8 ways to aid your memory

It is easier to forget something than to remember so to help yourself remember something, apply as many of the following techniques as possible.

1. Be flexible. Experiment with what helps you remember, whether it’s a mnemonic or simply adding color.

2. Overlearn. Practice and reorganize what you intend to remember in as many ways as possible. Use it while speaking and writing, even act it out. The more time you spend, the more it’s ingrained.

3. Imitate. Schedule study time to reflect the time of day when you’ll be using the material (make study time the same as test time). Create a similar environment. Study without music if the room will be quiet. Study at a desk instead of on your bed.

4. Rephrase and explain. Try role-playing. Take the view of the teacher and explain the material to someone else, your dog, or a stuffed animal. You definitely understand the material when you can teach someone else.

5. Eliminate accidental and unrelated associations. A study situation where a phone rings constantly produces breaks in the association process. If you’re singing along to Eric Clapton throughout your study session, you will relate the material to Eric Clapton. This is only helpful if your topic is indeed Eric Clapton.

6. Eliminate previous mistakes. Take note of any previous mistakes you’ve made while studying and don’t do them anymore. If music distracts you, don’t play music during your next study session.

7. Decide on order of importance. Some things are more important than others. In a particular chapter or topic, decide what’s the big picture and organize everything else around that.

8. Become emotionally involved. This doesn’t always work with schoolwork, especially if you don’t care about a particular subject. But notice how you remember things you care about. If you can somehow relate the topic to something you care about, you’ll remember it better.