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10 Tips for Improving Memory and Concentration

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					10 Tips for Improving Memory
      and Concentration




             Learning Support Services
           MacOdrum Library, fourth floor
                  carleton.ca/lss
               613-520-2600 ext. 1125
          10 Tips for Improving Memory
                and Concentration
1. Limit distractions                                 6. Teach it to someone else
Every time you are distracted from a task, you        One of the most effective strategies for
lose time dealing with the interruption, and          improving your memory is to teach the material
getting back on track later becomes difficult. By     to others. Teaching requires you to put complex
reducing distractions, you improve your chances       concepts and ideas into your own words.
of being able to concentrate for longer periods       This will strengthen your understanding of the
of time. Avoid studying in environments where         material and will increase your ability to recall it.
people or things are likely to distract you, and      7. Learn special techniques
stay away from temptations that will lure you         There are several techniques for memorizing
away from the task at hand.                           information. If you’re having difficulty
2. Be engaged                                         remembering material, consider using one of the
It’s harder to maintain a high level of               following four techniques: (i) associate: mentally
concentration if you’re unmotivated to learn          link the material to a person, object, or event (ii)
about the material/subject. Stay engaged by           use mnemonics: take the first letter of each item
choosing sides in an academic argument or by          in a category to form a word or sentence that
making a concerted effort to study something          you can remember easily (iii) visualize: try to
you’re interested in.                                 remember the way the information is presented
                                                      on the page (iv) recite: write it in your own words
3. Use a concentration counter
                                                      to help transfer material from your short-term to
You can actually help your mind to focus by
                                                      your long-term memory.
becoming consciously aware of those moments
when you’re having difficulty concentrating.          8. Survey first
While studying, monitor yourself by keeping           Research shows that knowing what material
a tally of every time you have a break in             is coming up next increases retention and
concentration. You’ll soon be amazed that the         improves memory. Before you begin an
number of breaks decreases just by being              academic reading, take a few minutes to survey
aware of your own natural tendencies.                 chapter headings, bolded terms, abstracts or
                                                      section summaries, main points, and other
4. Mix it up
                                                      general features of the text.
Your ability to concentrate and retain material
will improve significantly if you alternate periods   9. Use memory tools
of study or research with breaks. Rather than         Flash cards, a popular memory tool, are
committing to one long study session and trying       essentially cue cards that contain key pieces of
to absorb everything at once, spread the work         information. Flash cards are portable, can be
out over shorter sessions on different days.          used in combination with recitation techniques,
                                                      and can help students effectively learn
5. Choose the right time
                                                      definitions and/or formulas.
Some people prefer to work on assignments in
the mornings because they feel they have more         10. Review immediately
energy or there are fewer distractions. Others        Research has found that your short-term
like to work later in the day or in the evenings      memory has a limited capacity. The longer the
when they’ve had time to get themselves in the        time between hearing or reading information and
right frame of mind. Both your memory and your        reviewing it, the more you will forget. Review
ability to concentrate will improve if you choose     material within 24 hours of learning it to improve
a time to study when you know you are at your         your chances of remembering it later.
mental peak.


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posted:3/21/2011
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