Tips For Better Memory

Breakfast and Performance

Your mother was right when she told you not to skip breakfast. Scientists have conducted studies and found that eating breakfast can actually help performance.


Improving your Memory

We receive information through all of our senses - we see, feel, read, hear, smell. All of this information is then sent to our brain and stored in our short term memory. It is well known that we need to work at retaining information, as it has been proven that five minutes after information has been taken in much of it has already been lost. After an hour, two thirds has been lost and after a day, 90% has been lost. This is called the curve of forgetting. What scientists have found is that it is possible to reverse this curve through the use of various techniques.

The challenge is to move this information from our short term memory to our long term memory so that we can retain information longer. There are many theories, but there are two main ways to retain information: by ROTE learning, or learning by ASSOCIATION.

Rote learning consists of a memorising process using routine or repetition. It is often a useful system when wanting to memorise large sections of texts like speeches, song lyrics or poetry. Unfortunately, this learning is often without a full understanding of the reasoning or relationships involved in the material that is learned. In most cases, a sense of understanding in broader terms than simple memorisation is required. For this sort of learning we move on to associative memory.

Associative learning is a learning principle based on the assumption that ideas and experiences reinforce one another and can be linked to enhance the learning process. This learning process relies on the mental linking of discrete ideas, perceptions and experiences to enhance memory and therefore long term learning.

To enhance the effectiveness of either style of learning there are a few techniques you can implement. When you are first taking in information it is best to organise it and decide on what manner you want to take it by, either rote or association.

The best way to take in information is to:

The more senses you involve the more enhanced your memory processes will be.

Now that you have become involved in the learning curve you can reverse it by recall. This will enable the transfer of information from your short term memory to your long term memory, as the number of times you recall something helps your overall memory ability.

A specific technique that has had proven success:

  1. Take in the information.
  2. After five minutes go over the information again in a quiet place where you won't be disturbed. Only go over the main points of the information, which should take you about one or two minutes.
  3. After one hour, repeat step 2.
  4. After another three hours, repeat step 2 again.
  5. After six hours repeat step 2.
  6. Just before you go to sleep that night review all of the material one last time.
  7. Repeat steps 1-6 for the next two days, and now you should have that information for the long term.

Now for some of you this might be considered a lot of work, but when you think about it you are only studying for an average of 24 minutes after your first read through the information. And 24 minutes over three days could be considered as nothing. People can spend hours and hours studying and not get anywhere. Yet, by following this simple technique you are ensuring the transfer of knowledge from your short term memory to your long term memory. The more time you spend on recalling the information the greater the chances of you retaining that information for the long term.

Time to test the theory! Remember, you have nothing to lose and lots to learn.