For someone like us, juggling work and school, the quality of memory is incredibly important. Especially when it comes to learning, it takes a lot of effort and time to understand and remember the material we’ve studied. So, we’ve always been particularly interested in how to improve memory.
Recently, we watched a TED talk by Joshua Foer, a science journalist who won the U.S. Memory Championship. He used the method of Memory Palace, focusing on enhancing the underlying logic of memory rather than just the techniques.
Combining our own experience, let us share the secrets of improving memory:
No matter how well we remember something at the moment, we’ll forget it if we don’t review it after a certain period. The most practical method is to use the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve. Review the content we need to remember at fixed intervals – this method is called spaced repetition.
The memories that stick the most are those associated with our most focused attention. We might even remember the tiniest details. That’s why we don’t recommend memorising vocabulary while walking or doing chores, as our attention might be elsewhere. Five minutes of full concentration is better than one hour of divided attention. Channel all our energy into what we need to remember, even if it’s just for a short period – the results will be evident.
In simple terms, information our brains process is easier to remember. There are two main ways:
It’s challenging to remember things that have no connection to us. For instance, staring at a vocabulary book and memorising words can feel like memorising meaningless symbols. After we went abroad, we quickly memorised the names of fruits, vegetables, and foods because we often visited supermarkets. The strong connection between new words and existing impressions in our brains facilitated this. We previously recommended using real-world associations to learn vocabulary – linking English words directly to objects, bypassing translation. This makes memories deeper and more enduring.
Descriptive Memory Method
This method requires deeper brain involvement, resulting in more profound memory, especially for complex concepts or lengthy content. Describe the material we need to remember in our own words. Through this process, our brains engage in a deep analysis of the information, making it our own understanding. This aligns with the famous Feynman Technique that many people highly praise.
The core of improving memory lies in active learning and deep engagement of the brain. After all, memories rooted in comprehension are the most profound. For those who need it, start learning these techniques now!