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Memory Techniques to Help You Academically

It is a given fact that most individuals with good memory score considerably well against those who do not. However, the academics field is not the only field where good memory applies its benefits. Good memory can come in handy when you are already a professional to aid you in work, or it can help you recall the recipe for that dish you always wanted to try out, it can even be of use when you are shopping for groceries and are trying to remember the store that sells the cheapest apples.  

Now that you are aware of how great it is to have good memory (if you aren’t already aware), you may start to want to have better memory as well. the good news is that you can improve your memory, plus you only need yourself and a little bit of effort to accomplish. So put your wallet back in your pocket because we are not going to be spending cash on some shady “memory improving” tablet.

How memory works

Before we proceed to the bread and butter of the article, we first need to discuss how memory works. A fundamental understanding of the process involved with memory can make or break the degree of effectiveness of the memory techniques to be taught later on. And don’t worry, we’ll leave the really complicated parts out and try to explain it in a manner most of us are familiar with: computers.  

• Encoding

The memory process of the brain is similar to that of the computer in a way where the steps necessary to store and locate information are almost similar. The first portion of the process is the encoding portion where you are receiving information from the outside world.

Think of yourself as like a keyboard or microphone, you are what receives the information from the outside world and is the one responsible for sending it into the storage device. Simple enough right?

• Storage

Next up is the storage portion. Just like a computer’s hard drive, you also have your very own personal storage device where you will store information: your brain. Storage is the process where the information you receive from the outside world, be it through audio, images, or words, travels towards the brain for safekeeping.

The brain creates a nerve pathway using the vast amount of neurons present in the brain to store that piece of information somewhere. And just like how a computer’s RAM temporarily stores information you have input recently in your computer so that is will be easier to access later on, your brain also does the same thing. The fresh information you received is stored in the brain’s short-term memory sector to be accessed easily later on when you want to retrieve that formation.

• Recalling

The final part of the process is known as recalling, where you now want to recall the information you received and stored so that you can use it. This is made possible because the nerve pathways your brain created when storing that information can be revisited. And once you revisit that certain nerve pathway, you will be able to retrieve the information you stored in your brain.

However, you will be able to recall not only the information you stored in your brain, but also information from your other senses during that time as well. For instance, you may have heard a song while listening to your friend share his knowledge about rocket science. In this situation, you can use the song as a marker to help you retrieve the information you stored about rocket science better.

What are memory techniques and how can they help?

Now that we know how memory works, and how we can utilize its own function to our advantage, it is now time to discuss memory techniques.

Memory techniques are a collection of methods used to help you retrieve the information you stored faster. Most of these techniques utilize the brain’s ability to incorporate other elements into the information you stored, while others take advantage of certain methods to turn a short term memory into a long term one.

Common memory techniques you can use:

There are a variety of different memory techniques out there and you can find any variation that may suit you preference. However, we have listed a few of the most common memory techniques to help make you better at the memory game.

1. Memory palace

One of perhaps the most famous memory techniques out there is the memory palace. It is so famous in fact that even known famous intellectuals are portrayed as using this technique. A technique which utilizes the brain’s innate ability to remember places it is familiar with very effectively.

You incorporate the little details of your “palace” to help you retrieve information faster and more concisely. You can also have multiple memory palaces at the same time to store even more information, given that you are familiar with the technique and know a lot of potential palaces.

This technique is too broad and has a lot of variations. In fact, it is too long it could make you lose interest in the other techniques in this list. So, if you have extra time, you can always learn more about the memory palace and how to do it here.

2. Mnemonic techniques

Mnemonic techniques are also another famous memory technique which has a lot of variations as well. However, they are considerably simpler than the memory palace and are even sometimes taught in schools.  Think of those nursery rhymes you sang when you were a child or the ABC song, these are all mnemonic techniques used to help you memorize the alphabet or remember certain stories better.

• Acronyms mnemonic

The first variation of mnemonic techniques is known as acronym mnemonic. Just as the name suggests, this mnemonic technique uses acronyms to help you remember information better. This mnemonic technique is rather useful when you want to remember numerous words easily while having to memorize the least amount of characters to make room for other pieces of information.

An example of this technique is the R.I.C.E. acronym for when you are applying first aid to someone. This stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

• Music mnemonic

The music mnemonic, as the name suggests, is a mnemonic technique variant which utilizes songs to help you remember information better. Your brain has a natural affinity for rhythm and is far more interested in songs than bland words with no life. Music mnemonics takes advantage of this and helps you remember information better by remembering it in a song-like pattern.

An example of this technique is the ABC song taught to young children to help them remember the alphabet better. There are also other songs available such as the really informative muscle song by a YouTube channel called asapSCIENCE. Or you could also create your own music mnemonic about any topic by adding rhythm to the words you are trying to memorize.

• Rhyming mnemonic

The last variation of the mnemonic technique we will discuss is the rhyming mnemonic. And yes, these names tell you the gimmick right away. Rhyming mnemonics are mnemonic techniques which use rhymes instead of song to help you remember information faster. This is a great option for when you have no confidence in your singing voice but still want to be able to remember things better.

Nursery rhymes are a prime example of this mnemonic technique which is often used to help children build their memory. You can always create your own rhyming technique to help you remember any topic you are having trouble remembering.

3. Spaced repetition

The next technique in the list is not so much as a technique but more of a schedule. However, it is still rather effective and is not as complicated as other memory techniques in this list. Spaced repetition refers to the interval in which you review information you want to store in you long term memory. This is very effective for those individuals who like to start reviewing a few days before an exam.

You can set a schedule for reviewing information the day after you have learned it, then move your next review session about the topic two days after the last time you reviewed, and then review that topic 4 days after the previous review session.

This works because you are essentially strengthening the neuron pathways that were created when you first stored the information. This is technique is sort of like strength training but instead of muscles, you are making your brain stronger.

4. Imagery

The next technique in the list is not so much as a technique but more of a schedule. However, it is still rather effective and is not as complicated as other memory techniques in this list. Spaced repetition refers to the interval in which you review information you want to store in you long term memory. This is very effective for those individuals who like to start reviewing a few days before an exam.

You can set a schedule for reviewing information the day after you have learned it, then move your next review session about the topic two days after the last time you reviewed, and then review that topic 4 days after the previous review session.

This works because you are essentially strengthening the neuron pathways that were created when you first stored the information. This is technique is sort of like strength training but instead of muscles, you are making your brain stronger.

Conclusion

Memory techniques come in a wide variety of forms, and can help you improve certain parts of your memory. However, no matter how good your memory is, if there is no information to be stored, all your efforts will be for naught.

And if you want to be able to learn more, then why not consider hiring a tutor? And we have just the right place for you. FamilyTutor is Singapore’s leading home tuition agency with thousands of highly skilled and capable tutors. With a vast list of subjects to choose from and coverage for all grade levels starting from pre-school up to university, we are sure to be able to fill you with the necessary information you need.

Carelle

Carelle

Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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