MEMORY & RECALL are important aspects of learning, but they’re only part of the picture. Understanding how the brain works can make it easier to learn and remember. You'll probably need to change some study habits to get the most out of your brain!
Be sure you understand information before you attempt to memorize the details.
Your brain needs time to absorb and remember information. Don't expect immediate results.
Team up with classmates to help you learn, remember, and recall information. Discuss course content and quiz each other often.
How much do you know about the brain and how learning works?
How might your attitude affect your ability to learn? Do you think it’s fun? Tedious? Exciting? Hard? Boring?
If you wanted to improve your memory, what steps could you take?
When you need to learn new material for an exam, what study strategies do you use?
Do you monitor your learning to figure out what works best for you?
For thousands of years, scientists and scholars have contemplated and researched the complexities of the brain and learning. This brief overview barely scratches the surface, but even basic knowledge can help you improve your approach to learning:
So what are the implications? Learning takes time, perseverance, and patience. It's usually not comfortable. If you're confused, you're probably learning! Don't be too hard on yourself as you move through the learning curve.
Many models have been developed to explain learning and memory. Does this diagram look familiar?
Why does this matter? You might think you have a poor memory, but maybe you're not forming strong neuronal pathways. For example, if you meet someone once and don't see them again for a few weeks, it's normal to forget their name because it wasn't encoded in your long-term memory yet. You need memory strategies like rehearsal and reinforcement to make it stick.
You could read hundreds of sources on the topic of memory strategies. This brief overview lists just some of the possibilities.
Structuring strategies = ways to organize information so you can more easily remember and retrieve it
Rehearsal strategies = repeated practice of information to commit it to memory
Association strategies = connecting new information to information you already know to make it more meaningful
For more details, see "Mnemonics: Memory Techniques" and "Memorization Strategies" below. Keep in mind that effective memory strategies for one subject may not translate well to a different subject.
TOOLS & RESOURCES