How to memorize information
In some courses you will have to absorb a large amount of information. In order to select from the different memory techniques, it is essential that you fully recognize your abilities and know which senses you mainly use to communicate (auditory, visual, kinesthetic).
There are several techniques that facilitate memorization. Before you employ them, it's important to simplify the learning content as much as possible by determining the key concepts and summarizing all the information. Whether in the form of text summaries, abbreviations, or diagrams, your notes need to be revised to remove as much redundant information as possible and retain only the most critical ones. You can find tips on how to do this in the chapter on summaries.
Once your course material is prepared to be memorized, the following techniques can help you do this:
Tools for memorization
The card system (flashcards) can help you remember information by linking an idea/name/topic to the content in question.
How to do this:
- on the front: write a question / name / topic (attention: only one idea per card).
- on the back: write the answer, the info you need to remember, as a text or drawing.
- try to deduce the back side by seeing only the front side.
- repeat this exercise several times, also practice in reverse order of the cards.
Advantages: fast, efficient and also available as a digital version (Quizlet)
- The red thread is another technique that can help you memorize classroom material. It's about finding the common thread for example by asking yourself: what connects the topics with each other? If you can see this connection and understand the structure between the topics, it will be easier for you to remember the content of the course since it will make logical sense.
Advantages: overview, creation of connections
- The mental palace
Numerous neuroscientific studies show that this technique is extremely effective when it comes to memorizing easily. It consists in superimposing the elements you want to remember, as if you were building a palace, brick by brick.
How to proceed:
- Choose a topic that you know by heart, e.g. a daily journey, a familiar place or an object that you use regularly. It is important that the topic you choose is already well known and memorized.
- Then break down the topic (object/distance/place) into bullet points. For example, for the path: first my front door, the exit of the building, a street corner, the subway entrance, etc. Note that the number of key points must match the number of pieces of information you want to remember.
- Then, place salient images associated with each of these key points. These mental images - associated with the points to be remembered - should be original, funny, shocking, etc., so that they will be easily remembered.
- Then try to walk the path in your mind again, visualizing the images you have placed.
Advantages: structured, long term memory, no hardware required
- Whichever technique you choose, it is important to repeat it several times and at intervals so that the information becomes anchored in the brain.
- Alternating learning material enhances your motivation.
- Testing these techniques in a group helps to build a shared memory.
- Scheduling regular, active, and relaxed breaks (about 5-10 minutes/hour) helps to restore concentration, memory, and motivation.
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