Advice for the Memory Intensive Course

Not every course is as tough as the next. Some require little more than faithful attendance to pass.  This is especially true of many general education courses taken during your freshman year.  But there are others that are killer courses. These are usually the ones that make you memorize a ton of material from lectures, textbooks and your notes.

But memory-intensive courses don’t have to bring down your GPA.  You can improve your memory of exam items through what is called the Memory Cloud.

Here’s how it works.  As you study for your exam, make sure that you read the material two or more ties to ensure that you understand and have totally absorbed the material.  From your reading, create a list that outlines the most important points in the material.  The second time you read the material, your brain will naturally more easily absorb this important information.

Now expand the list by adding more points.  Read again and your brain will more easily absorb these new points….and then you look for new points to add to your growing cloud.

After you’re sure you’ve finished reading and taking notes, create labels for all significant points.  Rewrite the list in an ascend / descend order, with the most important items at or near the top.  Number these items, because as you do so, your brain will associate each item with a number, giving you an improved chance of remembering that information.

Finish your cloud by drawing in a physical cloud.  Try to give it a distinctive shape that will be easy to remember. The cloud will serve as an additional aid to bring the points back to your remembrance.  The cloud works on several levels.  First, the act of taking notes and then re-reading solidifies information in your brain. The numbering adds another memory tag, and the visual element of the distinctive cloud gives you something to try to recall as you take the exam.

There are some memory techniques that work well with groups. The Cloud is not one of them.  That’s because it relies on you taking notes on what YOU considered important. Plus it relies on you creating a cloud image that is memorable to you.  This takes some practice, but once you get the hang of the memory cloud, you’ll find yourself coming back to the memory cloud over and over again.


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