Enhancing Your Memory with Memory Tactics

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Image Credit: Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

Having a phenomenal memory is a great asset to have, but even if you feel you weren’t blessed with a good memory, there are a number of tricks you can employ that will help you remember more. Here they are…

Chunking

Chunking is the technique of organizing or combining individual pieces of information into “chunks” or groups. This facilitates easy retrieval of the information as students have to memorize the chunks instead of the individual information. These chunks also act as cues, allowing for easy recollection of information. – Professional Learning Board

Our short-term memory is only capable of remembering a limited number of items at any one time. The magic number is supposedly 7 – give or a take a couple. If we want to be able to remember more, we need to group bits of information together in a process called “chunking”. For instance, if you had to remember the number:

18120072013711

Instead of trying to memorise each digit individually, you could break up the number into groups:

1812 (Tchaikovsky’s Overture)
007 (James Bond’s number)
2013 (Last year)
711 (7 Eleven store)

In this manner, you would have seemingly doubled your short-term memory capacity from 7 items to 14 items, although technically, you’re only remembering 4 items.

To better understand the power of chunking for improving recall, watch the following video explaining how grand chess master Susan Polgar is able to recall the random positions of 24 chess pieces after a 3 second glance:

Linking Memory

The Link Method is a memory technique that facilitates recall by making simple associations between items in a list, linking them with a vivid image containing the items. Start with the first image and create a connection between it and the next item, then progressively move through the list, linking each item to the next. Alternatively, you can also link the items together through a memorable story featuring each of the items. The flow of the story and the strength of the images give you the cues for retrieval. – Mind Tools

See also: Linking Memory

The following video is a good demonstration of how linking memory works:

Linking memory is a great memory method that can be employed to remember information for school. For example, if you were trying to remember the elements of the periodic table, you could use this story:

Peg Memory

Similar to the linking memory system, the peg memory system has one difference – it allows you to recall items in a particular order. For instance, if you needed to remember what item number 15 was, you would be able to recall it instantly using the peg memory, as opposed to the linking memory method that would require you to run through the entire story from the beginning until you arrive at item number 15.

Before you can use the peg memory, you first need to have a peg system – a list of items that you have connected with a specific number, for instance:

  1. Sun
  2. Shoe
  3. Tree
  4. Door
  5. Hive
  6. Sticks
  7. Heaven
  8. Gate
  9. Wine
  10. Hen

Each of these pegs are connected with a number through rhyme – one and sun, two and shoe, three and tree, and so on. It doesn’t matter what peg system you use as long as you can remember it.

Once you have a peg system, you can remember any list of items in order by associating each item in order with your peg system.

See also: Peg Memory

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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