As most of us struggle in memorizing lists of concepts and recalling stored information from our “knowledge bank,” I have here posted that top memory improvement tips according to Kendra Cherry which is hoped to bring us comfort in the field of memory. I find this one really helpful and I guess for most you as well. Examination is just one of the things we frequently encounter as students of which good memory is essential before we can proceed to a much higher level of thinking.
These strategies have been established within cognitive psychology literature to improve memory, enhance recall and increase retention of information.
1. Focus your attention on the materials you are studying. Attention is one of the major components of memory. In order for information to move from short-term memory into long-term memory, you need to actively attend to this information. Try to study in a place free of distractions such as television, music and other diversions.
Though others are convenient in doing “multitasking” along with studying or reviewing of lessons, much has been said about the difference of performance when we are studying solely focused on the learning materials compared to one in a multitasking condition.
2. Avoid cramming by establishing regular study sessions. According to Bjork (2001), studying materials over a number of session’s gives you the time you need to adequately process the information. Research has shown that students who study regularly remember the material far better than those who do all of their studying in one marathon session.
As we all know, it is not advisable to do bounty of course works in a single night. Chances are, we just end up with shallow understanding of the materials we studied, or even worse, not to remember anything the following day. Such an unpleasant situation to experience!
3. Structure and organize the information you are studying. Researchers have found that information is organized in memory in related clusters. You can take advantage of this by structuring and organizing the materials you are studying. Try grouping similar concepts and terms together, or make an outline of your notes and textbook readings to help group related concepts.
I do this technique personally as I find study materials or contents easier to absorb when they are presented in an outline form. The concepts are easily grouped into clusters which for me helps in facilitating easy recall.
4. Utilize mnemonic devices to remember information. Mnemonic devices are a technique often used by students to aid in recall. A mnemonic is simply a way to remember information. For example, you might associate a term you need to remember with a common item that you are very familiar with. The best mnemonics are those that utilize positive imagery, humor or novelty. You might come up with a rhyme, song or joke to help remember a specific segment of information.
I’ve learned many of these mnemonics when I was reviewing for the board exam. Most of the review centers I guess utilize this form of facilitating easy recall of such concepts especially that in nursing, several of the signs and symptoms of a particular disease can be arranged into a meaningful keyword. In fact, I do create some as I go with my own lecture sessions.
5. Elaborate and rehearse the information you are studying. In order to recall information, you need to encode what you are studying into long-term memory. One of the most effective encoding techniques is known as elaborative rehearsal. An example of this technique would be to read the definition of a key term, study the definition of that term and then read a more detailed description of what that term means. After repeating this process a few times, you’ll probably notice that recalling the information is much easier.
No wonder many claim that “repetition leads to mastery.” Just read and understand the concepts couple of times, pause for a moment and see if it works in recalling things easier.
6. Relate new information to things you already know. When you are studying unfamiliar material, take the time to think about how this information relates to things that you already know. By establishing relationships between new ideas and previously existing memories, you can dramatically increase the likelihood of recalling the recently learned information.
It simply encourages us to connect the new information or ideas that we have just encountered to those that already exist in our minds. After all, prior knowledge will help us in easily associating the new materials with a more meaningful sense.
7. Visualize concepts to improve memory and recall. Many people benefit greatly from visualizing the information they study. Pay attention to the photographs, charts and other graphics in your textbooks. If you do not have visual cues to help, try creating your own. Draw charts or figures in the margins of your notes or use highlighters or pens in different colors to group related ideas in your written study materials.
It’s a bit weird but there are really persons who can be viewed as having “photographic memory.” According to them, they can even recall in which particular part of the page of the book the information is contained. When they have difficulty locating for the answer, they try to go back by imagining the preceding sections of the notes. Somehow I can relate! 😀
8. Teach new concepts to another person. Research suggests that reading materials out loud significantly improves memory of the material. Educators and psychologists have also discovered that having students actually teach new concepts to others enhances understanding and recall. You can use this approach in your own studies by teaching new concepts and information to a friend or study partner.
As I’ve shared in my previous entry, I do this most of the time. After reviewing my lessons, I used to conduct my mini-lectures in front of the mirror or wall just to make sure I have absorbed the essential concepts needed.
9. Pay extra attention to difficult information. Have you ever noticed how it’s sometimes easier to remember information at the beginning or end of a chapter? Researchers have found that the order of information can play a role in recall, which is known as the serial position effect. While recalling middle information can be difficult, you can overcome this problem by spending extra time rehearsing this information. Another strategy is to try restructuring what you have learned so it will be easier to remember. When you come across an especially difficult concept, devote some extra time to memorizing the information.
If you find yourself typical of this scenario (serial position effect), then try to exert more attention and focus on the middle part of the text or material. Also try to divide the middle section into subgroups to make it more appealing and easy to absorb.
10. Vary your study routine. Another great way to increase your recall is to occasionally change your study routine. If you are accustomed to studying in one specific location, try moving to a different spot during your next study session. If you study in the evening, try spending a few minutes each morning reviewing the information you studied the previous night. By adding an element of novelty to your study sessions, you can increase the effectiveness of your efforts and significantly improve your long-term recall.
Basically, I can say that some of the presented tips here are already known for many people yet are not being continuously practiced for a more pronounced effect. These have been proven by many people and I think there’s no harm in trying. My own suggestion is to work on the tips that are comfortable for us. I mean after trying sessions of every suggested technique, we can always resort to those which we feel can really help us. Remember that it’s easier to recall something if we study with comfort and fun. Don’t stress yourself! However, sometimes, we really need to go out of our comfort zone to maximize our skills in learning. Just learn to balance, and that’s the final key I think.
Happy learning! God bless! 😀 😀 😀
Kendra Cherry. Top 10 Memory Improvement Tips. Retrieved July 7, 2013 from http://psychology.about.com/od/cognitivepsychology/tp/memory_tips.htm