Can “Zimbabwe” Boost Your Memory?

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Why “Zimbabwe?” A psychologist named Von Restorff noticed that when he gave test subjects a random list of words. . . cat, bench, art, canopy, Zimbabwe, fish, etc. . . . they remembered best the words at the beginning and end of the list. No big surprise there. That’s the serial position effect I talk aboutContinue reading “Can “Zimbabwe” Boost Your Memory?”

Memory Skills Fix Your Study Ills

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Dear Study Prof, Help! How can I fix my awful memory? I read stuff for class and immediately forget what I just read. I study, but nothing seems to stick. I just forgot who I was writing this email to. Forgetfully, Amy Neesha* Dear Amy, Barring any recent head trauma, I feel pretty safe inContinue reading “Memory Skills Fix Your Study Ills”

McCafferty on Cramming

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“All subjects are the same. I memorize notes for a test, spew it, ace it, then forget it. What makes this scary for the future of our country is that I’m in the tip-top percentile on every standardized test. I’m a model student with a very crappy attitude about learning.” – Megan McCafferty, Sloppy Firsts Cramming isContinue reading “McCafferty on Cramming”

Iron New Information Into Your Brain

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Did you ever try to iron a shirt with a cold iron? Could you get that shirt ironed without the heat? Sure, but it would take for-freakin-ever! Ironing a nice fold into a shirt is oh-so-much faster when you’ve got HEAT. Trying to learn stuff by going over it again and again is about as effective as ironingContinue reading “Iron New Information Into Your Brain”

Get smarter during the summer?

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Is it possible to actually get smarter during the summer whilst basking at the beach? Absolutely, yes! How? Take this semester’s notes and give them a light going over every week or two–while at the beach, if you like. Quiz yourself over them. Practice a bit. I’m not saying you’ve got to spend hours; justContinue reading “Get smarter during the summer?”

Are You Taking Enough Study Breaks?

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Taking frequent breaks maximizes your brain’s ability to recall. Hundreds of variations on experiments first performed in the late 1800s have confirmed that taking a 5 to 10 minute break every thirty or forty minutes will help you get the most out of your overworked and underappreciated neurons. To help you remember to take studyContinue reading “Are You Taking Enough Study Breaks?”

5 Easy Review Tricks That Maximize Learning (Part 5)

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Part five of 5 Easy Review Tricks series — See the other parts at the bottom of this post. 5. Talk about it. Another way to elaborate–to do something with the information you’re learning–is to put it into your own words. This simple act not only forces you to recall it, it makes you processContinue reading “5 Easy Review Tricks That Maximize Learning (Part 5)”

5 Easy Review Tricks That Maximize Learning (Part 4)

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Part four of 5 Easy Review Tricks series — See the other parts at the bottom of this post. 4. Draw it out. If you aren’t taking a pencil and making your own charts, graphs, illustrations, diagrams, mind maps, topical doodles, etc. then you are losing out on one of the best memory mastery techniquesContinue reading “5 Easy Review Tricks That Maximize Learning (Part 4)”

5 Easy Review Tricks That Maximize Learning (Part 3)

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  Part Three of 5 Easy Review Tricks series — See the other parts at the bottom of this post. 3. Follow the Triple The Time (TTT) Rule Long Term. Continue to learn/review in loops over days and weeks, not just during a given study session. Review a given set of notes/flashcards/vocab list 24 hoursContinue reading “5 Easy Review Tricks That Maximize Learning (Part 3)”

5 Easy Review Tricks That Maximize Learning (part 2)

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Part Two of 5 Easy Review Tricks series — See the other parts at the bottom of this post. 2. Learn in loops. Learning a fact is like repeatedly squashing flat a blade of grass until it stays flat. If you try to squash that grass flat by stepping on it once a week, itContinue reading “5 Easy Review Tricks That Maximize Learning (part 2)”

5 Easy Review Tricks That Maximize Learning

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Part One — See the other parts at the bottom of this post. Choose the answer below that best completes the sentence: Aaaargh! I’ve been through this ____________ 50 frakkin times, and I still can’t remember it all! A. Asinine text book chapter B. Drool-inducing stack of flash cards C. Styooopid vocab list D. BummunchingContinue reading “5 Easy Review Tricks That Maximize Learning”

Can You Remember More Than Me?

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See if you can best me in a memory test and lend a helpful brain-cell to University of Edinburgh psychologists in the process. Schlepp on over to the BBC memory test and take twenty minutes to test out your memory muscles. Then click “more” below to see how I did. Take a screen shot ofContinue reading “Can You Remember More Than Me?”

Memory Magic With Smart.fm

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Dust off those synapses and belly up to the brain bar, pardner. You’re going to like this. Website Smart.fm takes some of my favorite learning principals (staggered review, automaticity, the Ebbinghaus learning curve, and more) and puts them all together in one slick and sociable site. Enter in whatever info you want to sear intoContinue reading “Memory Magic With Smart.fm”

5 Flashcard Mistakes You May Be Making

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Most of us have been making flash cards since an enthusiastic third-grade teacher first used them to pound the multiplication facts into our resisting little cranial cavities. Why did she do it? Why, Mrs. Payne, why? News flash; Flash Cards, boring and basic though they may be, work. But. They don’t work nearly as wellContinue reading “5 Flashcard Mistakes You May Be Making”