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How to Memorize Using Brief Recall

Memory is the foundation of learning. You can memorize more quickly with greater recall and longer retention by practicing systematic recall. Get-It-Done Guy teaches you how.

By
Stever Robbins,
May 14, 2013
Episode #266

Page 2 of 3

If you want to remember something, go through it with focused attention. That means no multitasking while you learn. Pay close attention. Personally, I like to take notes longhand as I read. Engaging my body along with my mind seems to help me increase memory, so try to learn standing up.

Memorizing is only half the game; recall is also critical.

When you’re done with today’s learning session, try to recall the information and then review your notes to refresh your memory. Most people don’t realize that memorizing is only half the game; practicing recall is also critical.

Tomorrow, around the same time, jot down the key points you remember from today’s lesson. Then review your notes to make sure you got everything. This review should be quick—just a few minutes. You want to re-activate all the material in your brain and get your brain thinking about it again.

Review at Defined Intervals

The next step in how to memorize is to review the material in a week. Again, start with recall and then review your notes. A month after that, review the material again. Then review it after six months and after a year. Your review schedule will be:

  • immediately after learning

  • 1 day later

  • 1 week later

  • 1 month later

  • 6 months later

  • 12 months later

By your final review, the material will be pretty much burned into your brain. As I mentioned earlier, the exact intervals depend on when your memory starts to fade. If you’re super-ambitious, you could try to figure out the exact intervals that would work best for you. These intervals are approximate and generic, but still give better results than straight-up one-time memorization. By reviewing at these intervals, you’ll increase memory retention.

Cramming Isn’t Useful

Interestingly, the opposite of this technique, marathon cramming sessions, does not work well to increase memory. Repetition separated by sleep cycles is what integrates material into your brain; that’s how to memorize efficiently. Single-session marathon cramming can get a lot into your head for a test or other one-time event, but the information doesn’t become permanent.

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