Have you ever been in class and your professor will tell you an assignment and ten minutes later you try to recall it, but you just can’t? Well you’re not alone. There are many ways to help your memory when it comes to studying so you can get good grades and have time to hang out with friends.
Focus Your Attention
Paying attention is a major part of having a good memory. Try to study without the distraction of friends, TV, music, and internet. If you like listening to music, listen to something without lyrics because studies have shown that music without lyrics can help improve your memory. If you are reading from a textbook it can get pretty boring. Have you ever finished reading a page and thought “What did I just read?” Next time, try taking notes or drawing charts in the margins to help you retain the information.
Everyone knows the person who can study for a few hours the night before an exam who does impossibly well. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t that person. The only way to really retain information is to repeatedly study it. Research has shown that students who study a little at a time do better than students who study everything at one time. You need to give your brain a break and not overwhelm yourself with so much new information at one time.
Vary Your Study Routine
Another great way to increase your memory is to change up where you study. If you usually only study in one location, move to another area or room. If you usually study in the morning, review some of the information before you go to sleep. You can improve your memory by just changing things up so you get yourself used to recalling the information at different times and places since your exam will most likely not be where you usually study.
Structure Your Information
Exams can cover a lot of information and it is hard for your memory if the information is jumbled all over the place. Research has shown that your brain remembers information easier in groups, so you will have a likelier chance of remembering information if you do that. Go through your notes and group similar concepts and terms together or outline your notes with like-terms together.
Mnemonic devices are ways for students to easier recall information. For example, you may recall learning the order of operations by remembering “Please Excise My Dear Aunt Sally.” The best mnemonics are those that are funny and stick in your mind. Try something that rhymes or is a joke and it will have a better chance of staying in your memory.
Relate New Information
It is hard to learn new information, especially when you have completely different classes. When you study new information take some time and think about how this connects to your other classes or previously learned information. You will be much more likely to recall the information if you link what you are learning to facts and information already in your memory.
Teach Unfamiliar Concepts to a Friend
Some research has shown that reading the information out loud and teaching it to someone can greatly improve your memory of the topic. Try this out by reading and explaining the information to a friend or study partner. If you don’t know where to start just read the key terms in the chapter and go from there.
Pay More Attention to Difficult Concepts
I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I read a chapter I will remember the beginning and the end, while everything in the middle just slips my mind. The role of the order of information plays an important role in remembering it so just spend longer on those concepts. Take more notes or just read it a few times so that you can commit it to memory. These harder concepts are also ones that are good to teach to your friend so you will be less likely to forget.
Make Time For Fun
When you think of leisure activities that will help you improve your memory, you will most likely think of crossword puzzles or reading, but there are other ways to have fun and improve your memory. Many studies show that hanging out with friends can help your brain retain information easier. Laughter also helps stimulate your brain, so just let loose and have some fun.
Take Care of Yourself
It seems that no matter what it is, taking care of yourself is always a crucial factor. Exercising increases oxygen flow to the brain and reduces the chance of getting diseases that can cause memory loss, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Eating healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains provide many health benefits, but a good diet can also improve memory. Lack of sleep is never a good thing, if you can’t get a good night’s sleep at least try to take a power nap or a break. Sleep is a critical factor in learning and it will help you improve your memory.