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7 Tips to Improve Your Memory

Written by CB Community

Memory plays a vital role in one’s life. It plays a significant role not only in advancing academically but also in capturing your uniqueness through personal experience.

Studies define memory as a skill to recall, encode, retain, and store data.

Generally, when we encode data, we turn information into a pattern that you can save in your memory. Storing information refers to keeping the data.

And, lastly, recall entails retrieving previously-stored and encoded data from your mind.  

Sadly, research also shows that memory loss is a reality of life as we age.

This condition can impact even the daily routine of a person, such as misplacing car keys, losing a grocery list, forgetting a family member’s contact number, or as simple as getting lost in one’s neighborhood.

When it comes to being a college student, you may not be too worried about the impact memory loss can have on your day-to-day life but, the sooner you work to improve your memory, the more you can avoid this as you age.

So, to toughen your brain, here are seven tips on how to improve memory recall:

1. Utilize Your Five Senses

Experts say that when you use a considerable number of your senses during learning, this will enable more brain involvement in maintaining memory.

A study initiated by the Dresden University of Technology in 2017, titled “The Rewarding Effect of Pictures with Positive Emotional Connotation upon Perception and Processing of Pleasant Odors,” shows a group of adults shown a set of positive images combined with a specific smell.

The researchers did not instruct the adults to recall the pictures. Afterward, they were again provided with a couple of neutral images, however, without any scent.

Later on, the adults were requested to confirm what pictures they have seen.

The study revealed that people have impressive memories of all those with scent-paired images, especially for pictures relating to the delightful aroma.

Research suggests that the region in our brain called the piriform cortex, which primarily processes odors, becomes productive when a person encounters an item paired with a scent.

This matter occurs even though the odor is nowhere near the person anymore, or the individual had not considered to recall them.

A good way to challenge your senses is to distinguish the ingredients of a dish you haven’t tried by tasting and smelling. 

2. Use Mnemonic Techniques 

A Mnemonic technique is a method that aids a person to recall a phrase or an idea with the help of a form of numbers, letters, or any relevant connections.

The word “Mnemonic” comes from the Greek term “mimneskesthai”, which translates to “remember”. Some of these tools consist of acronyms, rhymes, songs, poems, and images. 

A classic example of a Mnemonic tool is the sentence “Every Good Boy Does Fine” to easily recall the musical notes of the treble clef E, G, B, D, and F.

Another example is the word FANBOYS, which also represents the seven coordinating conjunctions, specifically For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, and So.

The technique helps learners study tricky concepts or subjects, and assists professionals like scientists, artists, and doctors as well.  

3. Keep Things Organized

When most of your stuff at home is a mess, you’re most likely to overlook and lose things. To help you keep things in order, arrange a specific area to place your glasses, wallet, car keys, and various essentials.

Another step you can take to keep items organized is to maintain a notebook or an electronic planner to monitor special gatherings, appointments, and tasks.

Once you complete a chore, task, or project on your list, mark off the item to keep you updated.  

Remember to avoid tackling many items at once and steer clear of things that may distract you.

Stay focused on the details you’re working on, studying, or aiming to memorize. In doing this, you will most likely remember the information once you need it. 

4. Practice Spaced Rehearsal

Most learners or students, for that matter, are not foreign with cramming for a major exam.

The night before the tests, you will find students repeating concepts several times in a short period.

However, based on a study published by Dartmouth College in 2016, titled “Spaced Repetition Promotes Efficient and Effective Learning: Policy Implications for Instruction,” it has been found that spaced practice is more effective compared to constant repetition.

Instead of cramming for a test, it’s best to study the concepts for a long time. You can study for an hour, then a few hours, and then the next each day.

Observing spaced rehearsal or putting space in between your study time is beneficial, especially when reviewing intricate concepts and formulas.

Experts believe that following spaced rehearsal will generally improve a person’s recall. 

5. Stay Mentally Active

It’s not only the body that should remain healthy. Continuously engaging in challenging mental activities will aid in keeping a sharp brain and may prevent memory loss.

Also, mental exercise triggers mechanisms that preserve specific brain cells and promotes communication between them. 

Some of the activities that can boost mental activities are jigsaw or crossword puzzles, playing chess or a musical instrument, or learning a different skill that can serve a similar function. 

6. Stick to a Nutritious Diet

Keeping a nutritious diet does not only sustain a healthy heart but also ensures a sharp brain.

It’s best to opt for low-fat protein food sources like skinless poultry, fish, and beans. To ensure you maintain a balanced menu, include vegetables, whole grains, and fruits on your plate.

Consider also the beverage you drink with your meals. Remember, excessive alcohol and drug use can result in memory loss or disorientation. 

7. Add Exercise to Your Regular Routine

Adding exercise to your routine reinforces blood circulation to your brain and body. This activity can help you maintain a strong memory.

Running, jogging, or brisk walking are examples of physical activities you can include in your daily ritual. 

In case your schedule does not permit a complete workout, at least take a 10-minute walk within your day.  

Final Thoughts

Given the points above, keep in mind that activities that will most benefit your brain are those that will put you to work on tough and challenging things.

Others may find watching documentaries or playing sets of solitaire tough.

However, these may not be sufficient for the brain. Pursuing activities such as volunteering, studying a different language, or a new sport are wiser options.

About the author

CB Community

Passionate members of the College Basics community that include students, essay writers, consultants and beyond. Please note, while community content has passed our editorial guidelines, we do not endorse any product or service contained in these articles which may also include links for which College Basics is compensated.