Guide to memory: Add details and connections

The more connections, the better

There are many ways to remember, but what's most important is that memory strategies do not occur automatically. They require time, practice and effort.

Many of us forget that when we learned our first language, we focused, struggled, and took a long time to master it through years of practice and education. Although your second language is learned differently than your first—at a different age, using different techniques—the time and effort it takes are similar. 

The following are some effective strategies when attempting to improve your memory skills:

Elaborate on what you want to remember

Elaboration—adding details—is an important strategy because it involves more processing of new information. Think of examples and relate information to your own experiences. That way, you form personal associations with information and make the information more meaningful.

For example, if "elaboration" is a new word, think about when you might use it. Think about exactly when and where you might use it. As you do this, you'll notice it takes time and effort. That's a good thing.

If you want more details, you can also ask people, "Can you elaborate on that?" This is a useful question in an English lesson.

Memory is a web

Think of the word "banana." Which words is it connected to? Other fruits like apples? The color yellow? The kitchen, where you keep your bananas? Eating one with lunch? The more connections, the better you remember. 

So, elaborate on a new word. Memory is a web and the more connections, the stronger the memory.

Be sure to check out next week's post about using imagination to boost your memory.