How to improve memory

May 16, 2008

Memory has never been my strong point. It’s something I’ve struggled with all of my life. That problem slowly crept up again my first month of learning in C#(web development). I listed to .net podcasts in the morning, read C# books at lunch and practiced code at night but for some reason I was not getting it. I even quit drinking so that I could soak in what I was learning (maybe the drinking was the reason it’s hard for my to retain things).

After a while I became frustrated because I wasn’t wrapping my head around C# so I decided to take a few days to find a better way of learning. I came across an interesting article about memory. I warn you the article is kinda long, but I’ll sum up the most important facts about it for you.

What you should know about Memory

“Long-term memory, the Bjorks said, can be characterized by two components, which they named retrieval strength and storage strength. Retrieval strength measures how likely you are to recall something right now, how close it is to the surface of your mind. Storage strength measures how deeply the memory is rooted. ”

Pace your self. Instead of cramming you learn best in spaced time intervals. I noticed that if I learn one subject on Monday I should study it again the following Monday, then two weeks later to retain it into memory. Doing so, makes sure what you learned sticks in memory.

After two months of trying this technique I not only wrapped my head around C# but I’m writing algorithms and software. I’m now into the more advanced features of C# such as generics.

Keep in mind this technique might not work for everyone. I tried telling a friend about how he can learn Chinese allot faster by utilizing the memory technique of pacing himself two weeks ago. When I asked him about how he was doing with it, he told me he can’t remember.