5 Ways On How To Improve Your Memory For Studying
Exams play a major important role in determining your success as a student and career. Let’s face it, all students dread sitting during final exams, class tests and exit exams. More often than not, you will find yourself overwhelmed by a large amount of information you are required to learn in a limited period. You may try to cram as much information as possible into your memory, write study notes to read over and over again to try and force yourself to remember the words. But there is a limit to how effective these techniques can be.
Fortunately, our memory is not static, motionless, nor unchanging as most people deem. You can improve it just as you improve your foreign language and math skills simply by trying a few memory building exercises.
About the memory
Basically, there are two kinds of memory – long term and short term memory. The short term memory is then used by the brain to store small pieces of information that are needed right away such as the name of a person when you meet. This memory has a limited capacity of about seven pieces of information after which something is expelled. Long-term memory, on the other hand, is for storing information that does not have to be remembered instantly.
When studying, it is the long term memory at work. Events with family and friends, a memorable moment in your life among other similar situations are also stored in the long term memory.
Ways to improve your memory for studying
Study material may seem like too much to retain but with a few trick, your study sessions can be more fruitful and result to better memory retention when the time comes to ace your exams.
Since the memory is formed within the brain, then anything that improves the health of the brain will also have a positive impact on the memory. Here are 5 ways ton how you can improve your memory for studying
- Focus on it
So many students are caught up in multi-tasking hence failing to do one of the things that will help improve their memory, paying attention to a task. This is important because the brain takes about 10 seconds to encode information properly and if the information you are reading does not get to the memory, then you will never recall it. Therefore, if you are trying to memorize something and talking to a friend on phone, you are unlikely to remember what you read.
When studying, look for an area with minimal to no distractions and avoid multitasking. It will not only slow you down but also make you prone to errors and even make you forgetful.
- Repeat it
Repetition is unarguably the key to memory. You have got to recall the same information from the memory at least 30 times for you to remember it easily. Therefore, once you read something, write it down, set it aside and come back to it an hour or even a day later to learn it again. As you learn it, it deepens in the memory and you will remember it for a longer time than if you had read it only ones.
- Reduce stress
This is a hard thing to do as a student considering the countless things that you are required to balance while in college. But according to research, stress significantly affects your ability to concentrate as well as retrieve information. Add stress to trauma and disease and the brain may just shut down.
The heart rate breathing is very important. This is because the heart communicates directly to the brain, so when you control your breathing, you will have also better control of your brain and more brain centers will be allocated for storage and retrieval of information.
Learn to be relaxed when studying so as to be able to concentrate, store and retrieve information more effectively. You can meditate just before you begin your studies. Not only will it help you reduce pre exam stress but will also increase your concentration when studying.
- Organize it.
Disorganization is a major big enemy to a good memory. Unfilled notes, a cluttered working space with numerous subjects in no particular order significantly affects your ability to recall facts in the exam room.
Before you even organize your notes, tidy up the study room or whichever room you are using to study then organize your notes neatly into different subjects. Bringing your environment in order has the effect of doing the same to the mind which will, in turn, enable you to better cope with memorizing and recalling facts and figures.
- Try mnemonic devices
This involves translating the information you are studying into a different form that you can remember easily. An easy way of doing this is taking the first letters of several points that you want to remember and creating a memorable phrase that you can easily recall that the original information. For example, to remember the colors of the rainbow, you can use a mnemonic by the name Roy G. Biv which represents Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet.
Besides using mnemonics, you can try chunking. This is the breaking down of large amounts of information into smaller chunks. Instead of having to memorize a large amount of information, memorize the chinks as individual pieces.
Other ways to improve your memory include engaging in brain-stimulating activities and exercising. Keep in mind that a healthy body is equal to a healthy brain. Therefore, eating right and being relaxed will not only be good to your body but will also help your mind to focus on new information. Also, getting a good night sleep will help improve your memory.
Remember that there is no one size fits all method of improving the memory. For example, some students may prefer writing down the important points when studying in order to remember while others may be more comfortable recording what they hear then going back to the detailed notes later. Therefore, figure out what style works best for you even though it is different from what other students use and apply it.