8 Ways to Improve Your Memory

College students have about a million things going on at any given time. When you’re that busy, it’s easy to forget things. Unfortunately, what’s forgotten is usually important and course-related. If you’re looking to improve your memory and your academic success, keep on reading.

8 Ways to Improve Your Memory

1. Be flexible.

Experiment with what helps you remember, whether it’s a mnemonic device or color coding your notes. Studies show that chewing gum, listening to classical music, or burning candles all have a positive impact on memory. Find what works for you.

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. Teaching the material requires a higher level of comprehension and an ability to highlight the most important facts.

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 make a conscious effort to avoid them.

7. Decide on order of importance.

Some things are more important than others. Decide on 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.

Bonus Tip:

Put your phone away! There is a strong correlation between cell phones and lower test scores. Splitting your attention between your material and your phone is going to lower your recollection and increase your study time.

How to create a successful outline

Few people know how to create a successful outline, and that amazes me.

The first step is to understand the material you’re reading. If you’re simply taking chunks of the chapter, you’re not going to get anywhere. There are two different outlines: research outlines and chapter outlines. I’ll cover both here.

Research outline

Every good research paper should start with a great outline. A great outline serves as the skeleton for your entire paper.

Once you’ve figured out your topic and the general direction of your paper, creating an outline is straightforward. You must thoroughly understand your thesis before completing the outline. If you’re confused or stuck on a thesis, don’t worry about it until the end. Start with the information.

Once you’ve gathered your research, you generally know the idea of what you want to talk about first. If you’re completely lost, choose the idea that would be a great opener – something that’s controversial, interesting or your audience would agree with. To choose what’s next in line, ask yourself, “After idea A, what is an easy transition?” If you’re going from dogs to VCRs, there’s probably not going to be an easy connection. Transitions between different sections can be made very simple if you choose topics that seem to flow well together. Also remember that nothing is set in stone. If later you realize you should have put topic B where topic F is, change it.

Because this article is so long, I’m going to cut it off here and allow you to view the rest of entry if you choose to do so. (more…)

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