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3 Techniques to Boost Your Memory

3 Techniques to Boost Your Memory

Memorizing concepts for students can be difficult, especially when there are large amounts of information. Research shows that within one hour, people will have forgotten an average of 50% of the information handed to them and within 24 hours, they will have forgotten an average of 70% of new information. Memorization techniques are not only limited to studying, but something you can incorporate into both your personal and professional life. These techniques include the loci method, chunking, and the PQRST method.

1. The “Loci” Method

The word “loci” is a Latin word for “places” and this memory technique was created over 2000 years ago to help Ancient Greek and Roman orators remember their speeches. These orators practiced the loci technique by mentally placing key points of their speech in locations along familiar routes through their city or palace. These key points were represented by items they would pass by along their walk in their visualized location. 

How to Use Loci:

  1. Think of a route that you know well, such as walking through your home.
  2. Visualize each part f the information that you want to memorize in a different room or area of your house.
  3. Mentally place each item that you want to remember at one of the locations.
  4. When you want to remember the items, visualize your house and go through it room by room in your mind. Each time you walk through the locations in your mind, a memory should arise.

2. Chunking

Chunking is the process of taking smaller pieces (chunks) of information and grouping them into bigger units. By taking smaller pieces of a larger whole, you can increase the amount you remembered. For example, chunking a phone number into three groups instead of remembering one long string of numbers. According to neuroscientist Daniel Bor, chunking represents our ability to “hack” the limits of our memory and combine the information in a more meaningful way, resulting in more information being retained.

How to Use Chunking:

  1. If you are trying understanding a complex system, it helps to break down the major concepts into smaller topics.
  2. Look for connections to from each unit that can be used in a relatable way. Ask yourself “what do these items have in common”.
  3. Practice going over each chunk. For example, you can periodically repeat each subtopic to associates to ensure that they retain the information.

3. The PQRST Method

The PQRST focuses more on improving a person’s understanding and their ability to to learn more the material they are reading. The PQRST method consists of five steps:

Preview: Preview the entire chapter by skimming through it; that way, you’ll be able to know what you’ll be covering. This can be done by reading the chapter introduction, looking at the headings, reading the section introductions, checking out the figures, and reading the summary at the end of the chapter.

Question: As you read through each section, ask yourself “what am I supposed to learn in this section”. This will help your brain to sync up with the topic being discussed.

Read: At this point, you can carefully read through the section. Think about the meaning and tie it to similar topics that you know. It helps to underline or highlight key words. If you plan to take notes, it’s best to read the whole section first then summarize it.

Self-recite: Once you have finished reading the section, try and recite some of this information out loud. Check the section again for any missing information that you missed. Once you have completed reciting that section, you can go to the next section and repeat the Question step again.

Test: Now that you have finished reading all the sections of the chapter, test yourself and review all the material. If you made notes, read through them. Think about the relevance of what you have learned so far and how all the topics are tied together. 

Sources: Tribe Learning. 1 Aug. 2019. 7 Techniques to Increase Memory: Loci and Chunking.