Friday, March 8, 2013

Improving your Memory

Hi again!

Tying this one with my previous post, having a good memory is definitely a great tool for academic success in university. Acing your midterms and final exams requires storing those essential information to your long term memory (LTM). Thus, reviewing your lecture notes within 24 hours of the class is a crucial step in transferring information from your short term memory to your LTM. I also suggest re-reading or skimming through the course readings corresponding to that lecture.

Here are some few tips in improving your memory, adapted from: Tigner, R. B. (1999). Putting memory research to good use: hints from cognitive psychology. Journal of College Teaching, 47, 149-15.

Chunking. This is learning small pieces of information and later putting them together rather than cramming a lot of information all at the same time. The latter one may be faster but not the most efficient way of studying.

Spacing. Spacing out your time study is correlated to chunking the information. Research indicates that the best study intervals are those that match the retention interval (the time between the last study session and the test). For example, if your test is in two days, study once a day. If your test is in two hours, study once an hour.

Elaborative Rehearsal. When I was in first year, I remember one of my professors kept reminding us that this was not highschool anymore, so, memorizing terms was not enough to get you an A in her course.. and she was definitely right. Instead, it is more adequate to understand the concept. Then, applying it to i.e. real life or a memorable event will help you remember the concept better.

Dual Coding. Having both visual and verbal memory of a piece of information can help you remember that information better. Try visualizing the information while saying it out loud. A good example is when you're studying for i.e. physiology of the brain. While you articulate the parts and their functions, you also try to visualize the brain and where the parts are located.

Generation Effect.You are more likely to remember a term or concept that you generate on your own as opposed to being presented to you. Try studying with friends and take turns quizzing each other. Another helpful technique is using flashcards.

State and Context Dependant Memory. What this means is that the state and context of the time you acquired the information should match the state and context of the time you remember the information. So, if they do match you tend to remember the information better. This comes into play during exams. If you are stuck on a question and become anxious about it, try to relax and skip that question and come back to it after you are done.

If you think these guidelines are helpful and you want to have your own copy, you can find these informations in this tipsheet.

I know final exam schedule is already up so I wish you all good luck!

Have a great and productive weekend!
- Katrina

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