Memory Techniques

Here are 12 memory techniques. You may not find all of them useful, but read through each section and try using the ones that fit your learning style. Not all these ideas will work for everyone, but you should find something new here!

There are 4 areas here:

Be Organized

1. Learn from the general to the specific.

Get an overview to use as a framework on which to hang specific details.

2. Make it meaningful and relevant to you.

Relate what you learn to your goals (to what you want to get from your education) and to what you have learned previously.

3. Create associations.

Store new data near similar or related data – fit new material in with what you already know.

Be Physical

4. Learn it actively.

Reinforce the words with action. Stand up, sit up straight, pace back and forth, and/or gesture with your hands to get your body involved when you study.

5. Visualize relationships.

Draw diagrams; make cartoons; create action; make pictures vivid; make pictures bizarre; turn abstract ideas into concrete actions.

6. Recite and repeat.

Audible repetition uses both your physical and auditory senses, which accelerate your learning ability. Hearing the information as you recite in your own words increases your ability to remember.

Be Clear

7. Reduce interference.

Find a space free of distractions. Multi-tasking is great for some things, but not when you're trying to remember complex information!

8. Overlearn.

Go over material until it becomes second nature. Don’t stop exactly when you think you’re ready for a test. Explore, dissect, add to your knowledge of the subject.

9. Be aware of attitudes.

Take responsibility for boredom and opinions. Know when attitudes are inhibiting learning.

Be Smart

10. Distribute learning.

Use many shorter study sessions.

11. Remember something else.

When you get stuck and can't remember something you know you know, remember something else that is related: data that is stored close by. Reflect, brainstorm.

12. Combine memory techniques.

Use more than one of these at a time.


12 Memory Techniques adapted from "Becoming a Master Student, 10th Edition", Dave Ellis, Houghton Mifflin Company.