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3 strategies to improve memory and study skills


It's the perfect time to think about implementing some new study strategies before the school year starts. Psychologist Kenneth Higbee, author of "Your Memory and How It Works,'' recommends the following:

1. Space it out. The brain remembers better when it's given information in small doses — like three one-hour study sessions rather than one three-hour study session.

2. Use whole and part learning. If you need to learn a large chunk of material, is it better to learn it straight through or should you learn small pieces at a time? Higbee recommends employing both, reading the whole section through once or twice to get a basic understanding before breaking it into smaller parts to learn each one in detail.


3. Use a study system. A study system is simply a standard method of approaching the study of any material. One of the best known methods is the SQ3R: Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review. To survey, read the various structural parts quickly without digging too deep.

After that, study the sections in great detail, and then recite by going through headings and subheadings in the textbook and saying what you know from memory. The final review shouldn't take that long, perhaps a few minutes of each study session.

Deborah Kotz can be reached at dkotz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @debkotz2.