Memory Skills to Make Finals a Breeze

by Julie Baird on June 2, 2010

With so many heading for finals in the next few weeks I wanted to share some tips on memory skills this week. Rather than write my own article on this subject I decided to share a simple website created by Dr. Carolyn Hopper, Learning Strategies Coordinator for the University Seminar at Middle Tennessee State University.

She shares 4 Memory skills Principles as well as some things you can do to promote each.

Her 4 Memory Principles are:

1. Making an Effort To Remember

  • Interest – The brain prioritizes by meaning, value and relevance. To have meaning, you must understand what you are learning. In order to remember something thoroughly, you must be interested in it and think that it has value and relevance in your life.
  • Intent to remember – Your attitude has much to do with whether you remember something or not. A key factor to remembering is having a positive attitude that you get it right the first time. Attention is not the same as learning, but little learning takes place without attention.
  • Basic Background – Your understanding of new materials depends on what you already know that you can connect it to. The more you increase your basic knowledge, the easier it is to build new knowledge on this background.

2. Controlling the Amount and Form

  • Selectivity – You must determine what is most important and select those parts to begin the process of studying and learning.
  • Meaningful Organization – You can learn and remember better if you can group ideas into some sort of meaningful categories or groups

3. Strengthening Neural Connections

  • Recitation – Saying ideas aloud in your own words strengthens synaptic connections and gives you immediate feedback. The more feedback you get, the faster and more accurate your learning.
  • Visualization – The brain’s quickest and probably the longest-lasting response is to images. By making a mental picture, you use an entirely different part of the brain than you did by reading or listening.
  • Association – Memory is increased when facts to be learned are consciously associated with something familiar to you. Memory is essentially formed by making neural connections. Begin by asking, “What is this like that I already know and understand?”.

4. Allowing Time To Solidify Pathways

  • Consolidation – Your brain must have time for new information to establish and solidify a neuronal pathway. When you make a list or review your notes right after class, you are using the principle of consolidation Distributed Practice – A series of shorter study sessions  distributed over several days is preferable to fewer but longer study sessions.

Check out ways of strengthening your skills in each of these areas at http://frank.mtsu.edu/~studskl/mem.html

If you or your child are struggling to control your time and get the results you know you are capable of then it is time to take action.  The Focused Time Management System TM
for Students
avoids all the clutter and gives you the most important things to focus on to get you back in control of your time and your life. It’s all step by step, not a big mish mash of things. So you do step one of the system, and when you’re done with that, you move on to step two, and so on. So easy!  All the tips, tools, and worksheets are handed to you on a silver platter.  E mail me at Julie@thegradecoach.com to arrange a time to chat over your issues and see if I can help.

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