Student Guide: 5 Ways to Improve Your Memory
There’s no getting around it. A good portion of learning at any academic level requires that we use our memory. Some courses involve an enormous amount of memorizing – everything from the periodic table to the thousands of parts of human anatomy. The problem is, our brain doesn’t always want to cooperate. This might stem from the fact that our brain is a muscle which needs regular workouts to function properly.
Tips to Improve your Long-term Memory
1) Remember to Pay Attention
Have you really forgetten something, or did you forget to pay attention? When information seems dull, we tend to turn off our attention. Although we are still hearing or reading words, they are not sinking in. Try to pique your interest in the subject you’re learning. Take notes in class to help you focus on the topic and review them later.
2) Organize Information
We usually have an easier time remembering something if it is related to something else. Use categories to group together similar concepts or theories. As well, just as a telephone number is usually divided into two parts, break up the information into smaller doses of no more than seven items. You could go a step further and organize information in geographical, chronological, or alphabetical order.
3) Repeat Information Verbally
You’ve probably heard the phrase “repetition is the mother of retention.” Repeating information out loud is an excellent way to help your memory retain it. Besides just seeing words on a page, you’ll also engage the function of hearing when you verbally recite something. Involving multiple parts of the brain in the memorizing process will strengthen neural connections and make it harder to forget.
4) Draw it Out
Drawing charts, tables, or even quick thumbnails can help you successfully store information in your memory, especially if you’re a visual learner. Word or picture bubbles connected with arrows can help you visually organize facts so that you’ll be able to mentally follow that same path when you want to recall them.
5) Exercise Your Brain
Learning a language or a musical instrument stimulates the brain and improves its overall functioning. Research studies have found that students with musical training are significantly better at verbal and visual memory tests than those who are not involved in musical training. The bottom line? Keep exercising your brain!
The worst thing you can do is give up on your memory and accept failure or resort to cheating. After all, if a bird can find its hidden seeds months later, or a squirrel its cache of nuts, there’s hope for all of us. Following these simple tips can help you train your memory which will lead to better grades and less frustration.