Memory Retention Techniques

Follow Certain RULES:

  1. Don’t fall for fluency- When you’re reading something and it feels easy, what you’re experiencing is fluency . It’ll only get you in trouble. Example: Say, for instance, you’re at the airport and you’re trying to remember which gate your flight to Chicago is waiting for you at. You look at the terminal monitors – it’s B44. You think to yourself, oh, B44, that’s easy . Then you walk away, idly check your phone, and instantly forget where you’re going. The alternative: You read the gate number. Then you turn away from the monitor and ask yourself, what’s the gate? If you can recall that it’s B44, you’re good to go.
  2. Read in Clusters-
    Have more than one book on a same topic/chapter & read them back to back. HOW? Ok, first u finish a chapter or topic as below then take other book & read same topic. There are several benefits for doing this
    . (a) You’ll get a better understanding of the subject. Your mind will be thinking about it for longer and you’ll have more information to build your knowledge. Also, as you internalize the principles, you’ll start seeing deeper layers and nuances of what you are reading. (b)You’ll remember more. With better understanding also comes better encoding. It’s easier for us to remember what we understand deeply. We are also being exposed to the information for a longer time, and as ideas repeat themselves they become reinforced in our memory. (c)You’ll be exposed to different perspectives from several authors. Reading this way gives you better understanding of the subject because it makes the books complement of each other instead of being stand alone. Also, reading from different authors in a subject will help you avoid the “only source bias” where we think what we read is right even though we haven’t read other sources. The information should be fresh in your mind so you don’t waste time reviewing and relearning the material. Reading in clusters will also improve your reading speed. Since you already have knowledge of what you are reading, you won’t have to spend time trying to understand it again. The Information will also start to overlap, you can then speed up on the parts you already know and focus on the information that is new and important which will give you the deeper understanding we are looking for.
  3. Full Attention (Concentration) & Confidence – Don’t try multitasking. It requires intense concentration to remember new information. When studying, it’s more effective to concentrate on one subject or concept at a time. When studying uninteresting concepts, personalize the subject. This is known as ego involvement. Because we are often negative about ourselves, we forget and underestimate our ability to retain new information.Have confidence in your abilities irrespective of your lack of interest. Do not be pessimistic if you struggle. Never hesitate to ask for help. Once you begin grasping new concepts, your confidence will increase.Even if it’s time consuming, focus on mastering new concepts. Rote memorization, a method where information is reviewed until it can be recalled verbatim, is often employed by students learning to multiply and memorize equations. Understanding-based memorization is employed by students who must understand generalized concepts, such as theories.
  4. Take a walk- Before studying, head outside to enjoy the weather for at least twenty minutes. Research has shown that exercising before an exam or a study session will help your memory and brain. Save enough energy for studying so that you do not feel fatigued.
  5. Get the Mechanics Right- For in-depth reading, eyes need to move in a disciplined way. Skimming actually trains eyes to move without discipline. When you need to read carefully and remember the essence of large blocks of text, the eyes must snap from one fixation point to the next in left- to right-sequence. Moreover, the fixations should not be one individual letters or even single words, but rather on several words per fixation. Poor readers who stumble along from word to word actually tend to have lower comprehension because their mind is preoccupied with recognizing the letters and their arrangement in each word.That is a main reason they can’t remember what they read. Countless times I have heard college students say, “I read that chapter three times, and I still can’t answer your questions.”
  6. Go to the questions at the end first. Read them, answer them to the best of your ability, and then begin your actual reading strategies. This will sort of “prime the engine” of retention.
  7. Next, read the final summary then Contents & chapter introduction & then start the chapter- This will give you a general background of the chapter. NOW you can then work through the chapter from front to back or READ BACKWARDS. By taking this out-of-order strategy, you are focusing not on the chronological order, but rather connecting the ideas found in the chapter together. This is infinitely more important than reading things in the order they were written.
  8. Read the book only once but your notes multiple times-You should never read a page/chapter more than once from same/similar Source only If you’ve done your reading page by page and taken notes as you read. Granted, it takes a while to adapt to this approach. This is called active textbook reading strategy.Taking notes is more effective than underlining text. Students frequently underline excessive amounts of text, which can lead to confusion. After reading a chapter in a textbook, review lecture notes.
  9. Rehearse As You Go Along- Read in short segments (a few paragraphs to a few pages, depending on content density), all the while thinking about and paraphrasing the meaning of what is written.Think about the content in each segment in terms of how it satisfies the purpose for reading. Ask yourself questions about the content. “How does this information fit what I already know and don’t know? Why did the author say that? Do I understand what this means? What is the evidence? Do I agree with ideas or conclusions? Why or why not? What is the practical application?” How much of this do I need to memorize?” Apply the ideas to other situations and contexts. Generate ideas about the content. It also helps to focus on what is not said. To do that you also have to keep in working memory what was said. This not only helps memory, but you get the opportunity to gain creative insights about the subject. In short, thinking not only promotes memory formation but also understanding.
  10. If Brain stops and tries to apply the concept but struggles to do so,  you mark it & continue to read the book. More points will keep coming. And of course, without complete information, you have ‘incomplete information’.
  11. Read for Key Concept Details & Classify- Textbooks are extremely thorough. You, while needing thoroughness, are not requiring to be able to absorb every tiny detail found in a chapter. You have to focus on what’s most important. Textbooks are great because they explain those Big Ideas in context, but make sure you don’t get lost in the minutiae. After done with a page/chapter,  identify big ideas/key concepts & examples. Classify the chapter/your reading into harminous flow of thoughts. Check your notes against the questions at the end of the chapter/last year problems etc. If they reflect the same key details, you know you are barking up the right tree. If extra information comes up, don’t forget to add into your notebook.
  12. Operate Within Your Attention Span- Trying to read when you can’t concentrate is wasting time. Since most people have short attention spans, they should not try to read dense material for more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time. After such a session, they should take a break and quiz themselves on what they just read.Ultimately, readers should discipline their attention so they can concentrate for longer periods.
  13. Summary & Review- Rehearse Soon After Reading Is Finished. You retain 90% when you teach someone else or when you implement it immediately. After you’ve read a chapter, take a few minutes to re-summarize it. This method is one of the most active learning strategies students can employ. Simultaneously, you’ll be testing your understanding of the subject. Auditory learners are encouraged to read aloud. This method should also be used if you do not understand what you’re reading. It’s most effective to conduct reviews immediately after learning a new concept. Spend more time reviewing material near the middle of a chapter since you’ll probably remember content near the beginning and end of chapters.Re-summarize what you’ve read without looking at the text during study sessions.It’s more useful to read a textbook chapter, analyze it, and then clarify confusing concepts before moving on.
  14. Interference – Strategy many people have used to successfully retain information is to sleep immediately following study sessions. While awake, people are constantly thinking, which contributes to memory loss. Likewise, it’s also helpful to exercise, socialize with friends, or participate in other recreational activities immediately after studying to increase memory retention.
  15. Revision & Over-learning the complex concepts- Everyone forgets information that is not constantly reviewed. It’s counterproductive to stress over memory retention.Excessive study often leads to over-learning. Although this may seem negative, students who’ve over-learned a concept often remember what they’ve studied with little effort. Students should employ over-learning when studying complex or difficult to understand concepts. Do not spend too much time reviewing understood content.
  16. Distributed Practice – You’ll more than likely remember problems/concepts /information periodically reviewed during the course of a few weeks.
  17. Read more by not reading at all-This is quite counter-intuitive advice. After I finish a book, I let it age for a week or two and then pick it up again. I look at my notes and the sections I’ve marked as important. I write them down. Or let it age for another week or two.
  18. The next time you pick up a book, remember this- Listening or reading something is just listening or reading.It’s not real learning. Real learning comes from making mistakes.And mistakes come from implementation. And that’s how you retain 90% of everything you learn.

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