Throughout the day we are confronted with a large amount of information , which bombards us continuously and which we must process in order to be able to adapt to the environment.

Much of this information is not very relevant except when it appears, but sometimes it can be useful to keep it in your memory. For example, at the academic level we are asked to capture, maintain and retain in memory the data we receive.

But in order to memorize something it is usually not enough to expose oneself once to such information: just hearing a few words or reading a few lines will not hold them back unless they have marked us deeply. It is also desirable that the process of memorization does not take forever, but is efficient and allows space for our attention to be directed to new elements.

How to memorize quickly? Throughout this article we are going to propose a series of different strategies that can serve to accelerate and facilitate the retention of information.

Quick Memorizing: Strategies and Procedures

There are many elements that influence our ability to encode and retain information. And some of these elements can be manipulated to favour learning . Next we will see a series of possible methods or procedures to help us memorize.

1. Review the information

One of the basics of learning and memorizing something is to get this information into our minds several times. With a single presentation it is very complex to keep something in memory , unless it has a deep emotional impact. Review and repetition serve to reinforce the imprint that this information leaves on our memory, in some cases even becoming automatic.

This is especially useful for information that is unrelated to each other or that we cannot link to other knowledge of our everyday life, such as a list of words or multiplication tables, but it is also applicable to other types of information.

2. Make outlines and summaries

Simply reading a text and waiting for it to be recorded in memory can be a slow and inefficient process. It is advisable to make summaries of the content dealt with and even outlines in which to synthesize and organize the information. This allows us to work at a mental level with the information, processing and manipulating it in such a way that we make it understandable for ourselves .

3. Read and repeat aloud

Various studies show that compared to simply reading in silence, it is more effective and efficient to memorize the fact of verbalizing what we are reading, since we work on it not only at a visual level but also at an auditory and motor level .

4. Explain to someone else

It may be advisable to make a small presentation or explanation to another person of the content that we have to memorize. In a similar way to the previous point, the fact of working mentally with the information to put it in our own words and express it contributes to the fact that we can make sense of what we have learned, something that undoubtedly favors a faster and more efficient memorization.

5. Employs multiple pathways

When we think of studying or memorizing something, we probably get the image of someone staring at the same information always presented in the same way. Although repetition of information is necessary, it can be helpful if the material is presented in multiple ways. However, with some constancy and caution, because if each repetition is different this can cause a prejudice when focusing on the content itself.

In addition, using different paths will make it easier for people who have more facility for a particular type of memorization to increase their chances and the speed at which they learn (there are people, for example, who retain visual information more than verbal information or vice versa, or for whom pictograms or drawings work better than letters).

6. Uses metaphors, acronyms, and abbreviations

A good strategy that facilitates the memorization of a content is not to limit oneself to representing it as it is, but to try to generate metaphors with the concepts or to join the initials or parts of the words to be learned to form a new one that is shorter and more easily memorized .

7. Create your own story

Another method that facilitates the quick memorization of some type of information is to look for a relationship between the different concepts to be retained and to elaborate a small story or even a single sentence that contains both. In this way the memory of one will elicit that of the other.

8. Relate the new to the old

Another strategy for learning, and one that in fact is often carried out naturally during the learning process that we most easily carry out , is that of linking the new information to be memorized with previous knowledge or experiences. This helps to make sense of the information and to give it a meaning.

9. Find a flattering place

Context is important in facilitating or hindering the learning process. In order to encourage memorization, it is advisable to look for an environment with an adequate light intensity and if possible a natural one , with a comfortable temperature and in which we can maintain a comfortable but not excessively lax posture. It is also important that no other distracting elements are present (mobiles, screens or consoles out of reach) and that sufficient space is available.

10. Context-dependent memory

Various studies show that the conditions in which we acquire knowledge also influence our memory: when we receive information in a certain place or under certain circumstances, it is easier to remember it when these conditions are recreated. For example, if we learn something underwater it is much easier to recall it on a new dive than on the surface. That is why it is always useful to study in a space similar to that of the situation in which we are going to apply this knowledge .

11. Link information to something you are passionate about

Although it is not always possible, it can be very useful to relate what we want to learn to something that generates interest and satisfaction. In this way the knowledge to be memorized can be more easily retained by linking it to the positive emotions related to our hobby. For example, people who like theatre may benefit from a small theatrical performance that integrates what they have to memorize.

12. Take regular breaks

Many people spend long hours looking at and reviewing the material to be learned, and may even spend sleepless nights trying to memorize. Although it’s not bad to elbow your way through the material, it has been shown that studying for hours on end is not as efficient as taking short breaks for a few minutes to disconnect and relax and then start studying again.

Obviously, it should not be abused either: perhaps a break every hour lasting about five minutes could go well, although it will depend on the pace of work and whether it does not break a particular moment of concentration.

13. Basic requirement: Eat and sleep properly

In order to learn and maintain a good functioning and mental efficiency it is necessary to maintain a sufficient quantity and quality of sleep that allows us to regenerate and replenish our energies . The same can be said with respect to nutrition: eating well will help us to have energy and favour mental functioning.

Bibliographic references:

  • Sara, S. J. (2000). Retrieval and reconsolidation: toward a neurobiology of remembering. Learning & Memory, 7(2), 73-84.