|DO IT SOON||What’s up? How does your brain know whether something should be put into your long-term memory or not? Two practices, both involving a lot of work, seem to hold the key.|
|What’s new? 1. Research finds that that attempting to remember an item repeatedly over an extended period of time is what puts it into long-term memory. You need to intentionally try to retrieve items from your memory repeatedly to make them stick. If you try to remember too late after the fact, the original memory will be nowhere to be found; but if you wait only a few minutes to try to remember something, it’s too quick for you to signal your brain to put it into long-term memory.
2. Trying to figure out how to teach something involves retrieving things from memory. Teach what you are learning-if only to yourself. If you had to explain things without notes, based only on your memory, what would you say? What are the most important ideas? How do they hook together? Why should your listener care about the ideas? Trying to figure out how to teach something not only involves a lot of retrieving things from memory — it also involves putting things together in a structure that creates a lot of memory cues.
|So what? These studies make the key points: testing your memory, mixing things up with different kinds of concepts, establishing memory cues, and generally making things hard on yourself are crucial.|