The Apache Pow Wow

Memorization is a Breeze

Jolene Huey, Staff writer

Memorization is crucial throughout life, especially in school. When most students hear the word “memorization”, they picture an incredibly difficult task that is impossible to them. In this way, memorization is usually a representation of students cramming information for tests. However, cramming is neither efficient nor is it effective. There are much easier and simpler techniques to help with memorization, like spaced repetition and the Loci method.

Cramming is actually a terrible way to memorize information: it may seem effective for a bit, but definitely won’t help you in the long run. A study published in Learning and Memory found that simple repetition actually interfered with the ability to learn new information. Cramming basically reduces your memory’s ability to differentiate sets of similar facts. In this way, it makes us think we’ve learned information when we actually haven’t.

While cramming is a form of repetition that doesn’t help, there are some more effective uses of repetition. The best idea would be to space the repetition. For example, you should practice for a little bit on one day, then practice again the next day, two days later, and so on. The length of the intervals between studying and practicing should depend on your goal. If you want to memorize a speech in a day, there would be more information in each study period and the intervals in between studying would be shorter than if you wanted to remember a piece of information a few years later.

One of the most ancient and advanced memory techniques is the method of Loci. The method is great for your memory because it involves placing objects in an imaginary world in sequential order. One of the most famous memory men of all time, Solomon Shereshevsky, was able to recall random numbers years later because he imagined himself placing objects near buildings. When trying to develop your own Loci method, it helps to use places of familiarity, like locations in your school or home. For example, if you want to memorize the words “duck,” “motorcycle,” and “boat,” you could imagine placing a duck in your bathtub, a motorcycle in your living room, and a boat on your patio. For more complicated and lengthy information, the method helps to link those objects together.

In addition to spaced repetition and the Loci method, understanding the information is key for memorization. If you don’t immediately remember the answer for something, recalling what you know about the topic can lead to the solution. With these quick and easy techniques, you can slowly change your study habits and easily memorize information for the long-term!

Graphic courtesy of FREEPIK.COM

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Memorization is a Breeze