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