Improving Memory

One major way to help retain information is to ensure it is fully coded, the following can help make sure you avoid forgetting due to encoding failure.

  • Use Elaborative Processes:
    • Make the information more meaningful by connecting it back to preexisting knowledge.
  • Be selective:
    • Practice selective markings in your texts and use marginal notes to further summarize ideas.
  • Organize:
    • Organizing class notes and summarizing chapters, or parts of chapters, can be quite helpful. Consider summarizing your summaries so that the overall network of ideas becomes clearer and simpler.
  • Consider whole versus part learning:
    • For shorter material, memorize it as a whole. If it is a lot of material, memorize it in smaller chunks.
  • Beware serial position:
    • If you have to memorize something in order, you will tend to forget the items in the middle
  • Encode retrieval cues:
    • Knit meaningful cues into your memory code to help you retrieve it when you need it. If I put something shocking, like, FUCK, you are now much more likely to recall this information if you are once again shocked by that.
  • Overlearn:
    • Memory is greatly improved when you study beyond bare mastery. Even if you know all the information, keep learning more.
  • Use spaced practice:
    • Alternate between short study sessions and brief resting periods.

Now that I have covered how to encode and save the information, you still have to be able to retrieve those memories when you want them, so here are some ways to help you do just that:

  • Rely on retrieval practice:
    • Try to remember what you just read by rephrasing the information into your own words. If you spaced your practice and overlearned, then you will be fine, just trust the retrieval system.
  • Use a strategy to aid recall:
    • Successful retrieval is usually the result of a planned search of memory. Here are some hints for recapturing context and jogging memories
      • Say or write down everything that you can remember that relates to the information you are seeking. No matter how trivial.
      • Try to recall events or information in different orders.
      • Recall from different viewpoints.
      • Mentally put yourself back in the situation where you learned the information, try to recreate the event. smell, wind, everything.
  • Extend how long you remember:
    • When learning new information, practice retrieval repeatedly. gradually lengthen the amount of time between tests.
  • Mind your sleep:
    • Sleep or rest after studying to reduce interference.
  • Mind your hunger:
    • People who are hungry almost always score lower on the memory test.

 

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