Test Quest Logo

Western Reserve Public Media

Test Quest
Improving Your Memory

Meet The Questers
Learning Styles
Study Habits / Time Management
Test Taking Skills
Taking Notes
Active Listening
Improving Your Memory
Test Quest Teacher Guide & Handouts
Watch Online
Western Reserve Public Media

There are two types of memory: short-term and long-term. You use short-term when you remember something for a few seconds, like a telephone number. Your memory keeps it only long enough for you to use it. Long-term memory stores information for days, weeks or even years. When you are trying to learn information, you need to organize it, store it and (here's where your memory comes in!) retrieve it. You have to decide what information is important and then connect it to what you already know.

Can we improve our memory? Sure! There are memory techniques you can use.

  • Try to create a pattern with the information you are learning.

  • Use all of your senses. The information is then stored in different parts of your brain and you have more chances of remembering it. Say things out loud.

  • Use locations to help you remember. (This is often called "loci.") Try this exercise: "Select any location that you have spent a lot of time in and have easily memorized. Imagine yourself walking through the location, selecting clearly defined places the door, sofa, refrigerator, shelf, etc. Imagine yourself putting objects that you need to remember into each of these places by walking through this location in a direct path. Again, you need a standard direct path and clearly defined locations for objects to facilitate the retrieval of these objects. For example if you had to remember George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Richard Nixon, you could imagine walking up to the door of your location and seeing a dollar bill stuck in the door; when you open the door Jefferson is reclining on the sofa and Nixon is eating out of the refrigerator." (from http://www.studygs.net/memory.htm)

  • Give yourself enough time to process the information.

  • Repeat, repeat, repeat! Repeating often enough allows a great number of connections to be forged in the brain and retrieval becomes easy and instantaneous.

  • Break material into manageable pieces. Memorize a piece at a time and then put the pieces together.

  • Several short sessions are more productive than one long session. You tend to remember the things that you learn at the beginning and end of sessions, so the more beginnings and ends you have, the more you'll remember.

  • Use acronyms and acrostics. Acronyms are words made from the first letters of other words. For examples, to remember the colors of the spectrum in order, think ROY G BIV which stands for Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet; or the police SWAT team stands for Strategic Weapons And Tactics. Acrostics (also known as memory triggers) are invented sentences; for example, Every Good Boy Does Fine stands for EGBDF, the order of notes on sheet music.



Copyright©2001-2005, Northeastern Educational Television of Ohio, Inc.
All rights reserved.