Ways of Memory

There are many “Ways of Memory”

Most students use only basic methods of memorization or rote memory. In this section you will learn a variety of other strategies.

Memory is an important part of Learning

 Learning is Understanding plus Memory. —Edwin Locke p. 60

Many students confuse understanding and memory. They say, I don’t need to memorize this. I already understand it. Others say, I don’t need to understand it, I’ll just memorize it.  Edwin Locke (Study Methods and Motivation) explains it this way:

To understand something means to grasp its meaning. … Memorization involves being able to pull material our of your subconscious mind…

Since understanding and memorizing are different operations, it is possible to do one without the other. Thus you can memorize or learn to recite … such as a poem or a definition without having any idea what the words mean. This is what people usually have in mind when they object to the practice of “rote memorization. …  Memory without meaning is useless unless you want to hire yourself out as a trained  parrot.                            –Edwin Locke p. 59

Bridgette says she spent hours studying for her history test but when she took her test, she realized she couldn’t remember anything. Sad teenaged girl has failed a test

“I knew it last night,” she said, “but this morning, I don’t know why, but  I couldn’t remember anything. I know I failed the test. I left half the questions blank. I have a terrible memory.

Many students make this claim. The reason they failed a test wasn’t because they didn’t study. It was because they have bad memories.

Does this describe you?

The real problem is NOT that you and Bridgette have terrible memories. You just need to learn how to use the wonderful memory you have.

If the only kind of memory you are using is rote memorization, then you need to learn about the many other kinds of memory.

What you need to know about memory

We remember information best when

1. We decide that we will remember

2. When we understand the concept

3. When we organize the information is different ways

4. When we learn a little at a time, not cramming too much into our brain at one time.

5. When we learn and use different strategies for remembering different kinds of information.

Remember: How quickly you get through reading material is not as important as how much of the material gets through to you!
— Harry Lorayne in Page a Minute Memory Book, p. 143.

This website describes five strategies to help you remember. You should learn them all and use them for different material. You should learn which strategies are best for you. You are also encouraged to combine several strategies for even better memory.

When students use different methods of learning and memory, the information is stored in different parts of your brain. This makes it easier to remember and gives you a multi-faceted memory.

1. Practical Memory

2. Rote Memory and Mnemonics

3. Remember with senses:   Use sight, hearing and movement to remember

4. Relational Memory

5. Scheduled Reviews

I would suggest that you begin with Practical memory. It deals with remembering where you put your cellphone or where your put your history book, remembering names, and other very basic information. It includes Three Secrets to Improving your Memory.


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