Want to understand how to remember better while studying? Then you are in the right place.
Salomon Szereszewski is in a position to remember everything. At the start of the 20th century, scientists studied the mind, tested this Russian journalist.
They showed him strings of letters and numbers. If he could spend three or four seconds visualizing it (as he called imagining it as a color image), he remembered it easily.
One day, a researcher gave him a list of 30 sets of signs to read. After a while, Szereszewski repeated it from memory. Then the researcher put the list in a box and forgot about it for 15 years.
After that, he found his fantastic friend and once more asked him to repeat the list. Szereszewski repeated all letters and numbers without error.
A good memory is a dream not only for students during exams, but it also makes it easier to learn foreign languages and collect better rewards by playing poker. Tony Buzan, a world-renowned expert on learning and memory, tells those who make excuses for their short memory: it is like a muscle, you must train it.
You can do this using the method that Salomon Szereszewski used, and that’s used today by masters of mnemonics – masters of memory.
How to Remember Better While Studying
Unlike Szereszewski, most of us quickly forget information we remember. In the first hour we lose half of what we have learned, as proven by Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist.
The calculations also show that after a few days we only remember 25 percent, and after a month —20%. Luckily there’s an easy way to memorize – repetition.
How does it help?
Neurons can strengthen synapses or make new connections amongst themselves. Every time we repeat information or action, we strengthen neural pathways. And it is easier for information to get to the usual track.
2. Play Video Games
Computer games allow us to use memory. They can strengthen neural connections in the prefrontal lobe, which improves short-term and operational memory. You can find many websites with memory development through neural training.
It has been calculated that thanks to practice it is feasible to increase the ability to process and assimilate new data by 130%.
A good mood can’t be exaggerated in most life situations, but it does not must be when we try to remember something. It turns out that we absorb knowledge better when we’re sad – at least that is what PhD research shows.
Justin Storbeck of Queen’s College, who is interested not only in memory, but also in music. He invited the students to experiment and divided them into three groups: the first listened to the melancholic Gustaw Mahler, the second listened to the much more uplifting Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and the third sat in silence for some time.
Then everyone seems to be asked to remember the words from the list presented earlier and write them down. Mahler’s listeners do very well with this exercise.
Unpleasant sensations also improve our memory, for example those caused by contact with ice water. Psychologists from the University of Trier in Germany asked 50 people to dip their arms in very cold water.
The second group of fifty people were luckier, and their hands were soaked in warm water. The cold water raised the pulse and blood pressure of all participants, and for some it also increased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
When everybody was dry, they were given lists of words with different emotional tones to remember. It was also examined how much the respondent remembered from this list after one hour, and how many after one day.
For all, words with clear positive or negative overtones stuck in their memory (understand that emotionally charged information helps to remember) But those who were unlucky to hold their hands in icy water, remembered well even neutral words.
After all, what we need to remember for a test barely weighs heavily on us…
4. Get some rest
Sitting for hours reading a book when we try to remember something is not the best solution. It’s wiser to take breaks – but the point is, breaks should not be longer than study time.
According to learning process experts, the proportion of ideas in this case is 5:1, that’s, fifty minutes of learning and ten minutes of rest. When planning lessons, it should even be noted that it’s easiest to remember information from the start, and at the end of the lesson (this phenomenon is called the precedence effect and the freshness effect).
5. Create a story
“The human brain remembers pictures better than words” says Nishant Kasibhatlaworld champion in memorization (his achievements include remembering a 1944-digit number, in addition to the order of the cards in a shuffled deck and in one minute 50 seconds).
We know this from everyday experience: most of us remember faces better than the names of individuals we barely know.
Kasibhatla, like Szereszewski, remembers plenty of information thanks to visualization, which means imagining concepts, people or situations in the form of pictures. Ideally, these images should be emotional, sensual, funny and… colourful.
It has been proven experimentally, that we remember what we see in color photographs for much longer than what we see in black and white images. One of the fundamental techniques practiced in effective learning courses is the chain of association method.
It is based on the idea that in order to remember some information well, it must be transformed into images, actions, and emotions, for example by imagining a shopping list like the next episode of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”.
It’s good to exaggerate, fantasize, use comedic elements, and most significantly, you must make yourself the hero of the film. Let’s say we buy carrots, chicken, potatoes, mayonnaise, lettuce and toilet paper.
To remember this, we created a story like this: “You are climbing a steep wall. You’re out of breath, but you finally reach the top. There, you can see that you are standing on a giant carrot and suddenly a purple-green chicken carries you in its beak, over a large field of potatoes.
Then the sky clouded over, the day turned dark, and a heavy rain fell. Big drops of mayonnaise fall, the chicken releases you from its beak, and it lands on a large leaf of lettuce. The rain stopped, it slowly started to brighten, then someone scattered a rainbow of toilet paper in the sky.”
A story, which you can create!
6. Encryption of Information
Remembering dates is facilitated by a method called tabbing. This is a sort of code, where each digit is assigned an image – a symbol. To facilitate the task, you can use associations, for example, one candle, two swans, four chairs. These symbols should be well in your head.
To remember the date, you must create a story using the prearranged imaginary symbols.
7. Build a memory palace
Salomon Szereszewski is a synesthetic – his senses are muddled. “Every sound that reaches it has its own color, texture, and sometimes flavor (… j. Some words are “white and smooth” and others are “orange and sharp as an arrow” – writes Joshua Foer in the book “Moonwalking with Einstein The Art and Science of Memorizing Everything.”
Numbers also didn’t appear to her as mere mathematical symbols: the number one was seen as a proud person, and eight as an especially overweight woman. As a result, Szereszewski’s mind was stuffed with colourful and expressive images.
There were so many of them, that he was overwhelmed, and felt compelled to sort them out. To do this, he arranged them in his imagination in familiar places – the streets of Moscow and in apartments where he often visited.
One picture he left in the corridor near the mirror, another on a clothes hanger, and another on the table and chairs in the room. Walking there in his mind, he recalled what he had seen or heard.
In this way, intuitively, he applied an historical memorization technique, called the memory palace or travel method.
They were invented by the Greeks, and are described in textbooks of Roman rhetoric used, amongst others, by Cicero. Speakers in historical times did not necessarily read from scrolls or pieces of paper – they flaunted their rhetorical prowess from memory.
For this reason, the art of remembering – ars memorativa – has been perfected.
Today, thanks to historical techniques, it is simple to remember presentations, public speeches or the names of thirty colleagues of the new class (Themistocles, an Athenian politician, remembers in this way the names of 20,000 of his compatriots).
Thank you for reading this article on how to remember better while studying and I actually hope you take my advice into action.
I wish you good luck and that I hope that its content has been a good help to you.