Be Advised ISU Central Academic Advising


Improving Memory & Concentration


Memory Tips

  1. To grasp new information: sit as close to the speaker as you can; take notes; read assignments before class so you will know what to listen for; repeat information both orally and silently to increase memorization.
  2. Organize your information: use codes or rhymes to help trigger information; create a mental picture of what you are studying; learn by "rote," which is just repeating the material over and over.
  3. To remember new material: say the answers out loud when studying; learn a little each day (don't cram); paraphrase the material to understand it better.

Concentration Tips

  1. Set aside a place where you will study that has minimum distractions. Eliminate any distractions that you can, and make the environment comfortable.
  2. Make sure you have all your materials when you sit down to study: this may include pencils, pens, calculator, textbooks, paper, research materials, etc.
  3. "Pencil technique" - always study with a pencil in your hand. Rewrite what you have read, your notes, key points, and questions.
  4. Set time limits and stop studying before you are too tired to achieve the best concentration and retention.
  5. Vary the activity - read for awhile, then take some notes. Do a worksheet, then outline a paper.
  6. Build in breaks! Give yourself incentives - if you finish a big research paper, give yourself a break and go visit friends, or at least do some homework that is more interesting.

Check out this article on Improving Memory Retention (Thank you, Ashlie) for more tips!