Are you one of those people that has trouble with names? Maybe you can’t keep track of details in movies or books and are constantly asking questions, trying to catch up. You remember things like your significant other’s birthday, but often lose your car in parking lots. There’s a reason that you’re forgetting these small details, but there’s a great way you can learn to remember everything!
How To Remember Everything
Hermann Ebbingus was a German psychologist whose work resulted in the development of scientifically reliable experimental methods for the quantitative measurement of memory . In the late 1870’s Ebbingus became interested in the workings of human memory and decided to study it experimentally.
Ebbingus created lists of nonsense words (consonant-vowel-consonant) like taz, bok, and lef. He used these nonsense syllables to assess pure learning, that is, learning free of meaning and the rate at which we forget . He used material of little to no meaning because he knew that learning new information is influenced by what we already know.
This led to the creation of what Ebbingus called the ‘Forgetting Curve’, the rate at which we begin to forget new information. Ebbinghaus discovered that a significant amount of information he learned was forgotten in 20 minutes; over half of the nonsense material he learned was forgotten within an hour. Although he forgot within a day almost two-thirds of the material he learned, retention of the material did not decline much beyond that period. In other words, if information is retained for a day, the knowledge was there to stay 
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In addition to the Forgetting Curve, Ebbingus also came up with another theory called, The Spacing Effect. This states that we learn things better and easier when we study it several times, spaced out over an extended period versus trying to learn something in a short period of time .
For example, cramming the night before a big speech or presentation might not be as effective as studying repeatedly for a week before. That being said, the Spacing Effect is used more for information you want to hold on to for a long period of time, but if you only want to store something in your memory for a short period, cramming could do the trick.
The Spaced Repetition Technique
So let’s combine both principles to help you remember everything, this is the Spaced Repetition Technique.
To Memorize Quickly
- 1st Repetition Right after learning
- 2nd Repetition After 15-20 minutes
- 3rd Repetition After 6-8 hours
- 4th Repetition After 24 hours
To Memorize For A Long Time
- 1st Repetition Right after learning
- 2nd Repetition After 20-30 minutes
- 3rd Repetition After 1 day
- 4th Repetition After 2-3 weeks
- 5th Repetition After 2-3 months
Other Tips For Remembering Things
If you still need a little extra help remembering things from your grocery list to a friend’s birthday, here are some more tips you can try out :
- Understanding what you’re learning makes it easier to recall the information from memory.
- Prioritize what you need to learn so you only remember the most necessary information.
- Take into consideration that things at the beginning and at the end are memorized easier, this is known as the serial positioning effect .
- Similar memories can get mixed together, so when remembering things, switch topics every so often. This is known as the interference theory .
- Opposites are easier to remember; for example if you’re learning a new language remember the words for day and night together.
- Use ‘nail’ words; the point of this technique is to nail one learned thing to another, so when you remember the ‘nail’, you remember the other piece of information.
- If you’re learning a new language, associate words with words that you already know to make them easier to remember.
- Visualize and use body language when learning something, this will trigger your muscle memory and make remembering easier.
Now that you have all these tools and tricks to remember everything, don’t forget to use them!
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