Wednesday, June 23, 2010

top ten revision tips

Assalamualaikum wbt,

I've got a goood grade (which is A*, alhamdulillah) for this assignment and think that I should share with others how to improve memory retention based on western research.

Tip 1: Give full attention (or as much as you can) when lecturer presenting materials.
People can selectively attend to particular sound while ignoring other sounds. When we actively attend the information we hear, we will able to retain the information more longer. In shadowing one of two simultaneous messages presented dichotically, participants are unable to report any of the content of the rejected message although the rejected message only consists of a short list of simple words repeated many times (Moray, 1959). Based on attenuator theory, unwanted stimuli will be turned down, thus allows us to selectively attend to high priority stimuli and recall more information in high stimuli. In addition, whether students will be able to maintain their attention during lectures depends on their working memory capacity as well as their motivation and arousal (Pashler,1998).

Tip 2: Revise your lecture notes frequently although just little because it is better than mass revision but rarely.
Bloom and Shuell (1981) tested high school students enrolled in a French course learned vocabulary words under conditions of either massed ( three units being completed during a 30 minute period on a single day) or distributed practice ( three 10-minute units on each of three successive days). Students who had learned in distributed practice performed better than students who had learned in massed practice. Thus it is better to revise little but frequent than lots but seldom because distribution of practice effect helps us to remember more. Spacing effect also provides explanation for this phenomena. It suggests memory is better for repeated
information if the repetitions occur spaced over time than if they occur massed, one after the other because spacing varies encoding and context effects which led to better recall (Medin, Ross & Markman, 2005).

Tip 3: Use visual imagery mnemonics.
When you want to remember a list of words, imagine vivid visual image that represent the words because imaginable words are more easily to memorise than those are not. Delin (1969) found that students that had instructed to make vivid mental images tended to remember the list of words better than students that only told to make mental images. Visual imagery establishes a more complex code of multiple connections between the two items, for example horse and chair, a preposition such as the horse sat in the chair will be encoded in memory which likely to increase memory recall (Medin, Ross & Markman, 2005).

Tip 4: Encode the meaning of your notes.
Humans will remember something better when it is meaningfulness to them. Meyers and Bodrick (1975) presented stories to students either in intact form or in a form that randomly rearranged. The findings showed that story intactness improved memory recall because participants able to understand the story meaning, thereby reducing the likelihood of new elements intruding in recall (Meyers & Bodrick, 1975).

Tip 5: Rehearse things you want to remember frequently.
Repeated rehearsing will pass information from short term memory to long term memory (Atkinson & Shiffin, 1983) thus information will be stored more longer and can be retrieved when needed. Based on forgetting curve (Ebbinghaus, 1885) information loss is very rapid at first and then will slow down unless rehearsing is done. In addition, elaborative rehearsal affects remembering better than maintenance rehearsal (Gardlner, Gawlick & Richardson-Klavehn, 1994).

Tip 6: Build positive mindset that your lecture notes are interesting.
Shirey and Reynolds (1988) found that adult readers allocate fewer cognitive resources to information that they rate as interesting, but recall the information much better. This finding can be explained by selective attention hypothesis, which suggest that extra attention will allocate to interesting information while less interesting information will be attenuated.

Tip 7: Know type of your test and prepare cues.
Once your understand type of test you will getting, you can prepare cues to aid memory recall, such as write down main points or ideas on cards to use as prompt. Hagen, Hargrave and Ross (1977) tested subjects in a short term recall test in two conditions: half of them were required to remember list of words and were prompted using card when needed while other half were rehearsed without prompting. Subjects who received prompt aid recalled better that subjects who do not receive prompt during rehearsing the words. Prompt acts as fragment of information that aid access to memory trace. Prompt also acts as retrieval cues, allow one to identify information that can not be accessible by providing extra information, thus help to trace inaccessible information and then allows information to be recalled (Baddeley. 1999).

Tip 8: Practice to elaborate your notes relevantly, not just simply remember them.
Stein, Morris and Bransford (1978) found that people are more likely to guess correct responses for the elaborative contexts provided in precise elaboration (e.g., the old man bought the paint to colour his cane) than the contexts provided in imprecise elaboration group (e.g., the old man bought the paint that was on the top shelf). Good elaboration provides relation between the target word to other information, thus helps memory retention.

Tip 9: Organise your notes hierarchically.
This tip really useful when you need to remember points with lot of subdivisions. This can be done using block diagram or mind map. Bower, Clark, Lesgold, and Winzenz (1969) presented category lists to subjects either randomly or in a hierarchically organised matter. The subjects recalled 2-3 times better using organized presentation, suggesting organization of the information greatly increase memory encoding. This is because block hierarchy diagram helps us to see complete presentation of topic and gives idea to us to retrieve information from memory.

Tip 10: Have a good and enough sleep.
Polzella (1975) tested subject in a probe-recognition short-term memory paradigm and found that recognition performance was generally impaired for each participant after 24 hours of sleep deprivation. This is because sleep deprivation increases the occurrence of lapses and periods of lowered reactive capacity which prevent the encoding of items in short term memory (Polzella, 1975). While Gais, Lucas and Born (2006) found that sleep following learning has a beneficial effect on declarative memory in human and that this effect is present when retrieval is postponed until after recovery sleep in the sleep deprivation condition.