What is the most common whine you hear from students (or husbands)? We knew everything so well until the crucial hour, but then we forgot everything. Why is it so difficult to retain what we learn? Is there a way to increase our retention power? The answer to those questions was given to us by an eminent psychologist – Ebbinghaus. His forgetting curve tell us that we forget more than 40% of things we learn in the first 20 minutes, after which the pace of forgetting slows down significantly. With proper tactics there are ways to increase your retention power and make considerable difference to your life. Here I present you 6 such ways through which you can increase your retention power.
6. Rehearsals and repetitions
It is quite popular trend among the students to keep the learning, especially of the subjects they detest, to the last moment and then try to read through the chapters and write exams. Unfortunately, no matter how smart a student is, preparing for a test by reading through the chapters once will give the student a retention rate of 20%. Rehearsals and repetitions are very crucial in increasing retention power. When it comes to retention nothing beats the classic repetition method. You can make repetitions interesting by writing it down, creating charts, singing or chanting what you are learning or reviewing the information in your own way.
Samuel Johnson says, “The true art of memory is the art of attention”. There is no retention without attention. Most of the husbands forget what their wives were saying because they were not paying attention to what was being said. Paying attention and being present consciously is crucial for retention power. You can improve your attention by making use of all different senses to observe what you are learning. Use your imagination to visualize what you are reading and also try to say it out loud so that you can hear it. Be involved with what you are doing; that way you can retain what you learn for a longer period of time.
4. PQRST Method
PQRST is nothing but taking rehearsals a step ahead by previewing, questioning, reading, stating and testing what you learn. PQRST methods give you better retrieval chances of what you learn as they provide you with multiple cues for recollection of information. This method works best for students who are preparing for an exam.
3. Do it the Write way
Taking down notes and writing what you intend to learn is one of the best strategies to increase your retention power. You don’t have to do it perfect, just use the language and words you understand to take down some notes. Use diagrams, charts, analogies and images to make your write up more appealing visually. Writing increases your retention power by nearly 30%, and there will be additional increase if you re-read and summarize the notes.
2. The LOCI technique
Loci are ways of enhancing retention power which has been in practice since the times of ancient Greeks. It is also known as memory palace, journey method and Roman Room since it mentally associates the items to be remembered with specific and familiar physical locations. Dominic O’Brien who holds record with his eight times World Memory Championship is known to use this technique. This leaves little doubt about the effectiveness of this technique in increasing your retention power.
1. Spaced Learning
Spaced learning is a simple technique that makes a huge difference to your retention power. When you try to remember too many things one after another, there is a lot of chance that you will forget everything. It is also difficult to concentrate and pay proper attention to a subject or information continuously. What you learn quickly will be forgotten quickly as well. Imagine eating your whole pizza at one gulp. Impossible, isn’t it? It is same with learning and retention as well. Divide the information into smaller chunks and store them in your memory for easier access later.