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Old library and ladder. Credit: mocah.com (Creative Commons)

Memory

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In this memory section, you’ll learn how to triple your memory capacity, create fresh mnemonics using a word generator, use shapes to recall a sequence of numbers, and more.

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Tips from Our Learning Specialists

  • Use spaced repetition: rehearse what you’ve learned with longer gaps after each rehearsal.
  • Engage in active learning and study strategies like quizzing yourself or kinesthetic activities. 
  • Try the Major System or shapes system for remembering numbers (learn how in the videos section). Create imagery-based Memory Palaces and fun mnemonics. These techniques work better with vivid/odd/personalized imagery that our brains are more apt to remember.
  • Prioritize rest and other types of self care.
  • Cultivate awareness of your focus when studying so you’re present when learning. It can be challenging to recall something that didn’t have your full attention in the first place. 
  • Try interleaving practice – rotating question types and subject matter.
  • Use word generators such as Word Finder, Unscramble Words: Make Words with These Letters, or Letter Solver to create mnemonics. If you’re a student who is trying to remember the different parts of anatomy (i.e. arm, leg, head, foot, abdomen, hand), you can plug in the first letter of each term and it will create a word from them or at least the closest thing that sounds like a word (HALFA).

Templates 

  • Memory Tips
  • Imagery to aid in the construction of Memory Palaces. For how to use the memory palace memorization technique, see the video below.

Sites and Apps 

Videos

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Additional Resources at Stanford

  • Sign up for a drop-in session with us! With a Learning Lab Learning Specialist, you can talk about these strategies in more depth, personalize the approaches to suit your needs, and be supported as you practice.
  • Academic Skills Coaching

Research

  • McDermott, K. B., & Roediger, H. L. (2018). Memory (encoding, storage, retrieval). General Psychology FA2018. Noba Project: Milwaukie, OR, 117-153. Read the article here. 
    • Remembering information is crucial for academic success. The three key processes involved in memory retention are encoding information, storing information, and retrieving information. Encoding information involves integrating new information with or relating to previous knowledge. Storing information involves consolidating information so it is more accessible in long-term memory. Retrieving information from long-term memory involves recalling previously stored and consolidated information so it can be more deeply encoded or integrated with new information. These 3 processes often occur simultaneously and forgetting can occur at any stage.
  • Murre, J.M.J, & Dros, J. (2015). Replication and analysis of ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve. PLOS ONE 10(7): e0120644. Read the article here. 
    • According to the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve, people tend to steadily forget information over time, with a steeper rate of forgetting within a day of learning. Thus, getting a healthy amount of sleep and reviewing material a second time within a day is advisable. Additionally, there is an effect of serial position because we tend to remember more information from the beginning of lists (primacy effect) and the end (recency effect) of lists.
  • Gropper, R. J., Gotlieb, H., Kronitz, R., & Tannock, R. (2014). Working memory training in college students with ADHD and LD. Journal of Attention Disorder, 18(4), 331-345. Read the article here. 
    • Working memory refers to the amount of information that one can process at any given time or their immediate memory. There are different types of working memory, including auditory-verbal and visuo-spatial. Some people score higher or lower on different types of working memory tasks but working memory is something that can be improved through training. In one study with students with ADHD, a 5-week training program reduced the number of self-reported ADHD symptoms.