By Allie Cooper
Having a good memory relies mainly on the health and vitality of your brain. But, while the old adage suggests that old dogs aren’t capable of learning new tricks, it doesn’t apply when it comes to improving your memory skills. The human brain has the ability to adapt to changes, which medical professionals refer to as neuroplasticity. Psychologist Kendra Cherry said it is the ability of the brain to restructure based on your experiences.
As a student, you’re still under the process of neuroplasticity as you gain new knowledge and experiences. If you’re studying for a final exam, here are some techniques to enhance your memory:
With the Chunking Technique, a cognitive compression mechanism, you’re able to expand your memory, dividing larger information into tidbits that are easier to digest.
Chunking is best done through the acronyms. If you’re reviewing for a biology exam, you may create a word from the initials of the list of topics you need to review. For instance, you can use the acronym “LIME” to stand for Lymphatic System, Immunology, Muscular System and Endocrine System.
Mobile Apps to the Rescue
In a blog post, Verizon recommended that it’s best to reinforce your healthy lifestyle with brain exercise apps. The article outlined five of the most highly-effective apps, helping you in terms of concentration, spatial memory, and attention.
Memory Trainer – Developed by Urbian, Memory Trainer helps you hone your concentration by offering sessions on visual thinking, abstract thinking, and quick reasoning. It tracks and documents your progress through comprehensive graphs.
Brain Trainer Special – Brain Trainer Special employs the gamification approach. Aside from memory, the puzzle games are tailored to develop analytics and observation skills. The time and scores are well-documented to track progress.
Memory Palace Technique
With the absence of technology, the ancient Greek scholars resorted to the old fashioned way – mentally. This practice was later called the Memory Palace Technique, wherein they would use their creativity and imagination to remember items better. Here are the steps:
- Choose your palace by visualizing a familiar place.
- Locate five vacant rooms in your chosen place.
- For memorizing purposes, choose one item from each room.
- In ascending order, assign a number to each of these items. Remember that you can add more rooms and items as you wish.
- From your palace, figure out which one you want to remember, and associate this with one item in the room.
In using the Memory Palace Technique, remember that the key here is visualization. The clearer the visuals appear in your imagination, the more likely that you would recall them.
Before you go to sleep, you can use the Bedtime Recital technique to assimilate songs for the text and scripts that you need to memorize. The process calls for reading your material out loud. When you fall into a deep slumber, your brain arranges all the information you’ve read in a systematic manner. Here are some tips for the technique:
- Ensure that your bedroom is free from outside noise.
- On a sheet of paper, jot down all the information that you need to remember.
- Read the list aloud twice.
- Recite it 2-3 times.
- Go to sleep.
In the morning, you’ll be surprised that you’re able to retain and recall all the items you listed.
The Mediation Technique comes in handy when reviewing for Geography. In this practice, you need to build a bridge to link you to the items you need to memorize. Word pairing is the key of this technique. For instance, when your teacher asked you the capital of Poland, “Warsaw” will automatically pop on your mind.
Take note of the following ideas:
- The World War II started when Germany attacked Poland.
- Poland SAW WAR first.
The additional information about the World War II was used as the mediator to bring Warsaw and Poland together.
These strategies have already been backed by cognitive psychology to prove their credence. Using one of two of these guarantees the high remarks you will get on your next exam.
[Image courtesy of: Susan Fitzell Flickr CC]
About the Author:
As a blogger, Allie Cooper is very attentive to details. Before conducting interviews for information gathering, she has a habit of using the Bedtime Recital technique to familiarize herself with the questions, especially on phrasing them properly. You can tweet her at @AllieCooper_18 or hangout with her on Google+ for more of these cognitive techniques.