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Strategy #1: Creating a personal memory strategy--selective memorization

Students, especially those new to a subject area, have a lot of new information to digest and remember. They may need help determining which information is most important to commit to long-term memory. Therefore, before students jump into collecting information to memorize, they should take time to consider what information they need to remember and then how to best memorize that material from their assigned reading. Encourage students to take a learning style assessment to help them determine their learning strengths: visual, auditory, kinesthetic.

Here is a strategy you can share with them.

1. First determine what information needs to be remembered. You might decide this on your own, or your instructor might provide you with some direction or clues.

  • Review a study guide if one is provided.
  • Study the review ideas at the end of textbook chapters if they are available.
  • Pay close attention to the ideas emphasized in your instructor's lectures and take copious notes during lectures and class activities.
  • Go over your notes after the lecture to organize ideas and align them with the ideas gained from reading assignments. Organize groupings of ideas and concepts for application of memorization strategies.

2. Determine the purpose for remembering the information. Is it to perform on a test, complete a lab experiment, or make a presentation?
3. Review the information as it was delivered, whether in class notes, from a textbook, or through an online discussion board. Reviewing the information in its original context will help make meaningful connections to the material rather than just being able to "report" what you know.
4. Practice recalling the information in the same way you will be expected to deliver it: writing it, practicing it, verbalizing it. Practice at increasingly longer intervals to both refresh and test the memory.
5. In addition to testing recall, review the reading annotations and/or class notes several times to reinforce memorization within the original context.