Techniques To Improve Your Memory

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Educators, life skills teachers, and psychologists have filled volumes of books on the techniques used to improve memory. They have rightly correlated successful information storage and retrieval methods with academic excellence, as there are few if any disciplines that don't reward outstanding memory capabilities. They have also devoted countless hours to determining whether memory is more a function of nature or of nurture.

The general conclusion is that while some students seem naturally blessed with superior memories, one's retentive skills may also be improved--and dramatically, at that. These studies indicate that improving memory involves a combination of mastering new techniques and consistent practice. It's not enough simply to commit oneself to remembering more; rather, one must internalize the methods taught by learning and memory specialists in order to use them when the occasion arises.

Mnemonics and Memory

Mnemonic devices are a widely agreed-upon method of storing copious amounts of new information. In short, a mnemonic device is any system that helps individuals retrieve info, usually through the use of patterns, rhyme schemes, or acronyms. Mnemonic devices create a familiar context for wholly new data that otherwise seems random or disorganized.

A beginning guitar student may have no method for remembering the descending order of "open" notes on a six-string guitar. The pattern E-A-D-G-B-E is one that's not easily "coded" without a mnemonic device such as the phrase "Every Army Denounces God Before Encounter." If this saying fails to stick for whatever reason, students are invited to concoct their own mnemonics, no matter how silly they may sound. The goal is to remember the information using whatever method works best for the individual student.

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