If you’re looking for techniques to improve your memory before your next classes begin, you’ve come to the right place. The mind is a powerful thing, so why not learn how to make the most it? Memory is a mental process involved in encoding or learning information, storing that information, and using the information for later use. If you’re in school or you’re just looking for ways to improve your memory, below are 7 techniques to improve your memory that’ll help you in each step of the process: learning, storing, and retrieval.
1. Rehearse Immediately
One of the greatest techniques to improve your memory is to rehearse the information as soon as you get it. It’s easier to forget when you don’t review what you’ve learned immediately. After you’ve left your class, take a half hour to go over your notes. It may not seem helpful, but when you wait too long after you’ve learned information to review it, your brain has a harder time storing it in your long-term memory. If you’re going to need that information again, it’s best to rehearse it right after you’ve learned it.
2. Pay Attention
Another great way to improve your memory is to pay attention in the first place. It’s extremely difficult to retrieve information when you’re not focused on it. When you’re in class, avoid surfing the web or doing other work. It’ll be a lot easier to ace that exam when you’ve heard and focused on the information before!
Have you ever taken notes and wondered why you couldn’t remember them later? It’s because you need to go over them more than once or twice to really recall the information when you need it. It’s not about taking notes; the value of notes lies in how you review them, and how much time you take reviewing them. Practice what you’ve learned, and your brain will have an easier time with retrieval.
4. Attach Meaning
Another technique for improving your memory is to attach meaning to what you’ve learned. You could try making up stories or thinking of examples in your daily life that apply to the material. You could even try a mnemonic such as “thirty days hath September, April, June, and November, all the rest have thirty-one excepting February alone which hath but twenty-eight, in fine, till leap year gives it twenty-nine.” It’s more useful to spend time attaching meaning to material than trying to remember the raw material. Try it!
In addition to attaching meaning, it’s very useful to elaborate on the material you learn. Research and find out more information on the topic, and even if you don’t have to know that extra information for the exam, by elaborating, your mind is more likely to recall the general information and the main points.
A great way to remember information is by organizing it! Take note of the headings, subheadings, colors, and the general outline of the chapters or topics. When you organize the information in an outline format, the material changes from a bunch of random facts to a system your brain can easily encode and retrieve.
The last technique that’ll improve your memory is to study the information subject by subject. Don’t study similar material in the same sitting. You’re more likely to blur the information together and have trouble retrieving. For example, it’s better to study Calculus and Psychology one after another than it is to study Calculus then Statistics.
Now that you know a few techniques to improve your memory, I hope you can put them to good use! Which of the techniques did you find most helpful? Do you already use any of these?
Watson, D. (1992). Psychology. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company.