Memory

MEMORY RETENTION METHODS

Reading and retaining a lot of information can be hard. Additionally, not all study methods work for all people. It’s important to use a method that works best for you. However, to do that, you need to experiment first, and where do you start? Which is why we’ve put together a shortlist to help you find a study method to help increase your memory! Try a few of the tips below and let us know if one or a mixture worked for you!

1. Block All Distracting Apps

It’s easy to get side tracked, just one quick check to see what your friends are doing leads to a quick video or article, and before you know it you’re 20 cute kitten videos deep and you still don’t know what’s in your textbook.

You can either simply turn off your phone or, we recommend Focus45 (Google Play). This is an app designed to help you concentrate for 45 minute stretches at a time by denying you access to the distracting websites and social networks we’re all addicted to.

2. Plan Your Study Schedule

It’s important to be organised when you study. By simply planning how you want to approach the topics and chapters you need to memorise and blocking them off into manageable sections of up to 45 minutes with a 15 minute rest period between each.

By giving yourself enough time to cover a topic, you are forced to slow down and retain what you are reading. Don’t simply move on after you have completed a section with time to spare. Take this time to re-read and ensure you’re using your 45 minutes to really drill down into that portion of your text.

3. Make Doodles or Take Notes

Psychologists and Neuroscientists have for years said that using colour and doodling improves memory and focus.

By making bright annotations, highlights or doodles, our brains associate colour and shapes to topics that may otherwise be “boring” or feel like too much to take in. Try drawing out a paragraph of copy into a scene, or use different colours of highlighters for specific sets of information and see the difference.

4. Make Mind Maps & Flow Charts

 

Going back to the idea of putting bits of information into groups, mind maps are a great way of creating visual overviews of different topics and connecting them together. Mind Maps are a great way of simplifying the information you are reading and grouping it together in a way that makes sense to you by making connections between concepts or ideas.

5. Don't Listen to Distracting Music

Whether you’re into the latest radio hits or more obscure music, selecting the right brain-stimulating sounds is important when it comes to studying.

Music that makes you want to jump up and dance, head bang, or sing along to is a distraction and puts your brain into the wrong frame of mind. Music should be ambient, uplifting and toned down. Unfortunately, if it’s too loud, you’re not going to remember what you’re reading. Keep your playlist up to 45-50 minutes long per study session.

6. Take Breaks and Move Around

There are numerous studies and plenty of research which tells us that the ideal length of time to study is 45-52 minutes per session. The brain functions optimally during this period and starts to decrease in its capacity to absorb information thereafter.

It’s vital to take a break and allow yourself and your brain to rest for at least 15 minutes between sessions. This doesn’t mean hopping straight onto facebook or whatsapp, though.
Your brain needs to rest and not do anything overly demanding. Get up, stretch, walk around and get your blood flowing a little before diving straight back in.

7. Study a few days in advance

While some swear by it, cramming is never a good idea. The cramming study method is proven to commit information to short-term memory. This means that you’ll forget that you’ve studied after you’ve walked out of the test room. It also leaves you with little to no tangible understanding of the material you’ve passed and sets you up for a lifetime of poor habits when it comes to scheduling and task management. Nip this habit in the bud. Give yourself at least a 3 day break between study and the day of the test. This allows you to do a tertiary read through of the material as a refresher closer to the test, rather than blindly panicking on what to study or focus on. With these simple tricks, you’ll find your memory increase drastically. Give them a try!

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