Every student would love to have a superpower – instantly memorize everything they read or see and later be able to easily find the needed memory slide in their brains. Wouldn’t this be just awesome? But since our brains are not computers, and sometimes it is really hard to remember some important fact, data, or formula (especially during an exam) – there is something you can do to boost your memory and improve the memorization process. Here are the top five best techniques every student should use.
The Memory Palace
You might be surprised but this technique is proven to be working for ages – it is actually around 2,500 years old! It has many names, for example, The Loci Method. But you have surely heard about it.
The Memory Palace Method was even mentioned in your favorite shows, like Sherlock Holmes. It is definitely a powerful tool if used correctly and states that:
- Imagine a place you know very well – to the point where you can close your eyes and see it vividly to a detail.
- Pick a memory that you want to put in your Memory Palace. Start with small things like easy formulas or dates.
- Assign a picked memory with an object in your Memory Palace.
- Visit your Memory Palace frequently, especially when you are new to this technique. Check if you can remember the object and the assigned memory.
- Put more memories in your Palace once you feel more or less free with this technique.
People who can easily use The Memory Palace Method, usually are able to operate complex concepts and memorize them without any difficulties. Your success with this method depends on the place you choose as your Palace. It needs to be a really familiar place and the one that you know well.
Chunking is a memory technique that involves grouping objects together to make them easier to recall. Despite the fact that some things we can memorize easily, like our phone number, remembering long lists or number progression can be much more difficult – for example, the Pi number.
Chunking is a great way to memorize things based on one or several common features. You can categorize objects, concepts, or elements into sectors—each sector should have no more than seven items to remember (the golden number). If you try to remember how many items exist in each category, chunking will make it much easier to remember.
This is how it looks: you can categorize writers by the first letter of their last names – Hemingway, Hawthorne, Heller, Harper, Harris, etc. Or you can chunk cities together that have five letters in their names – Miami, Omaha, Sitka, Tulsa, etc. This method will definitely help you to memorize lists or organize your memories into categories.
Metaphors and Connections
This can assist you in not only remembering but also comprehending things, particularly in math and science. A metaphor is a means of recognizing that something is related to something else. Consider Olivia, which is depicted as olive, and Dar Es Salaam as salami. Metaphors, particularly visual metaphors, can linger in your mind for years. They help to cement ideas in your mind by forming connections with pre-existing brain structures.
As children, we’ve all come across mnemonics. We were taught acronyms, music, and rhymes to retain and recall information, whether it was the sequence of the planets or the number of days in each month.
Memorable sentences made up of words that begin with the same letter as the items you’re attempting to remember are another common mnemonic. My very eager mother just served us nine pizzas – this is a great example of a mnemonic that really works. This might seem silly as mnemonics are commonly used throughout the preschool activity, but give this technique a chance and you will see how powerful it is.
While most mnemonics are difficult to recall at first, once you do, they will be stored in your mind for a long time.
Repetition (also known as rote learning) is a bit inconvenient, but spaced repetition is very effective!
Take notes on the items you want to remember the next time you’re listening to a lecture or watching an online class. Allow some time to pass after it to complete other activities before returning to your notes and rereading them. You’ll be much more likely to retain material if you repeat this schedule (study, work, break) and allow enough time for your brain to encode and store the information between study sessions.
Take your time and look through your notes every now and then. The more you understand the concept, the better the result is, so make sure you don’t just repeat but also comprehend information. You may both remember things better and apply them in other circumstances after you give a feeling of understanding and purpose to the things you’re trying to recall.