First barrier to overcome when you are into memory improvement is the change the limiting belief “I can’t learn that much” or “I have a poor memory”. Whenever we see a huge pile of books to be learned, our first response will be “I can’t do that”, and it is an automatic response!” In fact we have said it over and over, and in course of time it became automatic. This single negative thought is discouraging and will pull away from books. If you have to learn something, you must at least try it, right? The habit of negative self-talk can be replaced with an optimistic and positive self-talk.
By doing this you’ll have better self-confidence and you’ll develop a positive mental attitude towards learning. The best ways to do this is using positive affirmations and self-hypnosis.
Before moving into actual memory improvement techniques, a brief note about what memory actually is. Let us skip the biological part now. We recall things by their associates. You can remember any new information if you associate to anything you already know or remember. Any kind of associations will work, but more clearer and interesting kind of associations will result in a better trace in the brain and hence the memory will last fore many years. An important factor which makes these associations stronger is emotions. Positive emotions like lobe, joy, excitement etc tents to boost your memory. Extreme negative emotions also serve as a catalyst for memory, but it is not advised to use them for ordinary learning purposes.
Traditional memory improvement techniques like link system, peg system, Roman room methods are not discussed here. Also techniques for memorizing faces, jokes, grocery list are also not discussed here because students don’t need to remember these items for improving their academic performance.
Sharper memory needs tow factors, a stronger initial impression and an efficient retrieval mechanism. Let’s discuss the first one, making a stronger initial impression in brain about the learning material. Visualization is a great method for a strong first impression. Visualize what you are learning about. See the images and hear the sounds. If the learning material consists of highly technical and unimaginable data like equations or numerical quantities then try mind mapping. You will be amazed with the result of using mind mapping. If possible try to find visual aids like physical models, actual object or animations in your topic.
Find study partners, and try to learn together as much as possible. Studying with another person will serves you in the following ways.
1. You will be more active in your study than learning alone.
2. Positive emotions like commitment and happiness.
3. You remember more what you teach.
4. Learning in a positive environment (Cheerful and happy).
But beware. Only chose study partners that you can cop with. Your study partner pace of learning should be near to you and learning styles should not be opposite of yours.
The key to memory improvement is to increase the number and variety of your mental associations. As said earlier we learn anything by associating it to something we already know. So to study something we should have a least prior knowledge of it. In this way you can built up on memory. This is like having a proper foundation before building a house. Try to acquire some basic knowledge about the subject before you commit to learn it thoroughly. Without proper basics, sentences are mere collection of worlds without any meaning, i.e. you cannot understand its meaning.
As a matter of fact retention decreases with the passage of time. For proper retrieval of information it should be reviewed at proper intervals
Now let’s discuss the second factor for a sharper memory, efficient retrieval of data. An information can be remembered easily when it is stored in a categorized way even if it doesn’t have a strong impression in your brain. The key is association. We can trace information back to original by thinking of any other information which is closely related to it. This is very important. You may have encountered a situation in which you mind goes blank when thinking about a particular answer to a question while you are in the middle of an exam. The worst thing is you know that you know the answer and you can’t remember it. This is a very frustrating situation. Here never waste your time and energy by dwelling too much time on it and wishing to remember. Instead try to remember anything which is associated or related to the topic. Then you’ll remember the missing link and remember the whole answer.
There are also various other memory improvement tactics. They are discussed through out this website. The sole website is about accelerated learning. Learning and memory are inseparable, so all accelerated learning techniques will some how improve you memory. If you want to know more about traditional memory improvement techniques, please browse this website and you’ll find detailed explanations and steps of execution for each mnemonic technique.
Some motor skills can be developed by oneself like typing, dancing, playing a ball game. Practicing these motor skills does not pose any risks but except some motor skills like typing, dancing other motor skills involve some kind of risk involving them, like in the case of driving, diving, paragliding etc. You should need some professional guidance to study those skills that involve some kind of danger.
Typing is an excellent skill that you can develop by yourself. All you need is a computer and touch typing software. Fortunately many typing tutorial softwares are available free online. By practicing only 30 minutes a day for 30 days you can improve your typing speed about eight times. Additional benefits are
1. You don’t have to search for keys in the keyboard
2. Less strain to eyes because you don’t have to look back and forth between the screen and keyboard
3. You can think about what you are typing
4. And of course you can save a lot of time!
One important factor in learning motor skills is the spacing between learning sessions. For example, you cannot learn driving by practicing driving 8hrs in one day, but the results will be much better if you pass some time between the learning sessions. Say sixteen 30 minute session. In this case the time duration is the same 8hrs but the results will be much better in the latter case.
Interference while learning a skill should be avoided. Thus one should avoid taking a karate class and Tae Kwon Do class simultaneously. You can learn one skill and become good on it, and then you can move to the next. When you try to learn two motor skills at the same time period the movements become interfered and it will take more time to master both skills. Instead you can master one type of skills and then move to learning a similar type of skill, this way you can learning more fast and it will be simple to learn that skill.
Master the basics first before you go to advanced steps. We cannot do a bike stunt just after you learned how to balance a bike. Developing a motor skill need some time, patience and practice. In martial arts you can see even the black belts will be practicing the basic moves like punches and blocks. When practicing typing you only start with eight keys of the home row (ASDFJKL;). When learning a musical instrument you should learn how to play the basic tones and tunes. Even if you learned advanced techniques without perfecting your basic techniques, then it won’t be of much use. Think it in this way, you try to jump higher when you don’t properly know how to balance and stand up. What will happen? You’ll fall every time when to try jumping, hurting yourself.
Many people have a wrong attitude about failing many times before succeeding. After failing many times they’ll say ‘This is it!’ and stop trying. They don’t realize that failing each time is a great lesson for them. Even if they consciously don’t know their brain is learning at a rapid rate. To be more precise the learning rate is higher when the impact of failure is very high. Imagine the situation, you see a small child going to touch boiling water. You say to the child “Don’t touch the boiling water, you’ll get a burn”. He may stop by hearing this, but the next time the child experiences the same situation, he’ll not remember what you said last time. This is because he doesn’t know how painful the experience will be. In other words, he doesn’t have a reference point in his life about burning. Once the child has a painful experience of burning, the next time he’ll avoid the danger again, even if the pain he experienced is minor. The same is true for you in learning motor skills. You can learn from your mistakes. It shouldn’t have to be a major mistake. But mistakes that will endanger yours or others safety should be avoided in any cost. For example you cannot take chances by learning driving in a crowded city street. The activities that have risks in it should be learned under professional supervision. The important thing to keep in mind is this. It doesn’t matter how many times an average baby try and falls before he or she finally walks. The most important factor in learning is the right attitude towards learning.
2. Learn with a clear mind. Be relaxed when you are learning. You can learn more when you are in a relaxed state of mind. Deep breathing is a way for relaxation of mind. Try to take at least five slow deep breaths before you begin learning. This will dramatically improve your brain's absorbing power.
3. Make learning an active process. Instead of mere reading of material, make learning more active by taking notes, memorizing, teaching someone etc.
4. Summarize what you have read in your own words. Make a short note on it. Ask some questions based on what you have read and try to answer those questions.
5. Use your imagination. Imagination keeps you interested in learning and improve retention. Visualize what you are reading about. Make these mental picture more vivid and clear. The more clear, the image the chances are high that you will remember the information on required time.
6. Be truly focused. When you take in the information you must fully attend to what you are doing. How much time you study does not matter most, but what matters is that how efficiently you study in that time. Be where you are.
7. Take short breaks. Take short breaks to refresh your mind. Walk around, drink some water in the break time. This will restore your attention. A five minute break for every twenty five minutes is a good guideline.
8. Review: Everyday start by reviewing the main points you have learnt the previous day. Review helps to move an information from your short term memory to long term memory.
9. Sleep well: Good sleeping habits can aid memory. Try to get at least six hours of sleep. This time varies according to each individual.
10. Exercise daily: Regular exercise can improve concentration and thus the learning capacity. Besides regular exercise will boost your self esteem and self confidence.
11. Stay away from distractions. Your learning environment should be calm and positive. Stay away from distractions such as television, computer games, radio, telephone etc. It is often helpful to study in a library.
12. Don't Procrastinate. Study it on the available time even if it is not urgent. Set clear goals and start studying. Once you have started studying, never rearrange the learning session. Procrastinating studying will decrease the zeal and interest to study those things. The only time completely in our control in now.
Let’s see how mind mapping was developed. In late 1960s Tony Buzan, who later became the founder of mind mapping looked for an efficient way of making notes. He discovered that note makers and geniuses like Mark Twain and DaVinci followed a non linear type of making notes. Other characteristic of efficient note makers is that they print their keywords for better readability.
Mind maps Vs Linear notes
The disadvantage of traditional linear type of not making is that they restrict our free flow of ideas and imagination. For example when we follow a linear note making style, if we want to add a new point under section 1 when you already finished section 1 and entered section2, then the notes will become messy. In real world, this often happens because it’s the way our brain works. As this problem becomes more and more our primary aim becomes to restrict the free flow of ideas to make the notes near or to avoid rewriting of notes.
The major problem in linear note taking is that it disregards half of our brain. As we all know brain consists of two hemispheres, right and left. The left brain accounts for our logical problem solving and linear thinking while the right brain thinks in a non-linear, visual and creative style. In traditional not taking, we exploits only the ability of our left brain and the ability of our right brain is mostly wasted. Half a brain is a terrible thing to lose! The mind mapping makes uses of both right and left hemispheres of brain thus utilizing the full potential of brain.
How to make mind maps?
Start with a fresh sheet or a fresh page in a book. In the middle of the paper draw a picture of symbol representing your topic. In the middle of the paper draw a picture or symbol representing your topic. For example if your topic is computers draw a small picture of it at the centre. You don’t need to draw a perfect picture; a rough picture will give you the fill benefits. This picture serves as the home base of all your associations about the topic. Why use pictures? Picture/symbols are more easily processed in our brain than text. But his is not an iron rule. If your topic is something like independence, democracy you may not find a suitable picture of symbol to represent it. If you do its good but if you don’t just print the topic in capital letters at the centre of the paper. Give some emphasis to the world/phrase like drawing a circle or box around it or thickening the fonts.
Next step is to expand the topic. Print eh ideas that come to your mind around the central picture and connect it with arrows of lines. Expand the subtopics like this and connect it. The resulting picture will be web like structure of interconnections. Expand the ideas further and further. If you want more paper add it. One important thing in making mind maps is that the ideas should not be censored like in traditional not taking. Stop when you are satisfied with your mind map.
Try to include more pictures and figures in your mind map. You can use different color to add emphasis. The reason which the mind maps are so effective is because it will enable you to see new connections between the keywords of different branches which otherwise you will not notice. As new associations are formed you’ll understand the topic better and this will led to another ideas. These associations will also give you better imprint in your brain
Mind maps can be created for different purposes. For students, mind maps will be accelerator for their learning procedure. If you are a student, make mind maps when you study your next essay and notice the difference. Creating mind maps will imprint a better impression in your brain. But the most impressive part is at the time of review. Mind map saves a lot of time during the review. All your key points will be in your mind map. Mind map serves you as a will organized and structured type of notes.
Mind mapping is a skill that should be learned of life. It will be useful for you not only in the case of studying academic stuff but also in numerous other fields including brain storming. Unlike most other things you experiment with, you can see excellent improvement in your retention from your first mind map itself. So please try making a mind map at least once in your life, reap the benefits and do it today itself!