Use some of these tips to help improve your memory for test taking, discussion and general knowledge.
Memory can accept only one source of information at a time. Try to focus only on the thing you need to remember.
Understanding is key to remembering. Question yourself and the material to be sure you understand.
Use imaging. Make up an image that has the information you will need. Unusual images are fine and often easier to remember -- a comic strip, a billboard, or a "photo" of the items you need to remember. A tomcat in a suit, holding a can of ginger ale and a scoop of Breyers ice cream could help you remember the last four Supreme Court appointees (Souter, Thomas, Ginsburg and Breyer).
Use acronyms and mnemonics to help you remember lists.
- HOMES = Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior (The Great Lakes)
- Every good body deserves fudge=the names of the lines on a treble staff in music.
- Create your own! "Why are jokes more meaningful after January?" could be the first seven presidents (Washington, John Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Jackson).
Create rhymes, rhythms or songs. Say them over and over so you can recall the rhyme on demand. Move to it, beat the rhythm, chant it, sing it!
Create visual maps or diagrams in color and keep it where you will notice. Then, notice it. Or put bits of information on color-coded index cards and arrange in a logical order. Look at each card frequently, noting its relationship to others. Gather the cards. Recite each, placing them back in position on the board.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Practice. Practice. Practice. Transferring information from short term memory to long term memory requires repetition.
In addition to practicing the material to place it in your memory, practice recalling the information. Answer old test questions or questions you make up. Review often.
Involve all learning styles. Create a visual picture, listen to the information, involve movement and touch. Be sure to hit on your favored learning style every time you work at committing something to memory.