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Memory for students

I am Gauri Rampal, a student of the 12th class. I am facing the board exams and I am unable to remember what I have studied. This is the most important year of my academic career. Please give a few tips for methods to study and remember.

First of all, study is work and takes time. So plan a study schedule you can stick to. During the time you set aside for the study, work at it instead of talking to friends or watching television out of the corner of your eye. If you study hard during your scheduled times, you will find that you have plenty of time for your friends and television later. Second, rehearsal is crucial for transferring information from the short term memory to long term memory or, alternatively, for the deeper and richer processing of information that is necessary for good memory. Text-books are full of detailed information, most of which cannot be remembered from the kind of skimming you might give a newspaper. Rehearsal plays an important role in the deeper processing of information. Rehearsal is keeping information at the center of attention, perhaps by repeating it over and over again. Simply repeating the information – maintenance rehearsal is not good enough. All this does is maintain the information at a given level of depth; for deeper levels to be reached, the rehearsal must be elaborative. Rehearsal must process the information to the meaning level if the information is to be well retained. Rehearsal is thus seen as a process which gives meaning to information. Elaboration refers to the degree to which the incoming information is processed so that it can be tied to, or integrated with existing memories. The greater the degree of elaboration given to an item of incoming information, the more likely it is to be remembered. Ask yourself what you have just studied, what the new concepts and terms are, and how they relate to other things you know or are learning.. It is effective to spend at least half of your study time in rehearsal. Third, remember the importance of organization during remembering. As you rehearse elaboratively, give your own subjective organization to the material, and also provide yourself with retrieval cues or reminders that will be important when you try to recall what you are learning. If you can, form visual images of abstract ideas. Fourth, try to get some idea of how well you remember the material. Get some feedback. If you study by breaking the material up into parts, try to get some feedback after you study each part. Go back over what you have just studied and using the headings as retrieval cues, ask yourself what is under each heading. Feedback will tell you both what you have mastered and where you are weak. When you have finished a chapter, test yourself on it, and do some additional work on any weak spots. By testing yourself, you will also be practicing your retrieval skills. Fifth, review before an examination. You will have forgotten many of the details you learned. Use the organization of the text to test yourself during the review and go back over the things you have forgotten, relearning them the way you learned them in the first place. Spend a good deal of time rehearsing major ideas and experiments that support them. Trying to think of what the questions will be ahead of time and practicing your answers to them is often a good idea.

Planning, rehearsal, organization, feedback and review will see you through the examinations, but, most of what you remembered for an examination will be forgotten, or at least hard to retrieve, when you recall it later for another examination. Here practice is perfect. The term is overlearning. To remember what you will need in your work, it pays to go beyond the effort needed to just learn the material. After you are satisfied that you know and can remember something, go back after a few days and learn it again, and perhaps again. Such overlearning works to reduce the amount forgotten. If it takes you 2 hours to learn a chapter, another 2 hours will stamp it in your memory. Most of the time we are not motivated strongly enough to do what seems like extra work, but fortunately for things we really need to remember, we will get many opportunities for overlearning.