Memory Techniques. Julia Weaver EDP 504 Fall 2012. Introduction.
You have a seriously full plate. You have four classes to juggle, a social life to maintain, perhaps a boyfriend/girlfriend, maybe even sports or a job after school. Throw in all of your tests and quizzes to study for, and your brain is fried. There is just too much information to remember!
This tutorial is designed to help high school students like YOU become better at remembering important information. Use the graphic organizer given to you to complete this tutorial.
Click on the links to get to each section listed. If you ever see this icon,
you can click on it to take you back to this screen!
The human brain can remember only about 7 items (plus or minus 2) at any given moment. This uses the brain’s working memory and the information is usually lost quickly after using it, such as when you try to remember a phone number by reciting it over and over…usually you don’t remember the number after a few minutes have gone by.
Rehearsal of Information
Diagram of Rehearsal/Memory
If a human brain can only hold information in small chunks at a time, then how do people go on to win world memory championships and other memorization contests?
They TRAIN! You can train your brain to become better at memorization using many different techniques.
Are you ready to learn HOW?!
What kind of tricks do you already do to remember information?
Look at the words in the following list for 10 seconds (no cheating!). When you’re done, try to write as many of them down on your paper as you can without looking.
There are several memory techniques for helping you learn and remember lots of information at a time. This tutorial will teach you about the importance of imagery, as well as using it along with many of the following techniques:
Mnemonics are rhymes, sayings, and other techniques created in order to remember new information. Usually mnemonics use both new information and old information to make sure they remain in long-term memory.
Click here to see if you know
any popular Mnemonics; take
the trivia quiz!
Mnemonics and the peg method!
If you were using the method of loci, which area would you use? Your bedroom? House? Backyard? Favorite place for vacation?
Pick a place. Go over it in your mind and visualize all of the places you know well that you could ‘drop’ information.
Look in your notebooks and pick some notes you have recently taken in any class. Write down the important words, dates, names, or set to be remembered on your paper.
Using the method of loci, go through your imagined place and write down or draw where you would place items from your list. Explain where you put 3 of the items and why.
Find or make a list of important facts you need to know for one of your classes. It could be science, math, English, history, an elective, anything! It might be vocabulary, names, places, events, etc. Look in your book bag if you have to!
Use the first letter method to create an acronym or acrostic poem with your information! This website will help you generate some words since you are trying it for the first time!
Let’s say for your information, you picked ‘influences on why we eat’ for your Foods I class. Here’s an example.
Say you need to remember that Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cultural factors make us eat the way we eat. Click to the next slide to see what you could have done on the joglab website.
You could have chosen the words ‘patience,’ ‘efficiently,’ ‘satisfy,’ and ‘crush.’ Then you could have reminded yourself that it means if you wait long enough, your crush might notice that you’re amazing! (Aww!)
Make sure you pick words, phrases, and other mnemonics that actually mean something to you!
Are you in a foreign language class now? Have you ever taken one? It’s time to think out of the box!
Pick 5 words from the foreign language you are studying/have studied. Write them down and practice finding the word within a word and thinking of a picture/story to go along with it. List the foreign word, the English word you’re associating it with, and the story or picture you are going to link to it!
There are tons of studies where use of mnemonic devices beats out basic repetition again and again. One such study was done to beat ‘mnenonophobia,’ or fear of mnemonics due to thinking they don’t help with long-term memory.
The study used 3 different experiments using repetition vs. mnemonics, and in each experiment the mnemonics group outperformed the repetition group on tests! (Carney & Levin 2008).
Research has been done to show that mnemonics can help all students, even those students who have disabilities! A study by Scruggs, et al. (2010) goes through several different applications of mnemonics in different settings. The study includes students with learning disabilities, mild mental retardation, and emotional/behavioral disorders.
So throughout this tutorial, it is mentioned several times that mnemonics help everyone; are you starting to believe it now?!
If you didn’t believe it yet, here’s another one for you! Mnemonics have even been proven useful for teaching Braille to people with visual impairments and blindness! Conroy & Collins (2012) explain that mnemonics “provide an interactive, motivating, stimulating, and satisfying approach to learning.” (p. 47). Who wouldn’t want that?!
Another great way to use mnemonics is for names and faces! Have you ever played any ice breakers in a group to learn everyone’s name? Which ones?
There is even a such thing as a “face-name” mnemonic, which uses recoding, relating, and retrieving information to and from your brain to remember someone’s name to go along with their face! For instance, someone named Brighton who has blonde hair and kind eyes might lend you to the keyword ‘bright,’ and when you see the face, you’re likely to remember the name! (Carney & Levin 2012). This is what the memory champions do when they have contests for remembering names of random peoples’ pictures!
So you might be thinking, “Awesome! Now I never have to really study anything because I can remember it all with mnemonics…but you would be wrong! There are pros and cons to mnemonics.
Mnemonics don’t help you understand material – they only help you remember it. Understanding is different than being able to rattle off facts; however, mnemonics are helpful study tools for simple sets of information! Click here to see what mnemonics are and are not. The article explains that mnemonics are not comprehension strategies – they don’t lead to deep understanding, and they are not a guarantee for doing well on tests that require comprehension knowledge. However, they are a great aid for memory!
Now you have knowledge about several memory techniques. The next time you have a quiz or test to study for, try using one or two of these methods!
the more easy memorizing information
becomes for you!
tutorial for tips and refreshers on how
to use Mnemonics to help you remember
For the last part of this tutorial, think of all the memory techniques you just learned.
Bruning, R. H., Schraw, G. J., & Norby, M. M. (2011). Cognitive psychology and instruction (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.
Carney, R. N., & Levin, J. R. (2008). Conquering mnemonophobia: with help from three practical measures of memory application. Teaching of psychology, 35, 176-183.
Carney, R. N., & Levin, J. R. (2012). Facing facts: can the face-name mnemonic strategy accommodate additional factual information? The journal of experimental education, 80(4), 386-404.
Conroy, P. & Collins, P. (2012). Mnemonic devices for Braille instruction. Insight: research & practice in visual impairment & blindness, 5(1), 47-52.
Scruggs, T. E., Mastropieri, M. A., Berkeley, S. L, & Marshak, L. (2010). Mnemonic strategies: evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence. Intervention in School and Clinic 46(2), 79-86.