We all forget things from to time. That’s normal. However, experiencing memory failure can be frustrating, and memory loss is nothing to take lightly. This is particularly serious when we study. We do not want to forget after reading. That just defeats the purpose of reading in the first place.
It is important to state first that Memory involves three stages: encoding, storage, and retrieval. Your brain encodes information when it perceives it and registers it. This information can then be stored for future retrieval. Memory failure occurs when any one of these three stages breaks down. Memory itself has been divided into various kinds, including sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory. If you want to store information indefinitely, it must go into your long-term memory. How can you put it there and improve your memory retention by extension? The following principles will help.
Cultivate an interest in the subject, and remind yourself of the reasons for learning it. As your own experience in life may tell you, when your emotions are involved, you enhance your memory.
Most memory failures actually represent failures in attention. What can help you to pay attention? Be interested and, where possible, take notes. Note-taking not only focuses on the mind but also enables a listener to review the material later.
When you do not understand teaching or concept, likely you will not remember them well, if at all. Understanding sheds light on the relationship between the parts, knitting them together to form a logical whole. For example, when a student of mechanics understands how an engine works, he will better remember details about the engine.
Recitation, or Verbalization
Repeating aloud what you want to remember will strengthen the neural connections. How so? First, saying the word forces you to pay close attention. Second, you may get immediate feedback from your teacher. And third, listening—even to yourself—calls into play other parts of your brain.
Make a mental picture of what you wish to remember. You might also find it helpful to draw it or map it out. Like verbalization, visualization makes use of different parts of your brain. The more senses you use, the deeper the information is embedded.
When learning something new, associate it with something you already know. Linking thoughts to memories already stored makes encoding and retrieving easier, the association serving as a cue. For example, to remember a person’s name, link it to some unusual feature of his appearance or to something else that will call the name to mind. The more humorous or absurd the association, the better the recall. In short, we need to think about the people and things we want to remember.
Allow time for the information to be processed, to soak in, as it were. One of the best ways to do this is to review what you have learned, perhaps by repeating it to someone else. In that way both of you will benefit—your memory will be reinforced and your friend will learn from you. For good reason, repetition has been called the mother of retention
Yes, you can train and improve your memory. As studies have shown, our memory is much like a muscle. The more we use it, the stronger it gets, even into old age.