How to improve your memory?
Nov 22, 2008 at 3:50 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 26

chesebert

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Final is getting close and I need to memorize massive amounts of information as the one of the exams will be close-book.

I suck at memorizing anything. What can I do?
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 3:52 AM Post #2 of 26

LFF

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Repetition!

Another trick I used on closed book exams was to make a song about the material.
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 4:56 AM Post #3 of 26

Uncle Erik

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Flashcards. I make them in Q/A format, with a question on one side and the answer on the other. I learn about 50% of the material just writing them out by hand, then it takes 15-20 passes through the stack to memorize the rest.

The only other technique I've found that worked was taking practice exams. If you don't have any handy, ask your professor if you can have copies of finals from past classes. They usually do and they're usually happy to share them. When you take them, cut yourself about 10%-20% short on the actual time you have to finish the test. If you have an hour to take the exam, practice finishing it in 50 minutes. That way, you won't feel rushed or pressured during the test.

Good luck - hope you do well!
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 7:54 AM Post #4 of 26

krmathis

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Repetition, repetition, repetition.
And take notes of the important parts when you read it.
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 12:14 PM Post #5 of 26

hawat

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I heard that ginseng was good for memory. Unfortunately I hate eating that stuff
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Nov 22, 2008 at 12:19 PM Post #6 of 26

MatthewK

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Ginkgo Biloba is well known for it's memory benefits. As hawat said Ginseng is good too, but Ginkgo Biloba is specifically better for memory. But I doubt it will work quickly enough for your finals, it's something that works gradually over time.
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 6:16 PM Post #7 of 26

flashnolan

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This is going to sound strange, but it really works.

Ever wonder how in an accident or any really stressful event you remember ever detail like it was yesterday? During these events your body releases a chemical that enhances among other things your memory during it. So all you have to do it trigger this chemical release while you are memorizing for your tests. No, I am not advocating getting in a car accident while you memorize just to do better on a test. There is a much simpler way.

Put your hand in really ice cold water. The shock will cause some of the same natural reactions. It won't cause any permanent damage and what you memorize you will retain much better.
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 9:44 PM Post #9 of 26

stewtheking

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Reading stuff out-loud to yourself is another tried-and-tested. It's something to do with the brain being stimulated in multiple ways as you do it. It's reading it, saying it, and hearing it back all at the same time, and it's a pretty powerful way to get loads of info in there. Also if you are writing practice essays, don't bother, just say the essay aloud as if it were a speech. Saves a lot of hand-cramp.
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 10:08 PM Post #10 of 26

VicAjax

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i have a FOOLPROOF way to remember information... but I forgot what it was.
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 10:55 PM Post #11 of 26

necropimp

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i find the best way to improve memory is to either buy more or overclock what you have

>.>
<.<
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 11:23 PM Post #12 of 26

Samgotit

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I'm with all the Flash Card people: Rewrite notes while integrating and rereading/reading the corresponding textbook material on a legal pad (half the battle; you learn the most at this point). Make flash cards on 3x5 index cards for minor points, 5x7 for major. Concurrently, organize the flash cards by using different color cards (one fourth the battle). Review cards as many times as it takes (the remaining fourth of the battle).

I had a college friend who was a metal sculptor. She promised when she finished that she'd drill a hole through all the notes she took as an undergrad. She kept everything. Her plan was to build a metal base with a vertical pole and thread all of her notes on to the stand. If I would have done that with the flash cards I made, I swear it would top 6 feet.
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 11:44 PM Post #13 of 26

tim359

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One thing that helps me when studying lists is to make acronyms for the list. Take the first letter of each item in the list (if it's a list of sentences than take the first letter of the most important word in the sentence) and memorize those letters. I found that even if you can't make a word out of these letters that it still helps if you can remember what each letter stands for. If your studying something that's not a list, you can still take the major points of what you're studying and make it into a list.
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 1:34 AM Post #14 of 26

slwiser

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Quote:

Originally Posted by chesebert /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Final is getting close and I need to memorize massive amounts of information as the one of the exams will be close-book.

I suck at memorizing anything. What can I do?



I have observed that some people learn by hearing others by physical contact with the information. Me, I am a contact type of guy and therefore I have to write whatever I want to remember down several times while covering the basic material. It is a pain but when it is necessary to memorize lots of data that is my best way. Others just can read it or hear it and have it. I think the one who has to learn it a hard way actually learns it better in the long run. Your memory will be more permanent and you will be able to use the information more analytically meaning usefully, just my opinion.
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 2:09 AM Post #15 of 26

aaron313

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Play to your strengths:

1) I have a visual memory, so I try to get as much eye contact as possible. Since I have never created a flashcard in my life, this means seeing the definition next to the term in the book and using the location as a trigger for the memory. Only problem is that sometimes you know where on the page the answer is, but don't know the answer.

2) Be deliberate. Have you ever read an entire chapter and then thought to yourself "What the Hell did I just read?" You see the words, and subvocalize, without interpreting. Thus, instead of quickly tearing through a chapter, try to let each important fact sink in. This works for complicated concepts, but don't do it for the more tangential facts. In my experience, the less you focus on unimportant things, the more of them you will remember in the end. But if the material is difficult, focus hard.

3) Repetition. If you have a good routine, repeat it. Those tangential facts often make a large difference to a course grade, so you'll want to be exposed to the material at least several times. Still, if you are confused by the key concepts, don't dwell on the accessories.

4) Sleep never hurts. But I will tell you that if you can't sleep, drink one or two Red Bulls. There is no doubt that Red Bull sharpens your concentration, memory, creativity, and stamina. No, I do not work for Red Bull, but my roommate and I both (at Berkeley, so we're not full of s***) saved our asses with Red Bull. One time I pulled an all nighter before an Organic Chem final, so I needed two just to stay awake. It was as though I was just a detached observer, because my hand was writing answers that came seemingly from nowhere. I got a good grade, too.

5) Pretend you enjoy what you're doing. You think I genuinely enjoy anything I have to do for a grade? I dislike most everything, in fact. I have an innate disdain for most people, too. But I pretend to enjoy my fellow humans, and often get along nicely, or else I would never be successful. And if you pretend to enjoy studying, it might eventually become natural. There's a reason why some people have an encyclopedic knowledge of sports, but can't remember a single fact for a biology class.
 

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