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What is Memory?

Memory refers to the ability to encode, store and retrieve information. Focusing intentionally on new material, and creating meaningful connections between new ideas, information, and existing knowledge really improves our learning and memory. It's also important to practice retrieving what we've learned, through strategies like self-testing, so we can access the information we need when we need to.

Image by Educ320 

The Forgetting Curve

Every time you review the information you learned, the forgetting curve is refreshed and gets less steep. Shorter, more frequent study sessions are more effective than one or two long, last-minute cramming sessions.

Sample Ongoing Review Schedule​

  • 1st  Review – Review your notes with the same day (or within 24hrs) and reduce notes to key words or a summary.
  • 2nd  Review – At the end of the week, look over everything you learned that week and connect that information with the material from the previous week​.
  • 3rd  Review - 2-3 weeks later, review and connect several weeks’ worth of material together.
  • Exam Review – Beginning at least 7-10 days prior to the exam, conduct daily review of sections of the material, and conduct an overall review during the last few days​.

Memorization Strategies

StrategyDescription Example
AssociationAssociate the concept that you are trying to memorize with an image, memory, or emotion that has meaning for you. Associate different concepts with different highlighter colors.
AcronymA word formed from the first letter(s) in a name or phrase​.SCUBA​ = Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus
AcrosticA sentence formed from the first letter(s) in a name or phrase. Science Classification System​ = Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Genus, Species
Acrostic = King Phil Came Over for the Genes Special
Rhyme / SongUse familiar rhymes, rhythms or songs to remember complicated material​.Alphabet song
Method of LociThink of a familiar location and in your mind, place the items/terms you want to remember, in different locations throughout this space. To remember a grocery list, imagine a tour around your house. Attach each item to a different room as you walk.

Additional Resources

Study Strategies that WORKLearning Skills Workshop