Memorization is an inevitable step in learning. Many assessment modes in school and college involve memorization, like exams, tests, presentations, speeches etc.
A lot students seem to find it difficult to remember a huge amount of information. Memorization, then, makes the whole learning process frustrating and annoying.
But that shouldn’t be the case! Learning can be just as fun even with the need of memorizing.
In this post, I am going to tell you one important secret of memorization, and how you can make use of it in your studying to make the memorization process much more interesting and, most important, easier.
I am going to tell you all about:
- One key fact about your brain on how it memorizes things!
- Some related tips and tricks to make memorization easier for you
Your brain tends to remember information that is more elaborated and detailed
Your brain is selective when retaining information. It tends to retain information that is more detailed, elaborated and encompasses greater meaning to it. In addition, stronger emotion attachment would also enhance your memory of that piece of information.
If you want to remember your study materials, the very first thing you would have to do is to understand them. The more you understand it, the more elaborately you will process the information.
In contrast, your brain cannot process information without meaning well. That is, if you don’t understand something in lecture or class, make sure to do research on it and ask your teacher about it. Otherwise, it is almost impossible to remember that piece of information.
Then, the next thing you have to do is to give your own meaning to it. This include generating your definition and elaboration in your own words and attaching your feelings and thoughts that piece of information.
Both of these will allow you to give a richer meaning to the information, which would then allow the information to stay in your brain for a longer period of time.
- Understand the information thoroughly
- Attach your own meaning to it and give your own thoughts and ideas
Tips and Tricks to Help You Better Memorize Information
After learning two important characteristics of your brain in regards to memorization, it is time for us to look at how we can utilize these two features of our brain in enhancing our memory.
Tip #1: Ask yourself questions before learning the information
Asking yourself questions before learning new things is a great way to increase and triggers your interest in that topic. On top of that, it also encourages you to search for the answers and associate that piece of information with the question you just asked. This helps to attach meaning to the information and helps you to find relevant associations.
Tip #2: Highlight and annotate your study materials systematically
Your brain loves colors. Using colors to categorize information allows them to be more systematic, organized, and easier to be processed by your brain.
Using a color key for your highlighting system would be very helpful. The key varies according to your subjects, and you can use different colors to represent different things like names, time, places, topic sentence, key ideas, definitions, questions, examples, etc.
Remember to stick to the same color scheme in all of your study materials. As you are used to your color coding scheme, you can easily differentiate the type of information that each point is representing, and this helps you to better attach meanings to the information.
Tip #3: Relate new information to your real-life situation or things you already know
We are always more sensitive and enthusiastic about ourselves and things that we are familiar with. By linking new information with things that are relevant to us, we associate a strong and elaborated meaning to the information. This association allows the information to be processed more elaborately, hence enhance our memory to it.
Similarly, if you are trying to remember a term or principle, the best way is to think about a real-life example. This not only breaks down difficult concepts into things that you can easily understand, it also allows you to attach detailed meaning to the information.
Tip #4: Use your imagination and associate pictures and stories to the information
Sometimes, merely having a definition to the words may not be sufficient to remember the words. To give the information a richer meaning, what you can do is to use your imagination and create pictures and stories in your mind that can link the information and gives a emotional and rich meaning to it.
This is also where some of the most famous memorization technique comes from, like the story method, mnemonics, etc. What you are doing is to link things together and give them a meaning that you create for them.
Tip #5: Teach yourself out loud
You may ask, why teaching yourself out loud would enhance memory? The answer is simple, this mere teaching experience allows your brain to process the information and encourages you to explain everything in your own words. This helps to attach meaning to the information, allows you to better understand them and gives time for the brain to digest them.
When teaching yourself, you can also incorporate the above tips and talk about your stories, examples, and creative meaning out loud. This would further help improve your memory.
A Quick Recap!
As usual, here is a brief summary of everything I have talked about:
- Your brain tends to remember information that is more elaborated and detailed. Therefore, it is crucial for you to understand the information so that you can give meaning to it.
- To improve your memory, asking questions before learning new information is crucial.
- By highlighting and annotating your study materials systematically, you are helping your mind to organize the information and gives the information a richer meaning.
- You can try to relate the information to yourself and things you already know, as well as real-life examples.
- Alternatively, try using your imagination to associate things and give the information a picture, animation or story.
- Finally, incorporate the above methods and teach yourself out loud.