If memory serves you right, you may still remember what you had for breakfast even two weeks ago. However, not everyone has the luxury of a sharp memory. Students seem to comprise the largest group of people who constantly need an enhanced memory for good academic progress. An adult already possesses sufficient knowledge and information they need to go by day to day. Meanwhile, a student’s life is composed of learning, presentations, quizzes, and exams. They always need to pack information inside their head to pass classes, and it’s not easy when they juggle multiple classes each week.
Many students suffer memory problems and deficits in registering information regardless of how much they try to study. When you're writing a research paper, you have the luxury of notes and sources available to you for a quick look, but that's not the case when you take an exam. Students who have memory problems tend to struggle during exams and impromptu class recitations, especially with factual information like dates, formulas, or the common grammar rules to avoid mistakes. Sometimes no matter how much a student studies beforehand, they still have issues with keeping all the information in mind.
There are tricks, techniques, and tips you can follow if you are among the students who struggle with their memory. Enhancing your memory is essential to academic success, and it can be achieved. Although you struggle with receiving, processing, and retrieving information, that does not mean you should not at least try improving it.
Make notes while reading and learning
Underline or highlight important information when you are reading, or you can write them in a separate sheet. Create outlines and graphics when you write it down. When you have your readings in a separated and easy-to-read note, you can easily go over them multiple times and hopefully it will help you remember easily. You can also make use of the handouts prepared by your teacher or professor as they may be designed to help students understand their discussion easier.
Use acronyms or mnemonics
Mnemonics is an effective and fun way to memorize a set of words or information. One example is the mnemonic illustration of the order of planets from “Mercy, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto” to “My Very Excellent Method: Just So you Understand Nine Planets.” This is a simple but effective strategy when memorizing.
Over-learn newly obtained information
If you have trouble with your memory, then over-learning is a technique you should employ. Learning something by heart is not enough if you have memory deficits – you have to memorize something over and over again until it becomes indelibly instilled in your memory. The repetitive pattern will help your brain get used to the information you are trying to digest, and eventually it will remain in your memory easily.
Exercise and consume healthy food
A study shows cardio exercises help you sustain good memory. Exercise helps your brain remain sharp and it reduces stress hormones, improves mood, concentration, and alertness.
If exercise is partnered with nutrient-rich and brain food, like blueberries, walnuts, whole grains, fish, or olive oil, your memory will likely improve. Avoid eating junk foods and food abundant in saturated fats and trans fats as they are found to be bane for a student’s brain. Studies also show these kinds of food lower the body’s resistance to Alzheimer’s disease and other long-term cognitive conditions.
Improve your focus
Before you study, make sure you get rid of every possible disturbance or interruption. Put your phone on silent, let your family or roommates know you are studying, and get rid of any sign of noise. Students face many distractions every time they study and these hinder them from focusing entirely on the information they are trying to obtain. It is found that it’s easier for students to memorize and study when they pay close attention to it. It should help to find a study spot where you are far from any possible distractions.
Get enough sleep
Most students sacrifice sleep to pull an all-nighter for studying, however, this method is proven to be harmful for students. When your body and brain are tired, chances are your attempts to study and memorize information will be futile. Lack of sleep negatively affects memory and other cognitive abilities. At least seven to eight hours of sleep each night is advised for students to have a healthy and functioning brain.
Review materials before bed
Look over your notes before you hit the hay. Proper sleep after studying have positive effects to your memory, and it will help your ability to retain information. Aside from that, skimming through your notes as you attempt to fall asleep will likely help you with that goal because most of us seem to feel sleepier when they are studying.
Study through visual and verbal formats
If you do not think it’s effective to just reading and looking at your notes, try reading them out loud. This way, hearing the information being said might be able to help you process the information with less restraints. There are different effects of understanding and reading information from simply reading to reading it out loud. Either of the two might help improve your memory.
Keep in touch with your social network
Studies show that having friends have cognitive benefits. Go online and reach out to group chats or individual friends, get updated with their life as you let them know about yours. Somehow, exercising your brain to remember details about your friends will also help improve your memory when it comes to studying and retaining academic information.
Avoid stressing yourself
Chronic stress harms brain cells and damages the hippocampus, the part of the brain which helps form new memories and retrieval of old ones. Stress is linked to memory loss, according to some studies. To avoid stress, you must look for ways to have fun and have a laugh. Surround yourself with people who will help lighten up your mood and give you a good time. Always take breaks and set a healthy balance between studying and leisure time.
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