How to Improve Your Memory Power – 7 Effective Techniques

brainWhen I was an undergraduate student, I had to take 5 classes in a foreign language to complete my degree.

I took classes in Spanish, classical Latin, and ancient Greek to fulfill my requirement – and needless to say – I’m glad that’s over with.

I’ve literally spent hundreds of hours memorizing verb conjugations. And I’ve probably killed many trees with all the note cards I’ve used up.

The more I memorized, the easier it became – not because I was getting smarter – but simply because my brain was used to memorizing a lot of information every single day.

Pretty soon I was able to memorize stacks of vocabulary cards very quickly. It just took practice, and anyone can do it.

Here are some of the strategies I used to help me memorize my vocabulary terms and conjugation rules quickly:

Make Creative Associations
When I was memorizing a new word or grammar rule, I tried to develop a fun way to make it stick. The more outlandish the association, the better it would stick. For example, let’s say that I had to remember that word “domus” is Latin for home. I would simply imagine a huge dome hanging over moose. (The classical Latin pronunciation sounds like “Dome-oose.”) That association would help me remember the word easily. I know this sound simplistic, but it really works. I would sometimes draw out fun associations on the back of my vocabulary note cards to really make these bizarre associations remembered.

Break-up Your Study Time
Our brains tend to remember less the longer we study. That’s why it’s often easier for us to remember the beginning and end of a lecture than all the details in between. So I found that by studying in short one hour stints helped me remember more. Everyone is different, so find out what amount of study time is perfect for you. You might find that you can memorize more in three one-hour sessions than one four-hour session.

Use Your Mind and Body
Sitting at a desk staring at some grammar rules might work for some people, but I always learned quicker by actively doing something with the information. I would draw association pictures or read my book aloud to help make things more permanent in my mind. I also found that studying note cards while walking around campus was a way to keep myself energized and focused.

Repeat What You Need to Know
One way to help something stick in your mind is to recite it to yourself. Read it aloud to yourself – and then read it again. The key here is to saturate your mind with the content in every way possible. One fun way to do this is to imagine your vocabulary cards or textbook being read by someone you think is funny. Imagine your textbook being read by Jon Stewart. It will at least keep things a bit more interesting.

Reduce the Noise

Some people study well listening to music. It really depends on the subject matter. However, if you find yourself drifting off, or focusing on the words of the song, it’s probably best to dismiss the music for a while. If you enjoy music, listen to some classical music or some other music that helps you focus. You basically want to situate yourself in a place with the least amount of noise interference.

Stay Positive (if possible)
You’ll remember far more information about a subject if you try to find it interesting. If you think the topic is boring and useless, than you’re going to make memorization that much harder. Look for some sort of connection on how the subject you need to learn about fits in with your life.

Study When You’re Most Productive
Everyone has their best study time, and often it’s during the daytime. There’s just something about memorizing and studying when it’s daytime that can keep you more motivated and more focused. I find that I’m most productive during the early morning. I often go to a coffee shop around 6:30 a.m. and just drink coffee while I write and study. Find your best time to study and keep on that schedule. It will do wonders for your memory power.

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8 Responses to “How to Improve Your Memory Power – 7 Effective Techniques”

  1. […] Mikhail Emelianov wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptHowever, if you find yourself drifting off, or focusing on the words of the song, it’s probably best to dismiss the music for a while. If you enjoy music, listen to some classical music or some other music that helps you focus. … […]

  2. […] almost everyone would like to have is a better memory and the ability to learn foreign languages. Student Hacks tells how to develop […]

  3. I’ve taken classes in Spanish, French, Latin and Italian. One trick I found useful for cramming was creating vocab lists in Excel. You type the foreign language in the 1st column, English in the 2nd. While you’re typing, try to think of the word in a sentence and visualise the scene. Then convert the text in the foreign column to white so it’s invisible, and use the English to test yourself in column 3. Once that’s done, make the foreign text black again and correct, highlighting the English text of wrong answers in red. Then repeat: whiten foreign side, test the whole list again and correct til there’s no red left. Saves trees! I found that it’d only take me 2-3 repeats to get rid of the red. The tedium of going through the whole list several times was a strong motivator to remember!

    To make the language really stick, take out your vocab list and try to use as many new words as possible when you’re doing writing exercises, and speak the sentences aloud. That way you’ll get accustomed to using the words in context. Creative associations work for the memorisation stage, but the extra mental step isn’t practical if you want expressive fluency. A better way is to make meaningful connections – domus and domestic, for example. Or say the foreign word in your head when you’re thinking about it in English or see the object.

    Verb patterns have to become second nature, and they’re not hard once you get the hang of them (at least in Romance languages). Repetition repetition repetition was the key for me- I used to recite irregular verbs in my head while doing laps at the pool! Again you need to use them in context, so try making sentences and imagining the actions with the relevant number of people eg. “nosotros cantamos” – imagine you and some friends singing.

  4. […] Improve Your Memory Power – 7 Effective Techniques  […]

  5. […] Improve Your Memory Power with These 7 Effective Strategies […]

  6. Tips above given is very usefull..
    thank you
    4 that….

  7. im the type who finds it very difficult to concentrate on my sitting for a major exam this year and i really fear of getting bad grades.i hope that these tips will be helpfull for a beginner like me.

  8. […] How to Improve Your Memory Power – 7 Effective Techniques […]