Want to improve your ability to memorize? You can do it!
Believe it or not, you have a lot more control over the amount of information you can memorize and ultimately recall, regardless of how "smart" you consider yourself to be. Whether you are in the classroom or are doing virtual learning, if you are looking for studying tips to improve memorization, then you won't want to miss out on these seven methods to understand better, learn, and recall information.
1. Organize Your Space
A cluttered room can mean a cluttered mind when you are trying to memorize information. One of the best studying tips to improve memorization has nothing to do with the material, but everything to do with the space you are studying in.
Start by selecting an organized, quiet room in your house and set up your study space. Your study space should be comfortable enough for you to feel relaxed, but not too cozy that you might fall asleep.
The best way to organize your space is by setting up a desk that has everything you need in a nice, orderly fashion. By having an organized space to work in, your brain will feel clutter-free and ready to learn.
2. Start With the General Then Add in the Specifics
Whatever topic you are studying, it can be helpful to break down the information from smallest to biggest. Start by learning the general concept at hand—for example, the structure of a cell. Then, when you have the general information locked down, you can break it apart further and study the details. Take, for example, studying the structure of a cell. Start by learning the different parts of the cell, and once you feel grounded in the overall concept, you can dive into the specifics of what each part of the cell does.
3. Use Acronyms and Mnemonic Devices
If you are trying to remember a set of instructions, operations, or other concepts, using mnemonic devices like acronyms can be super helpful. An acronym is when you take the starting letter of a word or concept and then create a new word with all the terminology you need to remember. Mnemonic devices are great because you can encode information so that it is stored in your brain in a way that is easier to recall.
4. Use the Chaining Technique
The chaining technique can be a super-effective way to remember a string of information. This technique is best used when trying to remember tangible concepts or objects.
Let's say you are trying to remember a long list of grocery items. You would use the chaining technique by putting the items you need to remember in a story so that the items are connected to one another.
For example, it's easier to remember picking up onions, marinara sauce, tomatoes, and mushrooms by imagining a pizza that includes those items as toppings. The purpose of the chaining technique is to chain one item to another so that you make meaning out of it and not forget it. When memorizing certain concepts in academics, this technique can be super-helpful.
5. Change Up Where You Study
Changing up your study location can be a great way to promote memorization. One study even suggests that there is a higher retention of information if you study a concept in two different locations as opposed to studying the concept in just one location.
There are many reasons for this, but one popular theory is that when you switch up the study location, your brain is more alert and aware of the information you are taking in. Also, different locations can improve concept association which helps to promote memorization.
6. Use Flashcards Effectively
If you are just starting to memorize a new concept, then using flashcards can be a great way to retain information. Before you pull out your stack of fresh flashcards, it will do you good to understand how to use them properly. Here are two ways to effectively use flashcards for memorization.
At the start of learning a concept
You can use flashcards at the beginning of memorizing a concept, but it needs to be done intentionally. When learning a new concept, the act of writing down the concept on the front of a card and its definition or elaboration of it on the back of the card can be a great way to retain the information. When you write the information down, you are making meaning of it so that storage becomes highly likely. Using premade flashcards do not provide you with the same opportunity because you are not writing the material down yourself.
At the end of learning a concept
The flashcards you wrote at the start of learning a concept can be helpful at the end of memorization because you can now use them as a review tool. Using them as traditional flashcards can help you review the material in a quiz-like fashion. And because you wrote the flashcard, you will make more meaning out of the info when you review.
7. Teach the Information to Someone Else
Teaching material to someone else, even if you aren't confident in your knowledge of the material just yet, can be a great way to make better sense and ultimately memorize the information. If you don't have anyone to teach the information to, you can pretend to teach it to someone else by talking to yourself in the mirror.
Whenever you can make sense out of information, you will be one step closer to ingraining that information in your mind and then recalling it later. Understanding the concept is the best way to improve memorization, and these seven tips focus on that fact.
What are some other methods you use when trying to remember information? Let us know in the comments section below!