attention and intend to remember
Which are you more
likely to remember, the name of a coworker or your boss? We remember
when we decide to remember and when we have a reason/motivation.
1. Eliminate distractions
2. Develop a strong
motivation; think of a reason why you want to learn this.
how to remember each fact & concept as you encounter it
1. Decide whether you
will emphasize concepts, memory devices, visualization, or reciting.
2. Relate new material
to facts and concepts you already know.
3. To memorize terminology,
think about familiar parts of the words or study the greek and
1. To improve your
long-term memory and to perform better on complex test questions,
focus on understanding the basic ideas rather than simply memorizing
2. Explain concepts
to family members and study partners. This "teaching"
will help you deepen your own understanding.
1. As you listen to
a lecture or read, use "advanced organizers" obtained
by prior knowledge or scanning to organize the new information.
Just as an office worker needs a filing system, you need a mental
filing system if you hope to comprehend and retrieve what you
2. During review, organize
your notes by writing questions or headings in the left margin.
Create study charts to summarize your notes or text.
3. The human brain
appears to be able to hold only seven chunks of information in
immediate memory, so breaking up material into categories will
help you remember.
Half of the brain thinks
in words and the other half in pictures; use both parts of your
1. Study pictures,
diagrams, and charts in your text and develop your own.
2. Visualize information.
For example, to remember the date of lincoln's birth, visualize
a log cabin with 1809 carved above the door.
what you've learned
Recite for these reasons:
it increases your level of attention, it creates a stronger neural
trace of memory by utilizing more senses, it provides immediate
feedback for your studying and thereby increases your motivation.
Researcher arthur gates found that regardless of the subject,
the more time students spent reciting, the better they remembered.
1. Recite as you read,
as you review your class notes, and as you study.
2. For material which
you need to remember in some detail, reciting should take up 60%-80%
of your study time (relative to reading).
soon and in small, frequent "doses"
While longer study
sessions are effective for writing or for creative projects, most
study is best done in short sessions with breaks (for example,
study for 50 minutes and take a break for 10). Researcher a.m.
stone found that students who reviewed their lecture notes for
just five minutes after class recalled one and a half times as
much as students who didn't when tested six weeks later.
1. Review your lecture
notes immediately (that day or the next).
2. As you walk to your
next class, recall the main points of the lecture you just attended.
memory devices such as associations and mnemonics
Mnemonics are most
useful for memorizing terminology and lists of facts, rather than
concepts. G.r. miller conducted a study of mnemonic devices and
found that students who used them raised their test scores (by
77% in one case).
1. Use word mnemonics
-- such as homes to remember the great lakes: huron, ontario,
michigan, erie, superior.
2. Use sentence mnemonics
-- such as "kings play cards on fairly good soft velvet."
to remember the biological classification system: kingdom, phylum,
class, order, family, genus, species, variety.
3. Use mnemonics for
spelling and for keeping terminology straight: a principal is
a pal; a principle is a rule. Cyanates, i ate (harmless chemicals);
cyanide, i died (poisonous chemicals).
4. To improve memory,
add humor and an "off color" element to your memory
is a natural process, with the greatest losses occurring within
the first 24 hours of learning. After one day you will forget
46% of what you read, 79% after 14 days, and 81% after 28 days.
Clearly, it is essential to review readings and lecture notes
within one or two days of initial exposure, with brief additional
reviews interspersed in later weeks.