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You may not have done as well with the first list. While these words are certainly not complicated, they are not words used in daily life, nor could they be easily grouped to make associations. However, you may have done much better the second time around. These words are familiar to most people, and they can be organized into groups (directions, fruits, names, and colors). Organizing information into idea or concept groups can definitely help with memorization. Therefore, if you remembered "west," that likely triggered your memory to include the remaining two directions on the list.

This simple experience shows us that organizing or clustering ideas and concepts can enhance memorization and retrieval. The act of organizing requires that students understand the ideas, and it discourages the random memorization of isolated ideas which, as we know, can be self-defeating in the academic environment. Once groups of concepts or ideas are organized and written down, they are ready for memorization techniques that can move them into long-term retrievable memory.