We have so many things to remember nowadays, a lot more than our grandparents did; it’s a scientific fact. And if you’re in school, learning to memorize things effectively and accurately is very important. Some people have a talent for remembering facts, numbers, equations, formulas, dates and small details, but for others, it doesn’t come as easy.
We have rounded up some time-tested and easy memorization techniques that might come in handy for college students that need to improve the way they recall important information.
Let’s say you have to memorize a group of words (a list of symptoms of a disease or the order of rulers in an ancient civilization); a good way to memorize them is by taking the first letter of each word and then create a new one. It doesn’t even have to be a real word, just something that can be easily remembered.
It’s similar to an acronym, but the difference is that instead of a word, you take each letter and turn it into a sentence with new words, they might not even be remotely related to the topic at hand, but it will give you first letter of the words you need.
When using this technique you have a numbered list, so you associate a word with a number and a word that rhymes with that number so then this pairing stays with you for whenever this word comes up on any other occasion.
This method works best when you need to remember names. You focus on a particular feature of a person, it may be physical, or their job, or their nationality or basically anything that sets them apart, and associate it with their name. It may take some practice, but it can be very effective.
Sleep on it
Many studies have shown that if we sleep for about 15 minutes after learning something new and complex, our brains review the information and relearn the topic while we sleep. Plus, it establishes neural connections that set 50% quicker than when you stay awake, so the information is consolidated faster and more effectively.
For those that have a knack for remembering details, this method can work wonders. You associate a particular detail with the bigger picture, thus triggering the rest of the information.
It can be done either by doing, listening or reading, for some people repeating what needs to be memorized is the best way for the information to stay in your brain. Depending on what kind of learning suits you best for a certain topic, you can try this approach.
Creating a story from the things you have to remember is a good way to memorize more complex topics. You can group the items into smaller pieces and string them together through a story, you are then able to move along that story to find the information you need.
Myths and legends are usually made like this. You find pieces of information repeated and the stories happen in a predictable order. This was to ensure that the stories went unchanged through the generations.
Studies have shown that walking can increase the amount of information memorized by up to 25%. This happens because moving your entire body makes the idle parts of our brain to be activated. For those that have trouble staying put, this is a great way to put those impulses to good use.
Handwriting notes is a very effective way to remember things; those that hand-write their notes report recalling almost 80% more of what they wrote than those that use electronic devices. The reason is that hand-writing stimulates a part of the brain that blends physical, auditory and intelligible parts of our learning, so this combination gives more memory enhancements than other techniques.