You probably found yourself in a situation where you learned something, but forgot it in just a couple days. Do not worry; it is absolutely human of you. However, there is a way to make sure you keep your memories for as much time as possible.
In this article you will learn how your brain remembers things. You will also discover some useful techniques to help you memorize things in the long run.
How Does Memory Work?
After you perceive new information with your sensory organs (eyes, ears), it goes to your prefrontal cortex and later to hippocampus. There neurotransmitters will form new pathways (synapses) in between the neurons, thus, creating a memory.
As you might know there are two types of memories: short-term and long-term. In order for the info to become ingrained in your brain, it should move to the latter. However, in order to do it you will need two things – time and persistence. The fact of the matter is that it is almost impossible to learn a complex bit of info in just one day, and you will need to test yourself on a regular basis to make it permanently embedded in your brain.
It will take time for a new fact to solidify in your brain. At first, it will take you forever to derive memories from the brain, but the more you do it, the easier it will become. In the beginning they are very indiscernible and easily forgotten.
What Techniques to Use?
First of all, it is important to recall the newly minted memory. This you should do not every day as you might be tempted to think, but rather in distinct time periods. There exists the Leitner system based on which you are supposed to repeat a new bit of info in 5 stages (after 1 day, 3 days, 7 days, 14 days and one month). However, it does not have to be this way.
You can determine what works best for you and stick to it. Moreover, there is no need to do it in a paper format, as there are many apps which would space out repetitions for you. One of the most common ones is Anki, however, you can find multiple others on the Internet as well.
Apart from rehearing the new memory, it is crucial to make it vivid in the first place. Human brain easily sifts through all the mundane and superficial info, thus, making it hard for students to remember facts they are not likely to use in real life. However, if you form a graphic association with it, it is very likely to stick with you for a very long time. Mnemonics techniques will help you make the memory unusual and evocative, thus, fortifying it in your brain.
Studying will never be easy. Human brain simply wants to reject everything which is not relevant for its immediate survival. However, you cannot use this argument to justify a bad paper or a failing grade on the test to your professor. Therefore, it is critical to learn how the memory works, so that you can trick it easier into making you a top-notch student.
You do not expect to get perfect abs after just one day of training. Same with your brain – it takes time to make it function properly. So, do not despair and keep studying!