Tips from the Science of Memory-for Studying and for Life


Tipsfrom the Science of Memory-for Studying and for Life




Thereare different ways in which a student can apply the know-how ofmemory to improve his academic performance as well as his life. Astudent can utilize his memory by thinking on most essentials thingsof life and securing them in mind (Dehn, 2013). In memorizing ofthese material things of life, one must consider four criticalelements namely organizing, encoding, rehearsing and retrieving ofcourse content. Organizing is an important element before undertakingthe memory process. It helps in making sure that information analyzedis accurate and organized. The clues for organizing include havingcomplete information and reviewing them regularly (Dudai et al.,2010).

Theother important element to consider is encoding. It is the process ofarranging data in ways that they will be remembered easily. Memory isreferred as a physical being and Students need to put more effort toconvert memory into something that will help improve on theirperformances. Some of the tips include concentrating and processingthe points deeply (Dudai et al., 2010). Most of the students encodeinformation through picturing them. It is believed that creating avisual image that corresponds to the materials learned instead ofrepeating words is best for memory. Having visual clues on the memorybank assists a student recall. The other important clue in encodingis to learn events. A fact can appear shallow thus making itchallenging. As a result, to better memorize, a student should tryand understand the meanings by summarizing them in short notes (Dudaiet al., 2010). Further, it is better to find a connection byreviewing the facts. For instance, when studying about historicalinformation, the student should analyze all the events that tookplace and draw a link between these events.

Rehearsingis another important technique. The method of repeating assists insolidifying the information gained. Relating what students learn withdaily life experiences helps memorize the course materials. The cluesto rehearsing include attempting exercises and rewriting the notes(Dehn, 2013). Group discussions enhance the memorizing process.Further, students should ask themselves different questionsconcerning the topic they are reading, the meaning and definitions ofkey words. Memory rehearsal occurs in two types namely themaintenance and elaborative rehearsal. Maintenance rehearsal helpsmaintain short-term memory (Dehn, 2013). It is repeating learnedmaterials without paying attention to their meanings or connections.The second type is the elaborative rehearsal. It stores informationfor a long time. It involves analyzing the meaning and elaborating onlearned materials.

Retrievingis also crucial to improving academic performance, as well as life.Retrieving helps students during exams to recall all that they havelearned. The tips at this stage include using retrieval clues to getthe encoded information (Baine, 2010). Students need to retrievelearned materials from their memory so as to answer exam questions.Different cues are used and have and impact on how the materials areretrieved. The first cue is recalling. The student can accessinformation without being cued. The other cue is recollection. Itinvolves reconstructing the memory and utilizing narratives andlogical structures. Further, there is recognition. It involvesidentifying materials after experiencing them for the second time.Also, Relearning helps extract information from the extended memory.It is relearning information previously learned. It makes it easierto remember and retrieve data in the future as well as improve thememory strength (Baine, 2010).


Mostof the students are with the assumption that being a good studentmeans showing up for classes, reading, taking notes and studying hardduring exams. However, like other activities, learning involvescomplex sets of skills that need practice (Dudai et al., 2010). Forinstance, to be a good basketball player one must learn how torebound, pass, dribble and be a team player among others. Practicehelps improve these skills. Similarly, learning requires skills liketaking notes and tests among others that must be practiced to becomean exceptional student.

InMay 2, 2009, Dr. Kenneth Higbee a professor of psychology developedfive strategies that would help students develop on their academicperformance through study skills and retention of the material. Thestrategies are well elaborated in his book “YourMemory: How the Memory works and How to improve it.”He refers them as the best strategies for effective learning (Higbee,2009). According to Dr. Higbee, one of the approaches that learnersshould adapt includes reducing interference. It occurred wheninformation learned interferes with similar new materials causingconfusion previously.

Thestrategies that learners should use to reduce interference includeover learning the material. Dr. Higbee stated that the better astudent understands the material, the less likely that interferencewill occur. The other strategy is making the material meaningful andminimizing intervening activities. Further, he explained thatstudying similar subjects together will lead to interference.Studying different subjects in different classes will minimizeinterference (Higbee, 2009).

Theother strategy that Dr. Higbee recommended to improve studying skillsand material retention is spacing out for particular issues. Breakingthe contents of subjects into multiple and separate sessions enhancesmemory for these materials (Higbee, 2009). Time budgeting is thefactor considered mostly. Studying ahead of time is important, andthere are different advantages of spaced learning including limitingattention to materials and consolidation during breaks.

Thethird best study skill is to know when to break up the material. Theoptions include at this stage include whole method with extrastudying of chapters. A student uses the method to grasp the materialthrough carefully reading everything. The other option is a wholepart whole process. A learner reads the documents quickly and breaksit into logical parts and analyses them separately (Higbee, 2009).The last option is progressive part way. It involves dividing thematerials into sections and reading them part by part.

Recitationis also another recommended study skill. A student says back tohimself the information learned. Dr. Higbee urges that a studentshould look away from the materials learned and remember the factslearned (Higbee, 2009). Failure to remember means that a studentshould re-read it. One of the ways a student can do recitation isthrough repeating the information out loud. Reading is considered thebest study skills as it encourages one to do other important tasksthat help memory such as active learning, feedback and concentration.

Thelast study skill developed by Dr. Higbee is using survey system(Higbee, 2009). It is the oldest and best education system. Thesystem includes survey, Question, Read, Recite and Review. Surveyentails similar concept applied in whole learning. After survey, astudent needs to go through the materials and ask himself questionsregarding the topics. After questioning the learner, should now readthe paragraphs in details. Reciting involves answering from memory.The last research system is review. A student should recite hisarticles regularly. The more times a student discuss his work, thebetter he is likely to remember his materials (Higbee, 2009).


Outlineof the study plan to use when preparing for upcoming midterm exam.

  1. Test Preparation

  1. Organizing information

  2. Encoding materials

  3. Rehearsing

  4. Retrieving

  1. Learning Strategies

  1. Reduce interference

  2. Spacing out

  3. Break up materials

  4. Recitation

  5. Study systems

  1. Testing strategies &amp Study skills

  1. Visual

  • Recall information from notes

  • Draw diagrams

  • Practice turns visuals to test questions

  1. Auditory

  • Speak answers to yourself

  • Spend time alone recalling answers

  1. Read/Write

  • Write formulas before starting the exam

  • Identify key terms

  • Use practice test questions

  1. Reducing Test Anxiety

  1. Plan

  • What you need to study

  • When to study

  • Match the study to test formats and learning styles

  1. Do

  • Get enough sleep &amp Eat healthy

  • Positive self-talk

  1. Don’t

  • Over study

  • Study till the last minute

  1. Some final tips

  1. Day before exam

  • Recite the materials

  • Review the materials

  • Gather enough materials for the exam

Onepage Summary

Thehuman mind acts as a retention for information. The three mainprocesses involved in memory include encoding that helps get acquiredmaterials into storage, the storage that assist in retaininginformation over time and retrieval that involves taking the learnedmaterials from the memory (Dehn, 2013). The memory encoding requiresselective attention. It is proven scientifically that dividedattention influences the mind negatively. The theory of stages ofprocessing states that information is processed from physicalfeatures to intermediate and finally to meaning of the information.Analyzing information improves a better memory. Elaborating learnedmaterials in an extensive way enhances better memory (Baine, 2010).Further, Use of imagery and mental pictures significantly improvesmemory.

TheAtkinson Shiffrin theory illustrates memory storage in three levels.The first level is a visual memory. It contains ideas for an instant(Baine, 2010). The visual memory holds information for less than asecond while the auditory sensory memory retains information for lessthan a minute. The other memory storage level is Short term memory.It is limited to the capacity whereby information is retained for 30seconds. The best solutions to short term memory are throughrehearsal and chunking. A working memory comprises of threecomponents namely the central executive, the phonological loop and avisual-spatial memory (Dudai et al., 2010).

Thelast memory storage level is a long-term memory. It is permanent andholds information for an extended time. It occurs in two typesimplicit and explicit memory. Implicit affects behavior throughexperiences that are consciously recollected while explicit mind is aconscious recollection of data in particular events.

Informationretrieval is easier if useful tips are used. The encoding specificityprinciple states that information that was present while learningacts as a retrieval cue. It also benefits from priming that assist inactivating certain connections in the memory (Dudai et al., 2010).The most effective encoding strategies when studying are such asreducing distraction and paying attention. A student shouldunderstand the materials and take notes. Research concludes that thebest way to remembering materials is relating them to differentaspects of life experiences. Self-defining memories give a uniquesource identity.


Topof Form

Baine,D. (2010). Memoryand instruction.Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Educational Technology Publications.

Dehn,M. J. (2013). Workingmemory and academic learning: Assessment and intervention. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.

Dudai,Y., Roediger, H. L., &amp Fitzpatrick, S. M. (2010). Scienceof memory: Concepts.London: Oxford University Press.

Higbee,K. L. (2009). Yourmemory: How it works and how to improve it.Cambridge, MA: Da Capo.