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Unit 8: Using and Improving Your Memory Skills   This short unit focuses exclusively on improving your memory skills. Memorization is an interesting problem for the college student because, unlike in high school, just knowing a list of facts is unlikely to be the end goal of your learning. You will need to memorize information in college, but primarily so that you have access to this information in order to perform the higher-level thinking skills that will be discussed in Unit 5 of this course.
 
Because memorization is a common study skill for high school subjects, you may already have specific strategies that you employ. Nonetheless, as with the other critical undergraduate skills of listening, note-taking, reading, and writing, you can improve your memorization skills by studying the advanced memorization techniques discussed in this unit.

Unit 8 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take you approximately 4.25 hours:

☐    Subunit 8.1: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 8.2: 0.75 hour
 
☐    Unit 8 Assessment: 0.75 hours

Unit8 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - identify what aspects of your studies are the most important to remember; - differentiate between short-term and long-term memory; - describe simple exercises that can improve your memory retention; and - explain different memorization strategies, including types of mnemonic devices.

8.1 Review Information to Remember It   8.1.1 How Memory Works (The Brain Science of Memory and Short-Term vs. Long-Term Memory)   - Lecture: YouTube: The Saylor Foundation: Becky Samitore-Durand’s “Memory: A Bad Thing to Waste” Link: YouTube: The Saylor Foundation: Becky Samitore-Durand’s “Memory: A Bad Thing to Waste” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Watch this video and take notes. This resource also covers the topic outlined in subunit 8.1.2, which covers short-term vs. long-term memory.
 
Watching this lecture and taking notes should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. It is attributed to Becky Samitore-Durand, and the original version can be found here.

8.1.2 Tips for Putting Information in Long-Term Memory   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 4, Section 4.5: Remembering Course Materials” Link: College Success“Chapter 4, Section 4.5: Remembering Course Materials” (PDF)
 
Instructions: In Section 4.5, read the text underneath the headings entitled “The Role of Memorizing in Learning” and “How Memory Works.” Attempt the “Just for Fun” and “Exercise Your Memory” activities.
 
Reading these sections and completing these activities should take you approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

8.1.3 Using Mnemonic Devices   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 4, Section 4.5: Remembering Course Materials” Link: College Success“Chapter 4, Section 5: Remembering Course Materials” (PDF)
 
Instructions: In Section 4.5, read the section titled “Using Mnemonics.” Then, attempt the Creative Memory Challenge, and make sure to complete the checkpoint exercises at the end of the section.
 
This material also covers the topics outlined in subunits 8.1.3.1-8.1.3.4 below.
 
Reading this section and completing the exercises should take approximately 45 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

8.1.3.1 Acronyms   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.1.3 above. Focus on the section with the subheading titled “Acronyms” to review how you can use acronyms to help recall information. In thinking about acronyms, consider the many organizations that use acronyms to simplify a longer title, such as United States government organizations like NASA (The National Aeronautics and Space Administration) or world-wide organizations like the UN (The United Nations). Jot down a list of common acronyms in your academic journal. Reading this textbook section and completing the notebook question should take approximately 15 minutes.

8.1.3.2 Acrostics   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.1.3 above. Focus on the paragraph starting with “Acrostics” to review how you can use this device to help recall information. Pay particular attention to the examples provided for memorizing musical notes or the order of the solar system’s planets. Consider any other acrostics that you may already be familiar with, and write these down in your notebook as examples. Reading this textbook section and completing the notebook question should take approximately 15 minutes.

8.1.3.3 Rhymes   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.1.3 above. Focus on the paragraph starting with “Rhymes” to review how you can use rhyming as a device to help recall information. Consider the examples provided about familiar ways in which rhymes are used to memorize factual information. Can you think of any times in your own academic career when you have used rhyme to aid your memory? Write these down in your notebook as examples. Reading this textbook section and completing the notebook question should take approximately 15 minutes.

8.1.3.4 Jingles   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 8.1.3 above. Focus on the paragraph starting with “Jingles” to learn how the use of catchy music may help you recall information. Can you think of any advertisements that used a jingle to help make a product more memorable? Consider how you can use this device as you study. Write down any jingles that you remember in your notebook as examples. Reading this section and completing the journal question should take approximately 15 minutes.

8.1.4 Active Reviewing Techniques   - Lecture: Dartmouth College Academic Skills Center’s “Academic Success Videos: Strategic Learning” Link: Dartmouth College Academic Skills Center’s “Academic Success Videos: Strategic Learning” (QuickTime Video)
 
Instructions: Watch this video to learn three steps in the learning process: exposure, review, and practice. Especially note the active reviewing techniques covered at the end of the video.
 
Watching this lecture and taking notes should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

8.2 Exercises to Improve Memory and Retention   - Web Media: Lumosity’s “Basic Training” Link: Lumosity’s “Basic Training” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Test your memory skills with this website. You will need to create a free, private account to access the resource. This is a great website (and free unless you want to keep exploring it past the free options) to improve your memory skills. Click on the large orange button titled “Start Training.” Next, choose which areas you want to work on. Once you have completed this training, complete the registration process. The progress beaker in the upper right corner will fill up to 100% when you are done. Next, you will be given three beginning tests. Take the tests, and record or print your results to use in the activity assigned below.
 
Completing this assignment should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Activity: The Saylor Foundation: Becky Samitore-Durand’s “Memory Tests” Link: The Saylor Foundation: Becky Samitore-Durand’s “Memory Tests” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Complete this activity based on your previous training on the Lumosity website and your textbook readings. Answer the activity questions to review your coursework in this unit.
     
    Completing this activity should take approximately 30 minutes.

Unit 8 Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Memory Skills” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Memory Skills” (HTML)
 
Instructions: This review quiz covers topics and terms that are related to using and improving your memory skills during college. If you feel comfortable sharing your memorization and recall strategies, consider posting your insights on the Try College 101 Discussion Board after you finish.
 
Completing this assessment should take approximately 15 minutes.