Are you a forgetful person? Do you ever spend thirty or so minutes reading something, only to forget the majority of the material you read by the time you close the book? Think your memory is a lost cause? Think again.
There are plenty of ways to increase your memory and ability to recall the information that you read. Try these three for starters:
1) Summarize each paragraph or chapter
It is really easy to sit down with your textbook and “power through” simply because you want to get it done and move on to the next task. In fact, you may think you are being more productive by reading more. However, if you struggle to remember what you read, then you haven’t used your time well at all.
Instead of pushing through to simply get it done, take 1-2 minutes to summarize the main ideas of each paragraph or chapter you read. Write them down on a piece of paper, or type them out on your computer. Not only will this simple exercise help you remember what you read, but it will also help you pick out the main ideas and key points that you will probably be tested on anyway.
2) Review early and often
One major theory that explains why we forget things is called the fading theory. This theory basically states that the things we put in our brain create a path, like a trail in the woods. The more the trail is hiked, the clearer the path is to see. If the trail is hiked once, then neglected for weeks or months, you will be hard-pressed to find it again. When you make a habit out of reviewing the information you read and learn, you create stronger paths to that information, which makes it easier to find (and let’s be honest, no one likes getting lost in the woods anyway).
3) Drink water
Yep, that’s right. The research discussed in Psychology Today shows that dehydration can negatively affect short-term memory and our ability to recall information stored in our long-term memory. One easy way to remember to stay hydrated is to drink a glass of water every time you sit down and stand up during a study session. At the very least, you will drink glasses worth every time you study or do your homework.
Have you already forgotten everything you have read in this blog? Well, go drink a glass of water, then read it again, summarizing and reviewing along the way. The results may surprise you. And don’t forget to share any of your own memory-boosting tips with us.