While rote learning is no longer in vogue and children today are taught through an inquiry based syllabus, having good memory is still a very important skill to possess. A student with good memory remembers what he or she learns in school, and eventually in life. Remembering what has happened and what one has learned lets your child draw on that reserve of knowledge to make plans and decisions in all aspects of his/her life — even outside of school and examinations. Thankfully, while some are born with better memory than others, memory is a skill that can be trained and improved on.
Here are five ways you can help your teenager boost his/her memory skills.
1) Write, don't type
The deeper the brain processes information the more likely a person is to remember it. We now have digital tools to help us make notes faster, such as typing, writing notes by hand and letting the brain process the information better. This actually helps with memory retention — especially if your teenager is making notes in his or her own words instead of copying what a tutor says. Rewriting the same information in a personal voice can help him or her better recall the notes that were taken down.
Humans are visual creatures, so being able to visualise subjects helps us recall them better. This is why we use colourful flash cards with young children. For teenagers, an effective and efficient way to visualise what they are learning is to use mind maps. Mapping topics out lets the brain consolidate, review, arrange and engage with the topic. The visual map it creates allows your teenager to see and understand the connection between each branch of information. This is way easier to recall a visual map than a page of text.
3) Read it out loud
Reading out loud is one of the oldest memory tricks. Studies have shown that talking or mouthing something — whether revision notes or somebody's phone number — helps people recall the information better. It is ideal to have your teenager read his/her notes out loud, and recite again with eyes off the page.
4) Give yourself time to forget
Start studying early, give it a few days, then look up the notes again and see which are the parts that were forgotten. Why were they forgotten? Is it for lack of understanding? Pay attention to those parts and review them again, make new notes, study at a different spot. Basically, plug the holes in the memory gaps.
This may sound counter-intuitive, but good sleep is crucial to forming memories. Long-term memory is formed during rest time, when the brain processes what happened during the day and stores it away. So your teenager needs to have enough quality sleep in order to remember what he or she revised during the day.