Even the most organized students tend to forget stuff. And when you are forced to juggle a dozen deadlines at a time, you just can not afford any mishaps and slip-ups. Thus, for many college and university students, the problem of weak memory is a serious one.
You have probably heard that memory is a muscle. That is not exactly true. The inner workings of human memory are far more complex. You can’t just improve your ability to remember things by doing it as much as possible.
However, there are certain ways to help you memorize things. Here are some of the most common and efficient ways to keep in mind.
No Last-Minute Cramming
Cramming seems like a pretty logical concept at first glance. You dump all the information you need right before an exam, and the less time passes – the less likely you are to forget what you’ve just learned, right?
Well, actually, that’s not as simple as it looks. Upon closer analysis, you’ll realize that, in most cases, cramming has little to no benefits. And its effects are certainly very far from what a student might want.
Your short-term memory is usually not enough to house all the information you’d normally need for an exam. On the other hand, your long-term memory needs time to fully process the information you dump into it.
In the end, you are left with a blank mind right when you need to produce an answer you knew you read a couple of hours ago.
Studying right before an exam does yield some results. But only if you’ve been continuously going through your notes before. Repeating something over and over again, combined with some breathing spaces in between, is how it will work out for you.
Later, when you try to go through your notes right before an exam, you’ll realize you don’t really need it, as you already remember everything.
So instead of cramming, use your time more efficiently. Get a good night’s sleep, take a walk, get your mind off of the college problems. Responsible time management is the key to productivity. Writing a research paper is way easier when you don’t have to worry about a thousand more things that need to have been done yesterday.
Write It Down
This is the most obvious and straightforward solution. Create a schedule, organize your notes, write important information down. It will have an immediate effect. You’ll be able to recall anything you need just by taking a quick glance at your notes. But it’s not the only benefit you get from using this method of memorization.
Having a physical copy of the information to reference has a secondary function. Every time you write down something you want to remember, you stimulate different parts of your memory mechanism. You see that information on paper; you feel it being written down, you look at it in the context of dates and other events in your planner. This is how you keep track of pretty much everything.
Keep Your Health in Check
The direct connection between your health and memory might not be as obvious as with other methods listed here. But it does make a huge difference. Your mental capabilities and your physical health are interconnected.
Any health problems you might have – stress, anxiety, exhaustion, lack of focus – can directly influence your memory. Here are some things you should always try to take care of:
- Healthy diet
- Regular sleep schedule
- Regular physical exercises
- Stress level
If you are tired, not getting enough sleep, constantly worried about not turning assignments in on time, or not getting enough sustenance – a lot of things can go wrong. Your reaction time and energy levels may hit rock-bottom. Your focus span may shorten, and if you can’t properly receive information, you can’t commit it to memory for later use.
Improving one’s memory is a long process. It requires a lot of time and effort. There is no magic trick to obtaining a perfect recall. Using different techniques and mnemonic devices can certainly help you. But they won’t do all the work. There aren’t really any shortcuts when it comes to memory.
Another thing to consider is that the human mind works in mysterious ways. Things that might work for you might not be the ideal approach for someone else and vice versa.
Don’t give up on trying to be a better self if some techniques don’t have an immediate effect. Keep looking for different approaches; keep trying until you succeed. There are plenty of ways to the top; you’ll just have to find your own.