Memory Improvement Techniques To Conquer Exams
There are several different types of memory-enhancing techniques. Try these suggestions the next time you need to remember something:
The most powerful mnemonic device is the concept of memory palaces. This technique works by associating bits of information to spots in your home or other familiar places. The process involves visualizing yourself walking through your home, mindfully recalling every possible detail. It works just as well when you physically walk through your home, mindfully taking in each detail through each of your senses.
When you associate a piece of information you want to remember to a specific object in your home, your brain complies and files the information accordingly, ready to be pulled out again when you need it.
2. Spaced repetition
The spaced repetition method involves reinforcing information in your mind just as it begins to fade to freshen it in your mind. By reinforcing information at regular intervals, it is much more likely to be readily accessible when you need to remember it.
Some people practice this method using flashcards, working through them at certain intervals and separating them into piles based upon the difficulty you have remembering them and practicing those more often.
3. Chunking (memory tree method)
Chunking is the process of classifying, or branching, things into groups. For example, if you want to remember a set of facts, relate them in your mind using a memory tree. Begin with the main branches first, then add leaves. Each branch and leaf should be labeled in ways that are somehow meaningful to you and the facts (“leaves”) should be organized logically.
For example, it’s easier to remember 846384 as “846” and “384” than as individual digits or a long string of digits. This method works because our brain instinctively seeks patterns in information. Storing data in chunks gives the brain a logical filing system that makes it easier to retrieve the information.
Acronyms are very common in creating tools to enhance your memory. For example, the NAME acronym is commonly used to remember names (but it can help you remember other information as well). It works like this:
- Notice: Consciously and deliberately noticing things about a person, such as the color of their eyes or hair color and attaching the sound of their name is the first part of learning how to remember.
- Ask: When you engage yourself in a conversation by asking questions, it can become easier to remember the details.
- Mention: A simple tip for remembering names or other factoids is to say them out loud repeatedly. This enlists our other senses to reinforce the memory.
- Envision: Envisioning is part of the mnemonic process that involves associating the visual characteristics of a face to the person’s name.
You can make your own meaningful acronyms if that will assist in the recollection of your memories.
Sleep deprivation negatively affects a variety of cognitive abilities, including memory. Lack of sleep has been proven to contribute to remembering things incorrectly or not at all. Getting the recommended amount of quality sleep aids in procedural memory formation (learning new skills) and helps with recalling stored information. Your brain reorganizes memories, forming stronger connections between them as you sleep, and this is when your brain links new information to existing data, encouraging creativity.
Foods that are said to enhance and maintain memory function include walnuts, green tea, blueberries, pumpkin seeds, fish, oysters, whole grains and olive oil. These foods contribute to enhanced prefrontal activity, leading to better memory and cognition, and lower the risk of dementia by nearly half, while foods that are high in cholesterol not only can lead to stroke or heart attack but also are said to influence memory loss.
Increased blood flow to the brain, which has several cognitive benefits, such as alertness, better concentration and a more positive mood, is the main benefit of regular exercise. It doesn’t have to be vigorous exercise — a cumulative three hours a week of walking is enough to reap the benefits.
Studies have suggested that maintaining close relationships helps to improve memory as well as prevent memory loss through dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Like physical exercise, engaging your brain in challenging activities serves to stimulate the brain, preventing the formation of the protein that is said to cause Alzheimer’s. Try challenging your mind with a new hobby, such as learning a new language, studying a new subject, learning to play a musical instrument or playing thought-provoking games like chess.
Studies show that meditating improves the brain’s ability to focus on finer details. If you have problems sitting still for more than a couple of minutes, take a meditative walk.
Studies suggest that the afternoon is the best time to study, even if you’re not necessarily feeling the most alert, to enhance learning and memorization.
12. Mindfully writing it down
It’s commonly known that writing things down helps you remember them. However, if you’re not writing it down mindfully, your brain won’t even process it. Instead, actively focus on the thing you want to remember, then write it down. This will solidify the information in your mind. Doing it repeatedly works even better, as it supports long-term memory retention.
13. Summon your interest
It’s much easier to remember something when we’re truly interested in the topic. Some people find it helpful to actively search for a reason to be interested, such as envisioning how they’ll use the information in their job. The mindfulness required to do this will signal your brain to send more resources to the neurons, strengthening them to reinforce the memory.
14. Pay attention
Research has identified this technique as the most effective. The effectiveness of paying attention lies in the neural circuit that helps your brain form long-term memories. Higher levels of concentration allow your brain to absorb the information and convert short-term memories into long-term memories.
As we’re constantly bombarded with information and distractions from multiple simultaneous sources, and multitasking is expected of us, it’s more and more difficult to block out distractions and concentrate on one thing. It can prove helpful to reduce your screen time, allowing you to repair your attention span, and make an effort to work on one thing at a time, moving onto the next only when you’ve finished the first.
Picture yourself doing the action you want to remember to do. You can use this method to at least partially replace the distraction of taking out your phone in the middle of a conversation to note something. If you want to remember where you left something, picture it in your mind to help remind you where it is.
Tips for memorizing facts
Use these tips in conjunction with the methods above to improve your memory:
Cater to your learning style
Identify which types and categories of information best hold your attention, then create your learning and memorization strategy around those things. For example, an auditory learner will tend to best retain information when they hear it, while a visual learner is more apt to remember what they see, and tactile learners understand best what they can physically interact with.
Write an important word or term on one side of the flashcard and the definition on the other side. For example, if you are studying a new language, link the word to its definition or function. Test yourself by reading the keyword and recalling the information written on the other side of the card. Repeating this exercise will form the memorization needed for you to have successfully learned the information.
To memorize a large quantity of information, you’ll likely need to practice until it’s become easy to recall. As mentioned above, repetition creates lasting memories.
Set reminders on your phone
Anything that you’re likely to forget, such as a recent change in your routine, can be programmed into your phone’s alarm so that it goes off when you need to do the thing. Repeating this new routine soon will become second nature.
Memory Improvement Is Extremely Essential
Summary There are several different types of memory-enhancing techniques. Try these suggestions the next time you need to remember something.
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