Services Exam

While good memory is a factor in doing well in any exam, in the case of UPSC Civil Services examination guide, an in-depth understanding of the concepts is more important. The syllabus is so comprehensive that it is impossible to remember everything. Hence, emphasis should always be on knowledge. But we need to understand that there are many aspects of UPSC preparation where memory also plays an important role.

Methods to Develop a Photographic memory for the UPSC Civil Service Exam

  • Revise: Revision is significant to improve memory. The fleeting nature of consciousness requires constant rejuvenation. This we can enhance by revising multiple times. Because of this reason that we emphasize on various revisions. With each revision, it takes lesser time to remember. This strategy has been highlighted in our post, outlining a plan to prepare for prelims in the last two months.
  • Recall: After reading a topic, you should do this exercising of recalling what you have learned. For example, if you have read all the Directive Principle of State Policy, then try to remember all of them on the next day. Repeat every day until you can recall correctly. One of our test series students has come to us – saying that she is not able to remember Fundamental Rights, DPSPs and Fundamental Duties even after multiple revisions.
    • Our advice to aspirants is to make a list of all articles from 13 to 51A with a short description of the article beside the article number. Every morning they should start with jotting down all the articles they could remember. They should repeat this process every morning till they can get all the articles relating to Fundamental Rights, DPSPs and Fundamental duties correct.
  • SQ3R strategy: While reading any textbook, follow the SQ3R: Survey-Question-Read-Recite-Review strategy. This study strategy helps students “get it” the first time they read a text by teaching students how to read and think like a competent reader.
  • Create Mind Maps: Making mind maps helps in the following ways:
    • It will be helpful to revise quickly.
    • Making good mind maps takes efforts, but it makes sure it leads to a better understanding of the topic.
    • Critical aspects of a specific topic will be mapped in your mind making it easier to recall.
  • Take Tests: Taking tests is essential to review what one has learnt. By taking tests and considering where one has gone wrong, one will be able to remember better the concepts where he/she has made mistakes. While attempting a practice test, attitude should be that of learning from one’s mistakes. After trying a practice test, one has to review the performance and see why errors were made, where the concepts were clear or not and so on.
    • Note- Apart from the above, living a healthy lifestyle (food and adequate sleep) also helps in better memory retention.
  • Readout loud/ Talk to yourself: This is the most ingenious technique used by almost everyone at some point to remember things easily. The aspirants can use this as a study technique for nearly all of their exams. Because scientifically when we regularly talk to ourselves while studying or reading, we actively learn and pay attention to things more easily.
  • Watch tutorials as well- rather than just reading the text: Watching tutorials for any exam can help you remember the facts and concepts. Because if you watch essential and vital ideas in a video form – it will help. It helps in forming a strong and a firm balanced opinion in one’s mind with the pros and cons from both perspectives/sides of the debate. Watching videos is helpful because many of us tend to remember more from what we have seen than what we have read.


Although it helps to have photographic memory especially when doing exams, it is still best to know and understand in-depth of comprehensive topic such as the UPSC Civil Services Exams.

Areas covered in this article

  • Tips to improve your photographic memory

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