Saturday, February 21, 2015

Study Tips to Improve Memory

The following is a (collaborative) guest post from Mentoring Minds. (See Disclosure.)

Whether studying for a spelling test in elementary school or the final examination in a college class, everyone must spend time studying at some point in their lives. Most parents are well aware how difficult it is to get children to study and, for some students, studying does not always lead to success. Test anxiety can be difficult for some students and there are some who have difficult retaining what they do study. These tips, some of which are unique, can help students improve their memory and help them improve scores.

Reward Yourself with Treats

If studying requires reading textbooks, place a small treat on each paragraph (such as Starburst, M&Ms or gummy bears). When the child finishes the paragraph, give the next treat. Place the treat so that the words in the center of the paragraph are covered to encourage the child to begin reading the next paragraph before getting the treat.

Teach Others

Experts say that the best way to know if you have learned a subject well is to try to teach it to others. College or high school students can try to teach parents or siblings some of the concepts they are learning. Set up a classroom for elementary students with stuffed animals, dolls, or other ‘students’ as well as parents and have them “teach” their spelling words, math problems, or history lessons to someone else. Blow the dust off your video camera (or just use your smartphone) and have your child make a video tutorial. Just point it at your child while he/she explains a concept. Then upload it to a video sharing site such as SchoolTube and share it with others, so they can benefit from the explanation. Here's an example of an easy way to make a video tutorial. Thanks to David Fisher and his students for this timeless example.

Create an Association

Steve Jobs often said that “Creativity is just connecting things.” When people are able to connect things they are able to retain the information more easily. When students must learn vocabulary words, connect the word to something that they will remember. For example, the word ‘arduous’ means difficult. If the child remembers it as something silly like “harduous” they may retain the information more easily.
Use Blocking Apps

There are many apps available that will allow students to block distracting websites, such as social media or email. High school and college students benefit most from apps that block sites that can easily distract them. Consider downloading a blocking app in order to keep minds from wandering. Here's a couple to get you started.


Although they are often considered “old school” for studying, flashcards are still an excellent way for students to learn new information or refresh information they have already learned. Use 3x5 or 4x6 index cards, write the question on one side and the answer on the other. The student views the question while someone else views the answer. Students can even use them to study alone by placing them on a table with the answer side down. If you prefer (and I do) use online flashcards. Here's a list of some great online flashcard sites where you can create, and share, your own. Thanks to Richard Byrne over at for curating the best stuff on the web.

Documentary or Mini Series

Today, many networks and studios are creating documentaries, movies, and mini-series on historical events. In addition, many networks, such as Discovery, SciFi and others like Netflix, Hulu, and other on-demand apps, often carry documentaries on educational subjects. Consider watching one in order to get a better grasp of the subject matter, whether it is Tudor England or physics. Don't stop there! Have your child recreate an historical moment and record it on video. Ask "What if" questions such as "What would the United States be like if the North did not win the Civil War?" or "What would be different about our world if people were not allowed to create art?"

These simple tips can help students increase their memory and help them improve their test scores. For more information on learning, visit
Mentoring Minds online today.

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