College students are confronted with two kinds or types of memory work. The first and more common is general remembering or remembering the idea without using the exact words of the book or professor. General memory is called for in all subjects; however, the arts, social sciences and literature probably make the greatest use of this particular kind of remembering.
The other type of memory work is the verbatim memorizing or remembering the identical words by which something is expressed. This type of memorizing may be called for in all subjects but especially in law, dramatics, science, engineering, mathematics, and foreign language where the exact wording of formulas, rules, norms, law, lines in a play, or vocabulary must be remembered.
Other kinds of memory have their place and it is important for the student to know when to stop with the general idea and when to fix in mind the exact words, numbers, and symbols.
1. Understand thoroughly what is to be remembered
and memorized. When something is understood, be it a name or a chemical chain it is almost completely learned, for anything thoroughly understood is well on the way toward being memorized. In the very process of trying to understand, to get clearly in mind a complex series of events, or chain of reasoning, the best possible process of trying to fix in mind for later use is being followed.
2. Spot what is to be memorized verbatim. It is a good plan to use a special marking symbol in text and notebook to indicate parts and passages, rules, data, and all other elements which need to be memorized instead of just understood and remembered.
3. If verbatim memory is required, go over the material or try to repeat at odd times, as, for example, while going back and forth to school.
4. Think about what you are trying to learn. Find an interest in the material if you wish to memorize it with ease.
5. Study first the items you want to remember longest.
6. Learn complete units at one time as that is the way it will have to be recalled.
7. Overlearn to make certain.
8. Analyze material and strive to intensify the impressions the material makes.
9. Fix concrete imagery whenever possible. Close your eyes and get a picture of the explanation and summary answer. Try to see it on the page. See the key words underlined.
10. Make your own applications, examples, and illustrations.
11. Reduce the material to be remembered to your own self-made system or series of numbered steps.
12. Represent the idea graphically by use of pictorial or diagrammatic forms.
13. Make a list of key words most useful in explaining the idea or content of the lesson.
14. Form a variety of associations among the points you wish to remember. The richer the associations, the better memory.
15. Try making the idea clear to a friend without referring to your book or notes.
16. Actually write out examination questions on the material that you think you might get at the end of the term. Then write answers to your own questions. Since you now have the chance, consult the text or your notes to improve your answers.
17. Follow suggestions for reviewing. This is an important part of remembering.