How to increase my memory
by Bhanu Pratap Singh
(Alwar City, India)
I am a student of B.Tech. 3rd semester. My memory is weak so I can learn an answer in 3 to 4 times and after sometime I forgot the answer. I am very conscious about it and I want to improve my memory so please tell me some tips by which I increase my memory.
Doug's Reply. The secret to a better memory is to learn memorization techniques. These techniques create "hooks" in your memory by which you can retrieve the information.
As memory expert Dr. Kenneth Higbee says,
The capacity of your memory is a function of the memory techniques you use more than any innate differences in memory ability.
According to scientists, everything we learn and experience during our lives is recorded permanently in our memories. The trick is learning how to access the information when we need it.
All the memory techniques (also called "memory systems") that you need are described for free on my website. Examples include:
- Face-Name. Used to memorize people's names.
- Peg Method. For memorizing short lists.
- Journey Method. For memorizing very long lists.
- Keyword Method. Useful for memorizing vocabulary words and definitions.
- Phonetic Number Method. For memorizing math formulas, numbers, etc.
These methods take advantage of a simple truth about the brain: it is usually easier to recall an image than an abstract fact.
For instance, you may find it easier to picture the face of someone you met recently than to remember their name. Or you might be able to visualize places you've visited in the past but not remember place names and other details.
The trick, then, is to convert the abstract information (names, dates, numbers, and so on) into easily remembered images. These images act as handles for grasping and retrieving the details already in your memory. The method used to create these images is known as Visualization-Association.
Consider a filing cabinet. A well-organized filing cabinet has a label on the outside of each drawer. The files in the drawers have clear labels, too, and may even be in alphabetical order. Finding what you are looking for is easy, because the labels tell you exactly where to look.
Contrast that with a jumbled, disorganized filing cabinet. Files aren't labeled properly, documents are in the wrong folders, etc. It is very difficult to find what you are looking for, because the visual handles you need to locate the material are missing.
Using Visualization-Association as you study is equivalent to carefully labeling the documents and file folders in a filing cabinet. The images you create are much easier to recall than the abstract facts. When you recall an image, it reminds you of the fact.
I can't emphasize enough how powerful this is. So the first thing you need to do is go the Memory Systems section of my website and read about the various techniques. Begin to practice visualization-association and the specific memory techniques that use it.
If you prefer to read a book on the subject, I highly recommend The Memory Book
by Harry Lorayne. He has spent years teaching and popularizing visualization-association and related methods.
There are no quick-fixes for improving your memory. It requires a certain amount of work. Success with memory techniques is directly related to how well you understand them and how much your practice them. Is it worth the effort to have a better memory? You will have to decide.
Don't give up on your brain. As you learn memory techniques, you may discover that the way
you have studied in the past is the source of the trouble rather than any problem with your brain itself.
Many people underestimate the power of their mind, and that may be the case with you. Your brain is a tool; you just need to learn the most effective ways to use it.
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