They can read a page once and remember everything. Or they might never forget a name. Or they can remember things like going to the grocery store this afternoon.
Stuff us normal people have trouble with.
The good news is that, while most of us will never have a photographic memory (officially called an eidetic memory), we can improve the memory powers we do have. Here’s some study tips on how to improve your memory…
Exercise is vital if you want to improve your memory and it’s a good study tip in general. Your brain uses blood to operate, and when you exercise, you get more blood moving. It makes a lot of sense, actually. If you exercise regularly, even for just twenty minutes a day, you will see immediate results in your attentiveness, alertness and overall brain performance, including an improvement in memory.
Train Your Powers of Observation
The famous sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, once said, “I see no more than you, but I have trained myself to notice what I see.” This not only is helpful to aspiring detectives but also to the rather more ordinary person hoping to improve their memory. When someone improves their observational skills, the amount they remember from a given situation will inevitably improve. There are a few ways to train these powers. A good, old-fashioned technique is to take a glance at a shop window, then face away from it and write down everything you remember. Look again and see how well you did. Repeat until you’re awesome.
A simpler technique is to simply pay attention to your surroundings. Here’s an example: is there a library at your school? Is it one story or two? How many steps are there? How many stalls in the bathroom? If you don’t know, then you, like the good Dr. Watson, “see but don’t observe.”
Focus for Eight Seconds
According to scientists who ought to know, it takes eight seconds of focusing on something for it to be transferred into your memory. That seems like hardly any time at all, but it’s longer than you might expect. When was the last time you focused for eight seconds on remembering something? If you’re like most folks, you probably can’t remember. Whether you’re trying to learn person’s name or simply a new vocabulary word, an intense eight-second focus can go a long way toward achieving your memory goals.
Give Your Brain a Workout
If working out your body helps your brain, then so does working out your brain! The key to keeping your brain exercised and in shape is to keep it flexible. Try your hand at something new. I personally am a chess player. If I want to give my brain a workout, I could play chess. But a better choice might be to try something unfamiliar, like a crossword puzzle. The idea is to mix things up so your brain doesn’t get into a rut.
The tough part with the brain thing is finding a balance between challenging and fun. Ideally, you want to find something that challenges you, a tough mental nut to crack, something you can chew on for a while. But at the same time, you need to find something enjoyable so you don’t make yourself miserable. Balance is key!
You can go to football practice all you want and run drills all day but until you get out and actually play your skills can only improve so much. It’s the same thing with your memory. You can read all the study tips you want. But if you want to get better at remembering things, go find something to memorize! Pick a bit of poetry (Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening is a great first poem to memorize) or try to memorize pi to a hundred decimal places. Try your hand at that epic movie speech or some great quote you found. It really doesn’t matter what you pick, so long as it’s something you actually care about learning.
As you go on through your life and memorize more and more things, you’ll find it a very rewarding and enjoyable activity. You’ll not only learn and retain things that you have learned, you find it easier and easier to learn and memorize new things. Now get out there and remember!
What do you think?
What are some things you’ve tried to memorize? Did you succeed? Fail?
Share in the comments below!