It is easier to memorize information when you break it up into small chunks.
This process of breaking up information into small significant amounts is called chunking. You may not notice it, but you use chunking in many situations, for example, when you memorize your friend’s cell phone number. It is easier to remember long numbers when you “chunk” them into groups of threes, fours, and fives. That’s because most people can only remember about three, four, or five bits of information at a time.
Here are suggestions on how you can use chunking to remember information as well as numbers.
• Chunk vocabulary words by grouping them into parts of speech or other attributes.
• Chunk history by time periods or events.
• Chunk foreign language by grouping words into categories like household items or occupations.
• If there is no pattern to the information you need to study, just group the items into three, four or five at a time, and that will help a lot.
Another learning strategy is to associate, or “connect,” each word or event with a person, place, thing, feeling, or situation. For example, you may connect what you are trying to learn with someone you know or with a movie character or scene. When you have to learn vocabulary words, just write the new words, write the definitions next to them, and then think of a person, thing, event, movie, or any strong association to help you remember the meaning of each word. For instance, “Jim Carrey is really funny.” (Funny means amusing, hilarious, entertaining, etc.)
Adapted from “Top 12 Memory Strategies for Better Grades”, by Linda Bress Silbert and Alvin J. Silbert. Available at . Accessed on April 19, 2016.
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