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HOW WE REMEMBER
Memory itself probably cannot be developed; however, improvement in remembering comes from correcting certain habits or thoughts so that we use our memory to its fullest potential. Remembering is like seeing; improvement in either function does not depend upon how much we use it but, rather how we use it.
The first and most important rule for remembering is: cultivate the habit of close attention to the thing you wish to remember. Be sure you have a clear, sharp impression of the face, name, date, or facts which you will need to know at a future time. If you wish to remember a fact, make it meaningful to you.
When we are learning, we should try not only to get a strong impression but to obtain as many different kinds of impressions as possible. Some people can remember colors distinctly, but have a poor memory for shapes. But anyone, by putting together and using all of the impressions our sense organs bring us about a thing, can remember it much more clearly than if we rely on sight or sound alone. For example, try reading your lesson aloud. In doing this, your eye takes in the appearance of the printed word, your ear passes the sound of the words to your brain, and even the tension of the muscle of your throat add their bit to the total impression which your mind is expected to store away.
Try to visualize it. Either remember a diagram or a picture of the material
to be remembered, or take short notes about it which you can visualize.
Think about it. A fact doesn't belong to you until you have used it. In making use of this principle, plan to spend not more than one-half of your study period in reading your lesson. Use the other half in doing something with what you learn. Think about what you have studied, write down notes on it, and explain it to somebody else.
Logical memory. One of the most important of all aids to the remembering process is the habit of associating a new idea immediately with facts or ideas that are already firmly lodged in the mind. This association revives and strengthens the old memories and prevents the new one form slipping away by anchoring it to the well-established framework of your mental world.
Remembering by brute force. We will forget more, on the average, during the first hour after learning that during the next 24 hours; and we will forget more, on the average, during the first day than we will during the next thirty days. Whatever is left after thirty days time, we will probably be able to hold on to without much further loss for years to come.
Reviewing is much more effective if carried out before memories have entirely escaped than it is after considerable time has elapsed. Repetitions should be strung out over as long a time as is available. We remember better if we pause a little between periods of study.
How much study? You should study more than enough to learn your assignment. Experiments have proven that 50% more resulted in 50% better retention. After a week had passed, it was found that extra work had salvaged six time as much of the material as in the case when it was barely learned.
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Last modified: March 22, 2014