I Can’t Remember Anything I Studied Yesterday…

Long-Term Memory

There’s a major exam this week and you crammed everything you could into your brain last night.

It’s a week later and you’re wondering what happened to all those facts, figures, and dates that you spent so much energy studying? You achieved a high grade on the test, but now that you look at the graded test you have no idea how you knew any of that material.

All those eleventh hour study-a-thons and the eventual and inevitable forgetting should be giving credence to what you suspected all along—that when it comes to studying and long-term recall, cramming doesn’t work.

Developing top-notch study skills is one way of combating the so-called forgetting curve. There are skills to develop so you’re never caught cramming. These skills include starting ahead of time, summarizing material instead of memorizing, and active learning through out the unit or semester.

Planning, organizing, time management, taking notes—Studying isn’t easy! How bout if there was a computer that could tell you when to study so that you never forgot? According to Wired Magazine there is a program that does just this.

The program was developed in response to decades of research into memory and optimal learning. Researchers discovered that there is an ideal moment to review material that you have learned so that you don’t forget it. This strategy comes from a term called the spacing effect. It’s the best-known way to remember what you have learnt so that you never forget.

The trick of the spacing effect is recognizing the moment when you are about to forget something. At that particular moment you must review the material. Don’t skip over it because it’s too boring or too hard. Learn it now and it will save you frustration and time later. If you wait too long to review, then you’ve forgotten the material.

Here’s how you can practice the spacing effect technique:

1)    Look up a word that you’ve never seen before

2)    Record the word and the definition on a piece of paper

3)    Wait a day or so and try to see if you can remember

4)    If yes, choose another word and wait longer

5)    If no, choose another word and shorten the length of time

6)    Keep track of how much time passes before you begin to forget

The theory is that if you study at the moment that you are about to forget, you will remember better and for longer periods of time.

Study smart and effectively.

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