Five more steps to better memory recall

Learning isn’t just about memorization, but we rely on memory and the ability to recall memories every day. Academic study places extraordinary emphasis on memory recall. In my previous post, I outlined five steps to improve your memory recall as you study. Here are five more steps to improve memory recall.


    1. Write it down

Writing lecture or study notes with a pen or pencil on paper is a great way to commit information to memory. The physical act, and the process of creating your own summaries of concepts and information, helps to reinforce the material in your memory.

    1. Visualize the information

Experiment with various memorization techniques and use those that work best for you. For example, use acronyms and mnemonics to associate the first letter of list items with a word, phrase or rhyme; associate rooms in a house with items of information (the Method of Loci); use image-name associations to recall names of people; or employ the chaining technique, creating a sentence or story around a set of data that aids recall.

    1. Create visual aids

You can do more than visualise information in your head. Use various coloured pens and highlighters to vividly display key points. Draw a mind map to represent the concepts and information. Create a timeline of when events occurred and how they interrelate. Write summary notes on flashcards.

    1. Grill yourself

Quizzing yourself aloud on the content you are studying is a time-honoured and effective memorization strategy. It identifies what you know well, and the areas where you need to invest more time. Use flash cards or whatever works for you. Writing about what you are learning, and explaining it by talking to others, also helps to instil new information in your memory. This is how many people learn new languages.

    1. Teach others what you are learning

This is an extension of point four. Teaching someone else what you are learning can be a powerful boost to your own memory, and highlight how well you know the material. Teach one-on-one, or via Skype or Zoom, or use FaceTime or equivalent apps. You can even start a YouTube channel. Welcome clarifying questions and seek constructive criticism.

What other ways have you used to improve memory recall?

See also:

Rod Benson is a PhD student at the University of Divinity, Melbourne, and Research Support Officer at Moore Theological College, Sydney.

Image source: exploringyourmind