The ability to remember a vast amount of data and information is vital to students and can truly be the difference between passing and failing a subject. So it’s no wonder that there is so much focus on maximizing our memory ability!
But how does our memory actually work? How come we can remember some information without any effort at all (often useless information like the names and theme songs of the cartoons we watched when we were children) yet often we when really want to remember certain things for tests or assignments we draw a blank?
The truth is, our memory works in precisely the manner that it is supposed to work. The real issue is that we have very little understanding (or no understanding at all) of the way it operates and how we can manipulate it to our advantage.
The approach that most students take to memorization (re-reading information or repeating information many times over) is not consistent with the way that the mind creates memory recall. Nonetheless, we just keep on using this technique desperately hoping that something will stick! Unfortunately, while you may retain some small amounts of data this way, it’s a really silly approach when you understand how your memory really works.
The smart approach to memory recall is to first take the time to learn how your memory works and then manipulate your memory (in a good way!) in order to recall exactly what you need to remember for that next test or exam.
There are many ways to increase the power of your memory recall. This article looks at just one – the “All about me” technique. The rule of this technique is that when you make something about you, the ability to remember the information is drastically increased.
When it comes to memory, your brain always wants to know “How does this relate to me?” or put even more simply “Why should I even bother storing this as a memory?”
The fact is, if something seems important to you personally, you will be more likely to remember it – and you’ll also remember it more vividly and in far greater detail.
Don’t believe me? Think about it. What things do you remember? Those things that have some direct impact on your life (like what time you need to meet your friends at the movies this weekend) or those things that have zero impact on your life (like your mom’s favorite ice cream flavor?) You remember those things, people, places, prices, products and details of anything that is going to impact your life in some way.
I’m not suggesting this happens because you want it to happen. It’s just a natural part of being human – it’s on autopilot. When something is significant to you, the memory of it sticks. But it’s not enough to understand this rule. You also need to apply it to your studies don’t you? So let’s see how this can help you improve your recall.
In economics you learn about trends. Trends impact purchase power of individuals. Purchase power impacts your ability to go and that new pair of shoes you really want. So, does it make it easier to understand economic trends when you understand how it impacts you?
What about learning about different cultures, beliefs and customs than yours? If you were to think about your own culture, beliefs and customs then you can easily compare the two to each other. Now, if you compare them to yourself you will remember them wont you?
If you are trying to remember names and dates just focus on how do these names and dates relate to you. Ask yourself, “Do I know anyone by those or similar names? Do I like the name for some reason or do I think it’s a weird name? Why is that? Did the people or dates that I have to remember ever impact my life in any way? Did anything happen on those dates that relates to me personally?”
The point is, take what you need to learn and make it about you. Most people enjoy being self-centered anyway so just extend on your natural inclination! The more you make it all about you and relate it back to yourself the more easily you will build memory traces and improve your memory recall. Give it a try, it really works. Good luck.
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