by Eden Univer
Do you ever learn an important lesson in class only to blank on the information in a study session or-even worse-when there's a test on the desk in front of you? Turns out that's totally normal and pretty preventable.
"When we have trouble remembering things, it's not necessarily a failure of the ability to recall information, but rather that we never encoded it in the first place," says Joe Hardy, MD, vice president of research for brain training program Luminosity. "Oftentimes that happens because you're not paying attention. If you're not really focused in class, you're not going to encode the information at a deep level initially, and therefore not going to remember it later." No need to go into full-on panic mode though! There are exercises that can help you get even the trickiest topics to stick. Do we have your attention now?
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Grab a pen and paper. This is an easy one, even if we tend to think listening is enough. "One of the tricks you can use is to take notes on everything the teacher explains," says Dr. Hardy. "It forces you to pay attention, and gives you a second route to coding it in your memory through writing. The act of jotting information down is another way of committing it to memory."
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Don't file your notes away. The power of repetition shouldn't be understated. "Reviewing notes will engrain the lesson further and give you an additional opportunity to memorize the information."
Round up a friend or two. If you prefer studying with buddies, this tip is up your alley. "One technique that helps is teaching someone else. If you're working in groups or pairs, you can re-teach one another the lesson you just learned in class."
Use your phone to your advantage. There's an app for everything, so of course there's one that can help you practice cognitive skills to improve your memory. The Lumosity app has games that range from simple tasks, like recalling what series of shapes you were just shown, to tougher activities, like acting as a waitress and having to recall diners' names and orders very quickly. The Fit Brain app learns along with you, so it can target different exercises for your skill set and learning needs. If you loved the Memory Matches card game as a kid, you should check out the Memory Matches app. You'll flip different cards with images on them and have to later remember where you saw each one to pair them all up and win different levels.
Have you been taking notes? We're totally (well, mostly) kidding, but we are serious, about putting these studying strategies to the test. And don't be greedy: Share your newfound tactics with your friends-they may just help you out too.
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by Eden Univer