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working memory

Memory tips

A variety of methods to improve your short term memory. By spacing out study sessions instead of cramming, to using cues and acronyms, following these tips will produce results.

Memory techniques


An acrostic is a another mnemonic device that helps in memory retrieval. It is a series of lines or verses in which the letters taken in a particular order spell out a word or phrase.


Every Good Boy Deserves Fun.

Here is a way for remembering the order of keys with sharps.


Good Donkeys Always Eat Big Fat Carrots.

Here is a useful sentence to memorize the geological ages.

Cambrian, Ordivician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceus

Camels Ordinarily Sit Down Carefully, Perhaps Their Joints Creak

Here is another useful phrase in geology to remember which is which.

Stalactites come from the top and stalagmites from the bottom

Here are a number of variations for remembering the correct spelling of necessary.

Never Eat Cake Eat Shiny Sandwiches And Remain Young.

Necessary - One Coffee, two Sugars

Necessary - One Collar, two Sleeves

Here are two rhymes for remembering the compass points North, East, South, West.

Never Eat Shredded Wheat.

Naughty Elephant Squirts Water


An acronym is a word formed from the initial letters of a name or by combining initial letters or parts of a series of words. For example DOS is a well know acronym for Disk Operating System.

You may create your own acronyms in order to remember a series of items, for example IPMAT is an acronym for the stages of cell division

Interphase Prophase Metaphase Anaphase Telephase


Information is memorized more easily if learning periods are spaced out rather than crammed into a few study sessions. More material will be memorized if learning is spaced out and frequent breaks are made than if the same information is repeated over and over again in one study session.


Cues are useful for behaviors that occur everyday. If there is something that you forget to do you may give yourself a cue that will help you remember what to do. For example you may say that whenever you go to sleep you must do your stretching exercises.

First time learning

It is important to learn something correctly during the first attempt as this will help in remembering how to do it properly when it is re visited. If it is learned the wrong way then the next time that it is attempted the same mistake may be made as the mind will simply be remembering the same incorrect method.

Test yourself

When learning new material it helps if you test yourself at the end rather that reading everything twice or three times. By testing yourself you can check what you have learned and therefore all that is left will be to read up on anything that you may have forgotten. It may also help to try to teach the information that you have just learned to a friend. This will reinforce the knowledge that you have memorized and will let you know which information has been forgotten.

Frequent study breaks

More efficient memory recall is achieved by taking frequent study breaks. This gives time for new facts and ideas to relate to each other and previously learned information. After each study break make a small review of what you have learned and as this will help to consolidate the information even more.

Frequent review

The highpoint of your recall occurs approximately 10 minutes after you have read something and this is when it should be first reviewed because it falls dramatically after that. The information is reinforced even more by making a second review after one day, a third review after one week and a fourth review after 1 month. If information is not reviewed at all most of it will be lost within one or two days.


Before reading an article or a book go through it quickly noting the main ideas and reading the summary and the conclusion. This will help you to link information as you read through the book and understand the details in each chapter. Also ask yourself what you expect to learn before you start reading. As you read through the book new concepts and ideas will be absorbed and remembered more easily if they are associated with these questions.

Remembering in context

When trying to remember something that is on the tip of your tongue try to remember the context in which you learned it for example where you were at the time and who was with you.

Regular exercise

Regular exercise increases blood flow to the brain and can greatly improve mental abilities including memory.

Education and learning

Memory can improve indefinitely with continued education and games that keep your brain sharp such as crossword puzzles. Learning new things and having new experiences can improve memory by strengthening the connections in the brain.