For most of our lives most people are constantly learning new things.
By having new information, we can better adapt to the environment and to the constant changes in society today. While this learning process continues throughout the life cycle, it is particularly visible during training processes, in which we acquire most of the general knowledge and attitudes that we will apply, deepen, contrast and modify throughout. life.
In this training, it is common to have to memorize large amounts of information over relatively short periods of time. For this reason, in this article they will provide some tips for better remembering when studying.
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Studying, an intense activity
There are many different types of learning, but all are based on acquiring, voluntarily or unintentionally, information from a source (whether external or internal, experiential, vicarious or even imaginary) and its subsequent retention.
Anyone who has had to study in depth knows that it is an activity that can be exhausting.. Learning and memorizing particularly technical or complicated material can be a real headache for those who need to learn it. Although a lot of effort is not always required (whether due to personal preferences, the way information arrives, their attitude or their skills, some people retain certain information more easily), it usually requires repetition of a series of behaviors or information a habituation or domination of the subject treated.
In any case, if we want to keep the acquired knowledge in mind, we need to be able to make sense of it for the learner, so that he can generalize it and apply it to other contexts. Without giving meaning to an apprenticeship, it will become mechanical, and it is not so profitable for the adaptation to the means.
However, many times what has been learned is forgotten at high speed, applying a few times to the max, and then disappearing from our lives. Why are we forgetting this material?
The forgetting curve
Memory and the loss of information stored in it over time have been studied. Over time, memory fingerprints deteriorate, resulting in the loss of information. This may be due, among other possible explanations, to the fact that the new information that is acquired overlaps the old with which the old information undergoes gradual deterioration due to the interference that the new material produces.
Herman Ebbinghaus is famous for his studies related to memory. From his research, he sketched out what is now called the forgetting curve, to the loss of persistent information over time. According to this graph, which describes the process of forgetting information in the absence of a consistent review of it, the amount of material withheld decreased exponentially.
If on the first day 100% of the material is kept on the second, if it is not reviewed, such percentage could be halved, And after several days, the amount of material retained is close to zero. However, it is important to stress that reviewing the information to be learned allows the memorized information to be retrieved faster than if we were starting from scratch. The more the learning time approaches and the revision of this less time investment will be necessary to retrieve the stored material.
In order to conserve information and help streamline and maintain the retention process, it is recommended that a number of mnemonic tips and strategies be employed, such as some of those explained below.
Some useful mnemonic techniques
Then we will contemplate some mnemonic techniques useful for storing information and facilitating study and review.
1. Construction of a story
This mnemonic technique is based on the making of a short story that connects all the elements to be memorized. It can be used to store dates, names and items in a list.
The story itself should be short and meaningful, as it aims to facilitate memorization of certain data and not to present an overly complex stimulus that involves additional learning. In this way, a narrative is woven that keeps the holdings connected to each other.
it is one of the most effective tips to rememberAs each part of the story contains elements that anticipate the next. However, its main drawback is that it requires a bit of effort and creativity.
2. Use acronyms
Very useful for remembering formulas and lists, this mnemonic technique basically it is based on the use of the initials of the words to form another which allows the memory of all. It is therefore based on the use of very specific indices to recall information.
In this way, the sound of an acronym gives us clues that more easily lead us to words and concepts that we are trying to remember.
3. Create an imaginary route
This is a well-known mnemonic trick although it can be complex if the associations are not well done. Its operation is simple, it is about creating an imaginary route in which we connect the different reference points to the names or elements to study. To be effective, we need to keep in mind that we need to be able to remember the pairing (for example, that this is where it is purchased, that it has a similar color, etc. ).
4. Use of rhymes, words or similar expressions
Using words that rhyme with those for the items we want to learn can help us remember a specific material better. Breaking it down into smaller, easier-to-remember fragments can also help.. It is essentially a question of being able to associate the word, the number or the knowledge to be learned with another element which is more accessible to us.
This tip to remember, by the way, can be used in combination with the creation of acronyms.
5. Use humor and imagination
Positive emotional states facilitate memorization. For this reason, trying to combine humor and study, as long as it is done properly and with sufficient prior knowledge, can be very helpful in better remembering what has been studied. The use of small games as well as puzzles can be beneficial.
6. Use your tastes and hobbies
Another mnemonic technique that makes it easier to consolidate material in our memory is to sprinkle the study process with things you like. For example, try to link the study material to your favorite series, movies or books, Or try to imagine a relationship with the things that you are passionate about, your hobbies.
7. Link the new to the old
Being able to learn easily and effectively we need to be able to make sense of the information they give us. The best way to do this is to relate the material to be learned or retained to previous knowledge or lived experiences. Thus, new information does not have to be created from scratch, but becomes an in-depth look at things we have seen or experienced before, requiring less effort to encode the material and memorize it. We are talking about meaningful learning.
Following this same logic, if what you want to remember best is a text with relatively complex ideas, revision is essential and, although it seems wrong, very effective. Reading a text a second or third time isn’t just for reviewing what to remember; it also allows us to see the relationships between ideas that appear at the beginning and end of the text. It allows us to better understand what we read, and comprehension is the key to remembering, because it means integrating all the data into a cohesive information system where there are no “loose parts”.
Apart from the techniques mentioned above, some of the following strategies are essential to ensure proper memory maintenance material to remember.
8. Review what has been learned
This may not seem like an overly elaborate mnemonic technique.But given that over time we will lose much of the material learned, this is one of the main recommendations if you want to remember the material. Each time we examine content, this memory consolidates more in our brain.
9. Summarize and outline
Doing summaries and summaries on a specific topic helps exercise the mind and forces you to focus your attention on what is a good tip or a good strategy to remember best when you are studying. In this way, we establish categories with the information to be memorized, have to prioritize certain contents over others, establish hierarchies and generally work with the information at the cognitive level.
10. Use different methods to process information
We often think of studying as an activity in which we sit and read specific content until it is etched in our memory. Although this is a learning method, different types of help can also be used. Viewing videos, using audios and exercises to put the acquired knowledge into practice they are very useful.
11. Explain the material to others / Study in groups
As in the two previous cases, having to expose the material to be memorized a lot to others in order to work with the informationSo its retention is higher. In addition, working collaboratively enriches the subject’s vision with the perspectives of others and helps to adopt other points of view.
It also makes it easier to take charge of the study in a more relaxed or serious way, depending on the type of person accompanying us, being able to motivate the study or lower the level of stress. However, there is also the risk of straying too far or maintaining positions that are too opposed to a specific topic, so you have to assess the time available and the type of connection with the other person.
- González, R. (2004). Study strategies and techniques. Editorial Pearson Prentice Hall, Madrid, Spain.
- Hernández, F. (1990). Learn to learn. Study Methods and Techniques for EGB-BUP-FP Murcia Students: Editorial Distribution Group.
- Manzanero, A EL (2008): The obliterate. In A EL Manzanero, Psychology of the Witness (pp. 83-90). Madrid: Ed. Pyramid.