Effective Memorization Techniques

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EFFECTIVE MEMORIZATION
TECHNIQUES
Why is this Important?
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Memory is like a muscle - the more it is used, the better it gets!
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Learning effective memorizing strategies can help improve
your efficiency with a variety of tasks, including:
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Studying for a Test
Memorizing Lines
Memorizing a Speech
Remembering names, phone numbers, passwords, zip codes, recipes,
complicated procedures, etc.
…The possibilities are endless!
Using Your Whole Mind to Remember
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Mnemonics are methods for
remembering information that is
otherwise difficult to recall.
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Effective memorization begins with
using as many of the best functions of
the human brain as possible to code
information. This includes:
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Images, color, structure, sounds, smells,
tastes, touch, spatial awareness, emotion,
and language.
Additionally, symbols (red traffic lights,
pointing fingers, road signs, etc.) can code
quite complex messages quickly and
effectively.
Create Associations
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Memory is a network of neurons. The brain learns by associating new information with
existing information. It adds new networks to existing networks of neurons.
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What does this mean?
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Linking the information to familiar ideas, personal experiences, or physical senses is the
most powerful means of memorization.
A similarly beneficial technique is linking together the information you wish to memorize.
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For Example: If you are trying to remember items on a grocery list, such as corn,
bananas, potatoes, and milk, associate the items together in a visualization.
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Use your imagination! Funny or peculiar things are easier to remember than normal ones.
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Example: “Cornanasilk” = Corn, Bananas, Milk
Use Repetition…Use Repetition
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Repetition is one of the most basic learning techniques. Infants use it to learn to
speak. Athletes use it to perfect athletic skills.
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Repetition helps the brain to form a stronger connection related to that piece of
information.
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People can only hold an average of 5-9 pieces of information in their short term
memory at a time, therefore concentrating on only a few pieces of data at a time is
important.
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Repetition Tips
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Make flashcards
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Re-read material out loud
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Break data into clusters
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Write lecture summaries
Create an Acronym or Acrostic
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Use each first letter from a group of words to form a new word.
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Each of the letters in the word is meant to trigger your memory to help
you remember an item.
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This is particularly useful when remembering words in a specified
order.
Remember the acrostic for the order of operations in math? “Please
Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” tells students that the proper order for
performing math functions is: Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication,
Division, Addition and Subtraction.
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ROY G. BIV tells us the order of the colors of the rainbow.
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Other examples include: NBA (National Basketball Associations),
SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus), BTUs
(British Thermal Units)
Acronym and Acrostic Cont.
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Steps to creating useful acronyms and acrostics:
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Decide what portions of the content need to be memorized and if there
are logical groupings for this content.
Create a sentence/word that has a rhythm and that makes sense.
Use a word or symbol that is relevant to the overall subject matter.
Examples:
Make a Rhyme or a Song
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Rhythm, melody, and rhyme can all aid memory
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Many ancient Greek stories were told by storytellers who
would rely solely on their memories. The use of rhyme,
rhythm, and repetition helped the storytellers remember them.
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You can use the same techniques to better remember information from
courses. For example, even the simple addition of familiar rhythm and
melody can help. Do you remember learning the alphabet? Many children
learn the letters of the alphabet to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.“
Using these techniques can be fun, particularly for people who
like to create. Rhymes and songs draw on your auditory
memory and may be particularly useful for those who can learn
tunes, songs, or poems easily.
Use Your Study Time Wisely
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Develop and plan for blocks of study time in a
typical week
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Dedicate a space for study
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Decide when you are most productive. Are you a
morning person or a night owl?
Determine a place free from distraction (people,
noise, your cell phone, etc.) where you can maximize
your concentration. Have a back-up space that you
can escape to.
Take breaks
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Some difficult materials may require more frequent
breaks.
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Take time to relax or otherwise refresh or re-energize
yourself.
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Have a snack.
Study Skills Cont.
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Weekly reviews
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Prioritize your assignments
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Each week, dedicate a day and time to review.
Don’t procrastinate! Learning information takes time, so plan ahead.
When studying, get in the habit of beginning with the most difficult subject
or task. You’ll be fresh, and have more energy to take them on when you
are at your best.
Get rest
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Rest is one of the most important factors that impacts the way the brain
works and the quality of how it works. The body needs 7-8 hours of sleep
per day.
Power naps are effective in refreshing the mind.
Have a Positive Mental Attitude
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Set yourself up to be successful.
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If you can see progress in your
learning, you are more likely to stick
with it.
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Do your studying when you are at
your mental best.
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Have confidence in yourself; know
that you can accomplish the goals
you set.
This PowerPoint presentation is the property of Northern
Michigan University’s Academic and Career Advisement
Center. It may not be reproduced without written consent.
http://www.nmu.edu/acac

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