Memory strategies

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Improve your memory

Did you know that memory can improve by practicing and using effective strategies? Our “Improve your memory” resources are thorough and will help you develop your memory with a series of activities, self-reflection and tools.

Looking for something short and sweet? Read our quick tips on memory and current neuroscience research.

If you prefer using shorter tools or if you already know what strategies you want to learn about, feel free to open one of the following tools.

If you would prefer anything in .docx or another accessible format, please email us and we can send it along.

Quick TipsMemory at university moduleMemory questionnaires and tests; Forgetting: Reasons and solutionsLook, snap, connect; Pegging; Remembering long numbers and written passagesThe practice effect; eye movements, stress and recallSubstances and memory

QUICK TIPS

ABOUT MEMORY

Learning and memory are closely linked. The modal model of memory includes several stages that depend on paying attention and being mentally engaged:

Stage 1.
Acquiring information (Working or Sensory memory)

  • Try thinking about the material (comparing, analyzing, processing), to keep the material in your conscious mind

Stage 2.
Storing information for later use (Short-term and Long-term memory)

  • Try organizing material, so it can be “found” in your mind
  • Repeat, visualize, rehearse information for better retention
  • Information needs to be in long-term memory before writing an exam!

Stage 3.
Accessing memories when required (Retrieval)

  • Try practicing using the memorized material, which leads to fast and accurate retrieval, and reduces forgetting

Neuroscience research has determined:

Memory for an event or information is most likely if there is a heavy emotional component or there are multiple exposures to the material (i.e., it becomes familiar).
Tip: Preview information before class, make notes, review after class.

Quiet time for “consolidation” is required for memories to move into long- term storage.
Tip: Study or read 50 minutes, then take a 10 minute break. Repeat, take a longer (15 min) break.

Our need for sleep increases during times of intense learning and memorizing.
Tip: Get 8-9+ hours sleep during exams or other high-demand periods.

Drinking even 1-2 alcoholic drinks can impair all stages of memory, especially the transfer of information from short-term to long-term memory.
Tip: Drink moderately, avoid binging, don’t party during the week or exams.

Recall of material is improved by mimicking your learning environment.
Tip: Consider your eventual “working” conditions (e.g., exam hall or clinical setting, your desired mental or psychological state) when you are learning.

Module Introduction

Introduction

Purpose of this module

Self-assessment of memory functioning

I. How your mind works

Model 1: Three phases

Model 2: Five stages of information processing

II. Whole brain learning

Brain research and memory

Imagination and association

III. Forgetting and remembering

Why we forget

How we remember

IV. Memory training: Basic memory strategies

Introduction

1. Association and linking strategies

2. Whole brain strategies

Organizational strategies

Rehearsal

Advanced strategy: Remembering new or long words

Advanced strategy: Remembering verbatim passages

Advanced strategy: Remembering difficult names

Advanced strategy: The Major Memory System

V. Negative effects on memory

Lack of sleep

Food and nutrition

Anxiety and stress

Illnesses and medications

Aging

STRATEGIES AND TOOLS

TO IMPROVE YOUR MEMORY

Subjective memory questionnaire

Objective Memory Test

The filing cabinet of your mind

Reasons for forgetting

Solutions for forgetting

STRATEGIES AND TOOLS

TO IMPROVE YOUR MEMORY

Look, snap, connect

Pegging and creating lists

Pegging for remembering numerical sequences and equations

The Major System: Remembering very long numbers

Remembering written passages

STRATEGIES AND TOOLS

TO IMPROVE YOUR MEMORY

The distribution of practice effect

Using eye movements to reduce stress and improve recall

STRATEGIES AND TOOLS

TO IMPROVE YOUR MEMORY

Marijuana and memory

Does alcohol have an effect on academics?

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