That big exam is just days away and the closer it gets the less you seem to remember. But you still have some time and with a few techniques to improve memory, you can sharpen your memory skills and pull off a great grade.
How Memory Works
Memory is like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets. But success in improving memory also comes from knowing how to use your memory. John Manktelow explained how a method called the mnemonic device can help improve memory skills in his article for Academictips.org titled, “Introduction to Memory Techniques.”
Manktelow explained, “Mnemonics are methods for remembering information that is otherwise quite difficult to recall. A very simple example of a mnemonic is the ’30 days hath September’ rhyme. The basic principle of mnemonics, is to use as many of the best functions of the human brain as possible to code information.”
The key to choosing the best mnemonic device is in knowing your learning style. We all learn in different ways but each of us is stronger in a particular area. You can go to EducationPlanner.org take a learning styles test and get study based on your learning style
Learning styles tend to fall into three categories:
- Visual: About 65 percent of us relate to information that is written or in picture form.
- Auditory: About 30 percent of people prefer to listen to information and then take notes.
- Kinesthetic: About 5 percent of the population learn by touching and movement and may prefer to imitate others in order to learn.
Memorization Tips for Your Learning Style
Ok, now you have a better idea of your learning style, how does that help you with memorization? Here are a few tips for study habits based on your learning style.
- Visual: Use a highlighter when reading material and write down answers to review questions, draw pictures and symbols to help illustrate concepts.
- Auditory: Have a friend help you review by asking you questions. Record and play back your answers and explanations of the material.
- Kinesthetic: Find ways to work with the material where you can move your body and touch what is being learned. Take notes and draw pictures to keep your hands in motion.
Flashcards For Every Learning Style
Every learning style can benefit from the use of flash cards. You can find flashcards on different subjects or create your own at StudyStack.com.
- Visual: Write new words and concepts on the cards then read them regularly.
- Auditory: Read flashcards out loud.
- Kinesthetic: Spread out the flash cards and arrange them into groups to show relationships between ideas.
More Memorization Tips
Louise Lee gathered suggestions for music students in her article, “3 Steps to Help You Improve Your Memorization Skills.” Though aimed at students who are preparing for recitals, Lee’s suggestions can be of help to anyone. Her three steps to success include:
- Mental signposts: Be visual, create mental pictures, name the things that you want to remember or assign them different colors.
- Play mind games: Treat the piece like a jigsaw puzzle and choose sections at random to test your memorization.
- Be consistent: Work on your memorization every day.
Can you improve your memory by changing your diet? There is evidence that certain foods boost brain power. ImproveMemory.org has several suggestions on diet strategies to improve memory including blueberries. Apparently blueberries are a great source of antioxidants. A study with volunteers over age 70 had one group drink two to three cups of blueberry juice each day while the control group drank a placebo.
According to ImproveMemory.org, “The results were astounding—the group that consumed the blueberry beverage showed huge strides in their learning and memory tests from when they were first taken before the study was conducted. This is an encouraging study for those looking to preserve their memory through their senior years.”
Other “brain boosting” foods include:
- Fruits including dry fruits
- Leafy greens
There you have it. Add a few tasty “brain” foods to your diet, tailor your study techniques to your learning style and be consistent in your efforts. You’ll pass your exam with flying colors.