When you have finished studying this handout, you should have accomplished three things: 

  1. Learned how and when to use the memory aids of
         a) reciting,
         b) grouping, and
         c) mapping
  2. Considered an additional 10 ways to remember
  3. Taken time to practice the mapping technique

Remembering takes a conscious effort

Remembering takes a concentrated effort. Even the most brilliant students must take some steps to fix material in their mind after they have read the chapter. Once this is done, relearning or remembering for a test can be accomplished quickly and efficiently.

Remembering requires active studying: Speak and Write

Reading and listening are passive ways of studying and do not fix material firmly in your mind. Speaking and writing are active ways of studying which help you remember more because you reorganize (map), group, and associate the material as you speak and write it. Therefore, as you study:

  • Read the material, then cover it up and recite it out loud or write it in your own words.
  • Go back over your underlinings, marginal notes, and summaries, reading them aloud.
  • After completing the reading, recite or write out in short statements the main ideas in the chapter.
  • When you study with someone, make sure you do most of the talking about the chapter. You will remember more if you have explained and clarified out loud then if you just listen.
  • Write out material you are trying to memorize.

Remember by Association

Many times you can remember material by associating unfamiliar facts, ideas, names, dates, words, and occurrences with familiar material.

For example: you memorize that the American Revolution occurred in 1776. You can remember that the French Revolution occurred in 1786 by association. American Revolution 1776 - French Revolution 10 years later.

Remember by Grouping and Mapping

Sometimes remembering material is made easier by grouping items in some way:

(a) alphabetically
(b) sequentially
(c) by color, type, sound, etc.

At other times, getting a visual picture of the grouping around a general idea makes remembering easier. This is called mapping. There are three steps to creating a memory map.

  • Make a large box or circle in the center of the page on which you construct the memory map.
  • Add the main ideas that support and develop this subject on lines attached to the circle.
  • Attach supporting details to the main idea lines

Effective maps are made only after you have read and understand the material. A map is really just another way of outlining.

Remembering Happens When You Really Try

1. Decide to remember

  • Convince yourself: I can remember because I want to remember.
  • Find some way to get yourself interested in the material you need to remember.

2. Set pictures in your mind of what you need to remember. 

  • Pictures, diagrams, graphs, and charts are easier to remember than words--keep these visuals simple! Make your own. 
  • Complicated visuals in books are easier to remember if you trace over them with a pencil or your finger and talk through.

3. Create your own examples. 

  • If the information can be made into a graph, create one. If you can think of a similar example to reinforce the one in the book use it.

4. Make numbered lists of six to ten items and memorize them in an ordered fashion.

  • This is especially good with technical terms, vocabulary, steps in a process.

5. Try to relate what you are learning to something that is important to you.

  • For example: If I learn more about composition (writing), I can write better papers in my business class.

6. Isolate and learn major ideas and concepts.

  • Remembering lots of small details, clutters the mind. These smaller items will come to mind if you have a major concept to tie them to.
  • Simple rhymes or sentences help you remember some things.
  • Be careful that the rhyme isn't more complicated then the list to be remembered.

For example: In remembering the treble cleft, the lines are "Every good boy does fine." The spaces - spell FACE .

  • When you want to remember something in the morning, go over it just before you fall asleep. The last few minutes before you fall asleep is a prime time to fix material in your mind.
  • Write weekly summaries of your lecture notes and reading notes.

10. Review the summaries you have notes on and reread the Chapter summaries weekly.

Make a map that fits one of the Chapters you have read in class today.