The dawn of the digital age has been no good for memory. Quick access to facts has made us less able to retain information and in greater need of learning how to get the most out of our minds than ever before.
From studying, to preparing for a speech or remembering names, there are various techniques to help supercharge your memory – an invaluable asset when the time comes to get revising for A-levels. We caught up with memory guru Tony Buzan to find out the best ways to solve everyday memory problems.
1. The contents of a speech
Use a colourful mind map. In a half-hour speech there are normally only a maximum of 25 keywords. Make those branches go clockwise so you remember the order.
2. The lines of a poem or play
Repetition is really important, and so is reading it passionately. Read it as a story – visualise it. Use rhythm, energy, motion and emotion.
3. The contents of books
Again, a mind map can help here. Try having different branches for things like themes, vocabulary, setting and characters.
4. Appointments or deadlines
There’s a system for scheduling used by advanced memory technique users, but a mind map is a very easy way to keep on top of things.
5. The name of someone you’ve just met
Look at the person’s face, and try to associate the face with the name. Use their name about five times in conversation.
6. An historical date
Use the “major” system, in which numbers are pegged to a consonant sound. When you have more than one number, you can make words out of the consonants. Here’s an example: 1666, the Great Fire of London. Drop the 1 if you already know which millennium we’re talking about. In the major system, a 6 can be a soft G – or a “sh”. So 666 could be “ash, ash, ash!”
7. A password
You can memorise a password by associating each letter and number with an object. So if there’s a B, that could stand for “banana”, and if there’s a number 5, you could associate that with a hive because of the rhyme. Create an imaginative narrative involving each association in turn and you’ll have no problem remembering it.