3 memory techniques for permanently memorising hundreds of pieces of information in little time.
A good memory can make the difference in many contexts; at school, university or work. Whether we want it or not, knowing how to memorise often keeps us out of trouble. How would you feel if you could prepare for an exam in just a few days? Memorise a work report in a handful of minutes? Remember the names of everyone you meet? (and you know how much this counts for interpersonal relationships).
How to memorise?
If you learned how to speed read, now it is time to improve your memory. There are 3 memory techniques for remembering more information in less time and forever.
Our brain is programmed to memorise millions of pieces of information every day, without us even realising it. This memorisation is immediate (around a millisecond) and permanent. But why can’t we remember small pieces of information?
Improving your own memory means being able to better access memories you already have.
Think of web 2.0: what was one of the most efficient techniques for cataloguing and organising millions of files uploaded by web users? Tags. Small keywords to associate to an image, an article or a video to identify them in the internet ocean.
There is a memorisation technique that uses so-called “mental tags”. This is how it works.
Every time you have to remember names, dates, numbers, facts or concepts, follow this strategy:
- Create a tag in your mind to identify the origin of the information you have to remember. For example: “Prof. Smith’s lesson”.
- Create a tag to identify the object of the information you have to remember. If it’s an economics lesson on the causes of a recession, use the tag “recession”
- Create a funny image to associate the origin tag to the object tag. In our example, you could think of Prof. Smith who is beginning to sing a “memorable” song on stage about stock exchange indexes and recession. The funny image will stimulate the so-called emotional memory, particularly useful for quickly remembering information.
- Finally, create an image for identifying key concepts to remember. In our little story, you could use the members of a band, associating each of them with a keyword: the guitarist John Inflation, the drummer Frank Liquidity, etc. I think you get the point.
And now try to forget Prof. Smith’s lesson on recessions, if you can!
Sometimes you do not have enough time available to study or memorise. Maybe you have to prepare for an exam in a few days, or you have to remember important information without being able to write it down or… you simply want to remember the number of a girl you met at the club and your phone is dead!!!
In these cases you can use a technique called “immediate memory”. Here are the 5 stages to apply it:
- Believe. Convince yourself that you will remember the material (it’s a bit like pressing the red REC button).
- Want. Desire remember the information (this will reinforce your mnemonic abilities).
- Visualise. Mentally look at or repeat the information once, in a clear way.
- Command. Order your brain to remember the material (feel like a stupid idiot doing this? Great: the stronger the emotion you associate with the memory, the easier to is to remember).
- Review. Look at the material one final time.
Your grandfather remembers a poem learned in primary school and you discovered yesterday on Facebook the name of your classmate in secondary school? Remembering information for years is not so difficult, you just have to apply a simple technique of mental revision. It’s great if you want to learn how to study for A-level exams, university exams, or any other test that you will have in life:
- Every 20 minutes studying, make a list of points that you want to remember and go over them for 5 minutes.
- At the end of the day (before going to sleep), revise the list of key points for 5 minutes.
- After 3 days, revise the list of key points for the last time for 5 minutes.
These techniques were part of my university studying method; I’m certain that, if you know how to apply them with dedication, you will also attain surprising results.