How to Study to Remember

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Want to learn how to make your studying time more effective? Make things stick faster to your brain? Well this is the post for you. Let’s begin!

Your memory works in three stages:

  1. Attention

  2. Encoding: Storing/associating with other info

  3. Retrieval: Remembering

To optimize the final stage (remembering), you have to optimize the first two stages first. This means you have to pay attention to the material, and you need to encode it well. And if you repeat the process, you will reinforce it. By retrieving something, you start to bring your attention to it again, helping you re-encode it better than before.

To optimize encoding, remember the following pneumatic, GOAT ME

  • G is generate and test. Quiz yourself and come up with the answers on your own without just reading them. Even if you are wrong, it help more than if you just think about it. So instead of just memorizing bullet points and writing, try to write an essay multiple times without cheating, review it, and repeat until you can write it without forgetting any important points.
  • O is organize. You want to reduce the load on your brain and help create shortcuts or reminders by coloring, position, or associations. For example, a timeline helps remember that event A came before event B in history. Once the position of the information becomes meaningful it will be easier to retrieve.
  • A is for avoid illusions of learning. There are two types of memory: recognition and recall. Recall is when you can remember the information on your own, as you might be expected to do on a test. But recognition is where you can’t think of it on your own but if you see it you remember it. Avoid study methods that rely on recognition. When rereading material, it begins to feel easier and you assume you learned it but chances are you won’t be able to recall any of it in an effective way.
  • T is take breaks. Your memory works best if you study in frequent, short sessions rather than in long cramming sessions. Give you brain a chance to store and organize the information you studied so it doesn’t just slip out.
  • M is match learning and testing conditions. If you want to optimize your memory, then the conditions surrounding your study environment should be the same as your testing environment. This is because the environment itself serves as a reminder. Think about the noise level, size of the room, type of furniture, mood, comfort, etc.
  • E is elaborate. Think deeply about the material your studying and make associations with it. Does it remind you of something else? Can you make a song out of it? Visually imagine it? Reminders are the key to your memory’s success. One memory can associate with another – that term made me draw a figure to represent it.