Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Improve your memory (part 2)

Processing information can help us memorise it. But there are other ways to help you remember information too.

One of the problems we often have with memory is that we often focus on shoving more information into our heads, and don't spend enough time practising recalling it. So help yourself to remember information by retrieving it after you have tried to memorise it.

Let's take an example: Trying to remember someone's name. When you get introduced to them, you should say their name out loud immediately, perhaps 'Good to meet you Jane' or 'Hello David, I'm Rob.' Then try to use their name within the next 30 seconds: 'How long have you worked here Jane?' And again within the next 30 minutes: 'That's a good point Jane.' If you want to remember their name for the next time you meet them, practise recalling their name at the end of the day. Try to picture in your mind's eye the meeting room and then speak out loud the names of the people you met there. The more you practise dragging someone's name out from your memory, the better your chances will be of remembering it for months and years to come.

The same goes for trying to learn information for an exam. If you have crammed information into your brain in the morning, try writing it out again in the afternoon. Then look back at your notes and review what you missed out or got wrong. Then do the same the next day. Perhaps leave it a few days, then do it again.

In memorising information - whether it is names or your studies - focus not only on inputting information, but also its retrieval.