Memory can be such a fickle partner. When we need it the most, it tends to cheat on us, Ask any college students and you will know how the common wish among all students is for better memory. Here are 8 powerful memory improvement techniques (MIT) for college students.
Here are some ways to remember what you read:
Memory Improvement Technique 1 – Teach your friend
Teaching your classmate or friend can be a powerful memory improvement technique. To be able to teach requires your mind to be at its sharpest. The need to be prepared to clarify any possible doubt requires committing relevant information to memory. This is what makes teaching a proven memory improvement technique.
Teaching others also sends the signal to your brain that the information being taught is important as you need to be in a position to present it to others. Hence the mind makes an extra effort to remember it.
The additional pressure to not fall flat on your face while teaching a friend and come out like a jackass drives the mind to pay special attention to the stuff you wish it to retain for a longer period of time.
MIT 2 – Attention (Concentration)
Getting one’s focus right is key to ensuring the most productive learning happens. Attention most often than not is fleeting. However, it pays to learn for 5 minutes with complete attention than learn for a whole hour with wavering attention.
One easy way to keep your attention anchored is to use a pencil and paper while studying. The moment you learn or recall something important, scribble it across the piece of paper with the pencil in your hand. This simple technique helps stay focussed and the writing also reinforces the concepts learnt.
This focus is often tied to a certain time of the day and a certain place that you feel absolutely comfortable at. Identify these two aspects and you would have done a mighty service to conditioning your mind to get the right focus when you need it most.
MIT 3 – Interest Levels
Studies tend to become a drag when they become uninteresting. Boring subjects tend to drain you of your energy. One way to get your interest levels up is to personalize the topic at hand. Find out a personal beneficial reason to study a particular topic. That should get you going.
Get creative while learning or revising.
- You can prepare flashcards to make learning fun.
- Become a quiz master and design a 10 question quiz on a topic that you can challenge your friend with.
- Take a walk and try to recollect the top 20 things you learnt in the past 1 hour
MIT 4 – Confidence
Confidence is a big plus when you are trying to commit stuff to memory. Confidence gives the edge of positivity to your brain to help it absorb and retain facts and figures.
Starting your daily study routine with a simple “I can do it” infuses your mind with a doze of confidence. Confidence gets your mind to learn more. A mind content on having learnt more oozes with extra confidence the next day. Confidence and learning act as a positive spiral that propel each other up.
MIT 5 – Organization
At times, our memory fails not because of the overload of information but the inability of the brain to organize loads of information.
Organizing information helps the mind to
- retrieve the information quickly
- associate new information seamlessly with existing information
- enhance the amount of new information that the brain can keep taking in
How can you get your mind to be more organized?
Organize your studies around a predictable routine that your mind gets used to.
Every new concept has to be revisited with the first 24 hours, a second time within the first 96 hours and a third time within the week. Just as cement sets in and becomes the hardest in the first 24 hours, attains 80% strength in 48 hours and close to 99% of its full strength in 96 hours, the human mind too needs 3 minimal revisits to concretize information in itself.
MIT 6 – Note Taking
Scribbling, jotting down or note taking can actually be a great memory aid.
When a person notes down something, he or she is relying on their visual ability to retain things. The visual mode of recording things can be extremely effective since it enables a picture of the information to be formed in the mind.
A picture is worth a thousand words. The same holds true for remembering information that can be represented in the form of a picture
MIT 7 – Review
Revisiting stuff you have newly learnt is essential to commit it to long term memory.
Reviewing is generally considered a mundane task. However one can make it exciting too.
- Review information as you take your evening walks
- You can review stuff via flashcards or visual cues
- Review stuff by popping questions to your partner and aid each other in learning.
Reviewing is faster every time you revisit a topic. Each successive review takes shorter and shorter durations of time.
MIT 8 – Spaced Practice or Distributed Practice
While a review is important, proper spacing between reviews is equally important. Proper spacing helps the brain to understand that something is important enough to commit it to long term memory. It also helps the brain subject itself to self-tests on whether it is able to retrieve the stored information when requested.
Overall, the idea behind each of the time tested methods listed above is to enable the brain to identify information that has to be moved from STM (Short Term Memory) to LTM (Long Term Memory). Keep practising these methods and over time they will become ingrained in you.