Tips for Memory
Make The Information Meaningful: What does a degree mean to you? Look for connections between your goals and what you are studying. Your motivation level will significantly increase if there is a goal and purpose behind what you are trying to learn. More motivation leads to increased concentration and makes the information easier to remember.
Organize The Information: Create order out of the material you are trying to learn. Outline the main ideas or important points; use bulleted or numbered lists to break the information into manageable chunks. May highlight the material or use different colors when taking notes to help with organization.
Make Sure You Understand The Material You Are Studying: Understanding is the key to remembering! When something is understood, it is easier to remember. Ask questions and get answers if you are unfamiliar with the material you are trying to learn.
Write It Down: Writing a note to yourself helps you remember an idea, even if you never look at the note again. Try writing it not just once, but many times. Remember when you wrote spelling words over and over as a child; there was a reason for that. Writing engages a different kind of memory than speaking.
Be Active: Be an active learner. Come to class prepared by having read the materials to be discussed and reviewed notes from previous lectures. Take notes and ask questions. Compare notes with other students. Re-write your notes. Activity helps consolidate data (knowledge? learning?) in your memory. Join or form a study group.
Create Pictures and Visual Cues: Illustrate concepts with drawings and diagrams or use mental imagery (pictures in your mind) to connect facts and illustrate relationships. Visual information is processed by a different part of the brain than verbal information. By using another part of your brain, you will increase your chances of recalling the information. Write out vocabulary words; put notes in your own words; make note cards. These are ways to visually learn.
Relax: When we are relaxed, we absorb information more quickly and recall it more accurately. Being relaxed does not mean being lazy. Active learners can also be relaxed. Take short breaks while studying to improve relaxation, which will result in better recall of information.
Spread Out Your Study Times: Research suggests that marathon study sessions are not effective. Most people retain more information from several shorter study periods than from one long study session.
Recite and Repeat: Repetition is the most effective memory device. Repetition forges a trail through pathways of your brain, making the information easier to recall. Recitation works best when you put the concepts in your own words because this forces you to think about it. You will also be testing yourself to see if you know the material and understand it. There are three forms of recitation: thinking about it, writing it, or saying out loud.
Review: After you have finished your reading assignment, go back and review. The more frequently you review, the more information you will retain in long-term memory. Go over class notes as soon as the lecture is over as well. Study them before you go to sleep. Everyday, spend part of your study time reviewing information, and reviewing for a longer time period at least once a week.