With finals just around the corner, students all over campus are studying endlessly for their tests. Or, they’re trying to think of how they can get out of studying and still come away with a passing grade.
Help has arrived for the weary student in the form of these eight memory improvement tips:
Pay attention and reduce interference: In order to remember something you have to pay close attention. Don’t sit next to someone who will talk during class and take your focus off of the instructor. When you study, don’t tell your friends where you are and don’t bring your cell phone because your study area needs to be a spot with minimal distractions.
Use rehearsal techniques: To successfully store memories in the section of your brain intended for long term memory you must relate the material to other previously stored information, this is called elaborative rehearsal. The more examples you have and the more elaborate those examples are, the easier it will be to store information in long term memory and to retrieve it later.
Match up the context and state: The context (setting, mood and atmosphere) and state (chemicals influencing you) are important in memory storage and retrieval. If at all possible, take tests in the room that you learned the material in or at least in a similar environment. Also, try to remain calm during tests so that your physiological state is the same as when you originally learned the information. If you generally drink a cup of coffee while studying or in class, then be sure to do the same before the test. If under the influence of caffeine while learning information, that information will be more easily retrieved under the same influence.
Organize your information: When memorizing information, chunk parts that go together into groups. That way, when trying to recall one part of the information, the rest of the group comes along with it.
Study the information in the middle: Information that is at the beginning or end of a sequence is more easily retrieved, so start in different places of the material when you study and pay attention to information in the middle.
Manage your time well: Study consistently throughout the quarter. The human brain does not remember information that was acquired when drowsy or learned all in a short period of time, so space study sessions throughout the week instead of cramming the night before.
Monitor as you read and delay your review: As you read through a chapter, stop periodically to ask yourself questions about what you just read. Also, don’t just review as you go through the material. Once you’ve gone through an entire section, go on to the next section but then come back to the previous section and ask questions again.
Use mnemonic devices: There are many different kinds of mnemonic devices and any of them can assist in memory retrieval. Mnemonic devices are aids that trick your brain into remembering things. Try associating sequences of information with letters of the alphabet or create acronyms in order to recall the beginning letters of words.