Memory Strategies 1
Home Up Information Processing Memory Strategies 1 Memory Strategies 2 Mnemonics Anomalies Lincoln/Kennedy Memory Links Constructivism




Intend to Remember: Attitude has much to do with whether you remember something or not. Next time you go into class, say to yourself, "I am going to remember everything I hear in class today." It might amaze you how much more you retain. Sit in the front of the room and focus on the teacher. Get involved,
participate, engage. 

Selectivity: Determine what is most important and select those parts to study. Take notes from the textbook. This will condense the amount of material you have to study, and writing things down often facilitates recall.

Recitation: Saying ideas aloud is probably the most powerful tool you have to transfer knowledge from short-term to long-term memory. This is why working in a study group is extremely helpful. Reading your notes aloud also helps, but make sure you paraphrase as you read. If you can put the concepts in your own words, it is more likely that you understand the material you are studying. Some students find it helpful to teach each other. Some students even find it helpful to read their textbooks aloud into a tape recorder. They report being better able to understand the material when they hear it rather than simply reading it. If there is supplemental instruction provided in a course you are taking, do attend those sessions. They give you an
opportunity to review and clarify material you have covered in class. 

Basic Background: Your understanding of new material depends a great deal on how much you already know about the subject. The more you increase your basic knowledge, the easier it is to build new knowledge on this background. Some students find it helpful to find another text on the same material. Reading about the same concept from a range of sources can expand your understanding by allowing you to view it from a couple of author's perspectives. 

Mnemonic Devices: Mnemonic devices can be useful when you need to remember a list of facts, or steps in a procedure. For instance, the word HOMES contains the first letter of all the great lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior). If you had to label a map, listing them from west to east, you could use
the sentence Some Men Hate Each Other to remember their order. Once you memorize them, write them on the back of your test before you even look at the test. Refer to the list when needed. 

Repetition: For some courses, repetition and drill is necessary. For instance, if you have to remember how to identify all the muscles in the body, you need to practice doing it. Memorization is necessary.  Apply what you have learned to your own life: Make it real. If the concepts are more abstract, discussion is often the best way to fully understand and "wrap yourself" around the issues, ideas, or theories you need to learn.