Memory tips? Memory aids? Advice on how to memorize things instanteous?

Mar 28, 2010
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I'm starting to realize that my memory is terrible, both short and long term. I try to actively pay attention and learn but everything starts to slowly or sometimes instantaneously slip away. I'm basically the type of guy that will forget someone's name a few minutes later.

Do you guys have any advice on improving memory? I know the whole mnemonics speil, and I do it whenever I can come up with one, but they're not practical on the fly.

Have you guys notice any supplements that can help improve memory? Zinc, B vitamins, antioxidants, omega 3-fatty acids?

A way to prep your brain into learning and hold on to information? A way to repeat things in your head that seem to work?

I'm desperately trying to find something that works. Thanks for any advice.
 

Isoprop

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Repetition. Try to use as many senses as possible (reading aloud and hearing you say it, highlight AND speaking, etc.).

Try to anchor information to previous material. When you come across new information, try to make sense of it from previous material.

You remember things better that you attach emotion to. Try to make the material, funny, sad, scary, exciting, gross, etc.

Mainly though, it's repetition. There's no shortcut.
 
OP
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Mar 28, 2010
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I wish I had the time to repeat everything, but I can never find time to review things in med school. Everyday they are loading me with new information and stuff to learn. And trust me I"m studying all day except when I sleep and eat. The only reason I have time to chat on this website right now is because of the midterm that I just took.

When I talk to my classmates they are on the same page with me. However, some people seem to have that "brilliant" type of memory. I'm wondering if there's any type of supplement or vitamin that I could take to be on par with them.

I mean what is memory? On a molecular level it's probably just the modification/formation of proteins in neurons. And considering that proteins are modified and created from enzymes that require cofactors and prosthetic groups made from vitamins and minerals, it seems plausible that increasing my vitamin levels and supplements may aid in there formation?

So has anyone every noticed their memory being aided from taking certain vitamin or minerals? Or, on the other hand, if their memory feels foggy and slow by not eating something?
 

deuist

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So has anyone every noticed their memory being aided from taking certain vitamin or minerals? Or, on the other hand, if their memory feels foggy and slow by not eating something?
Not from personal experience, but I hear that nicotine works via its interaction on the nicotinic receptors
 

naus

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I wish I had the time to repeat everything, but I can never find time to review things in med school. Everyday they are loading me with new information and stuff to learn. And trust me I"m studying all day except when I sleep and eat. The only reason I have time to chat on this website right now is because of the midterm that I just took.
You need to pick up your pace. There's no shortcut in the number of repetitions you need, but you can increase the pace of getting through each round of repetition. If you're doing it right, the third time going over your lectures should be very fast. If everything still seems really difficult and slow with your 3rd time seeing the material, then it's not your memorization that's a problem, it's your understanding and your inability to compartmentalize and organize your thoughts clearly.

People who memorize well are those who make connections while they learn, they don't just memorize dry facts, they memorize the reasoning and work from that. Very, very few people actually have photographic memory.
 
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I forced my self at the end of the day to go over the class notes for that day, even once. I had terrible handwriting, and so the process of copying my notes was a good learning tool, but may be less efficient for others.
 

fahimaz7

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I wish I had the time to repeat everything, but I can never find time to review things in med school. Everyday they are loading me with new information and stuff to learn. And trust me I"m studying all day except when I sleep and eat. The only reason I have time to chat on this website right now is because of the midterm that I just took.

When I talk to my classmates they are on the same page with me. However, some people seem to have that "brilliant" type of memory. I'm wondering if there's any type of supplement or vitamin that I could take to be on par with them.

I mean what is memory? On a molecular level it's probably just the modification/formation of proteins in neurons. And considering that proteins are modified and created from enzymes that require cofactors and prosthetic groups made from vitamins and minerals, it seems plausible that increasing my vitamin levels and supplements may aid in there formation?

So has anyone every noticed their memory being aided from taking certain vitamin or minerals? Or, on the other hand, if their memory feels foggy and slow by not eating something?
Most of us review the material at least 5 times. I think you are spending too much time trying to memorize stuff in your first pass. Make more passes, and spend less time trying to memorize and entire day's work at a time.
 

Everglide

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I wish I had the time to repeat everything, but I can never find time to review things in med school. Everyday they are loading me with new information and stuff to learn. And trust me I"m studying all day except when I sleep and eat.
Then you need to study "smarter" rather than "harder". Like everyone has said, it's all about repetition. There aren't any secrets like vitamins or pills (well maybe pills) other than being efficient with your studying. Seek help from your school or another source if you need it.
 
OP
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Thanks for the tips you guys. I'm going to try to incorporate the extra number of passes and not try to boggle down on memorizing it the first pass. I do try to make as many connections as possible when I study and I do find that it helps. It's really the time constraint that is hurting me.

My methods that worked in undergrad are definitely not working in med school. There's too much volume of material. Also, they ask the most nip picky things (like some random detail on a chart). I just have a hard time guessing what they might ask, so I end up memorizing everything. Or trying to at least.

But then again, we had one class that just asked the main ideas and the average was like a 94%... I guess the only way they can get a decent standard deviation is by asking crazy little details...
 

ucsfstudents

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Repetition is key. Also, figure out what your learning style is and use that to your advantage. For example, an auditory learner should try to record and listen to lecture a few times while a visual learner might have to review the syllabus and images a few times. Keep in mind that everyone is different. You might have a friend who can retain and recall the information after 1 pass. Do not fret if this is not you. Everyone has a different capacity for recall.
 

BTC

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Repetition and don't try to do too much at once. You aren't going to learn it all the first time so stop trying. Get through the material once with the goal of having an idea of what the lecture was about and have a good structural skeleton of what you need to know. I think a lot of people confuse learning and memorizing. Learn first, memorize and flush out the details on repeat passes.

Also, practice helps. You get better as you go.
 

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Most of us review the material at least 5 times. I think you are spending too much time trying to memorize stuff in your first pass. Make more passes, and spend less time trying to memorize and entire day's work at a time.

let's not make him feel too bad.

I know of almost no one who has time to make it through ALL the material 5x. that doesn't mean the time isn't there, I just also like to watch tv. 3x is more or less average for the majority of ppl I know. Maybe 4 for drugs which have a habit of not sticking in my head.

Try and leave some time, even if its only 30 minutes a day to review something, even if u don't make it through even one whole lecture. And save the majority of ure weekend for reviewing the previous week's material. that's 2x right there for you. Then, do ure third pass during the week leading up to your test.

My memory sucks too, this is the only way i've figured out a way to do it. Ill memorize everything the first day, and even if i don't remember it 5 minutes later, it is somewhere in my head, such that on the 2nd and 3rd pass, it really DOES start to stick
 

utk

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choline supplements can help with memory when combined with piracetam. This is also my escape plan from the nicotine gum. Nicotine effects acetylcholine and increases the amount of receptors you have. If the increased need is not met with an increased supply of raw material, then they will atrophy.

Gum is a simple trick for memory. Chew 1 flavor the whole time you study and pop that same flavor in for the test. Works even better if its caffeine gum. Memory isn't localized in only one area, its spread all over. The more senses you incorporate with your learning, the stronger the LTP will be.

Buy one of those mini notebooks and recopy and condense all your notes within it. Make tape tabs and label them so you can have a quick reference. The mere act of writing something down increases LTP even if it is not reviewed.

Glucose is our friend too, eat some complex carbs while studying and before test. Glucose is brain food.

Instead of 1 5 hour study session it is better to have 5 different 1 hour study sessions.

mnemonics can also greatly improve recall especially if they are funny. The ancient greeks used to use this to improve their story telling abililties.

Also try to reduce your stress and just concentrate at the task on hand in pieces. Dont look at it as a whole and freak out. Epinephrine is like shrink wrap to the brain. Perspective is a powerful tool in changing the outcomes in your life.

SLEEP is the filing cabinet of the brain. Without it you cant store your memories correctly. You will be a jumbled mess with no context if you don't get good sleep. If you can't get it without aid try 5-HTP, there is also some anecdotal evidence that 5-HTP improves memory.

I am just a community college student getting ready to transfer into premed, but I know a good amount about the brain. Currently reading a book called receptors by Richard M Restak M.D and I recommend it if you wish to understand brain chemistry further.

 
Aug 13, 2010
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Ritalin. Though, depending on where you live, this may be illegal to obtain. Works wonders where I'm at. Well, back to studying, I'm "in the zone"
 
May 17, 2010
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I bought a 10-pack of cheap, sparkly little girl gel pens and use them to make diagrams or pictures of concepts. For anatomy, colored pencils and printed-out coloring sheets saved my bacon! (The muscles innervated by the median nerve are now forever imprinted in my brain as "yellow") Find out what kind of learner you are, and work with that. I'm obviously a visual learner, so using colors, diagrams, and pictures helps me, but not everyone's the same. Try different things and see if one really helps!
 

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Ritalin. Though, depending on where you live, this may be illegal to obtain. Works wonders where I'm at. Well, back to studying, I'm "in the zone"
strong user name to post content ratio
 
Jan 31, 2010
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i'm starting to realize that my memory is terrible, both short and long term. I try to actively pay attention and learn but everything starts to slowly or sometimes instantaneously slip away. I'm basically the type of guy that will forget someone's name a few minutes later.

Do you guys have any advice on improving memory? I know the whole mnemonics speil, and i do it whenever i can come up with one, but they're not practical on the fly.

Have you guys notice any supplements that can help improve memory? Zinc, b vitamins, antioxidants, omega 3-fatty acids?

A way to prep your brain into learning and hold on to information? A way to repeat things in your head that seem to work?

I'm desperately trying to find something that works. Thanks for any advice.
nzt
 

Shadowmoses

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repitition more or less, and also when you go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning go through the material again. you brain will be much sharper after the sleep and things will sink in easier. i usually spend an about an hour before classes reviewing in the morning.
 
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Try a supplement called Focus-Xt. It is just caffeine with some nootropics like Tyrosine, Choline, etc.
 

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honestly taking good care of yourself like eating properly, getting enough rest, and trying to get enough rest is going to be the most solid foundation.. it sounds impossible but it's doable if you plan. Too many med students I think self-haze themselves because they think "that's what you do." If it's specific classes you might talk to those profs to see if anyone before had similar problems and how they studied to pass.

My big thing in medschool was reorganizing the information like I was going to write a review book for publication. Added bonus was studying for finals was easier because I had a review and I knew what worked for the class and what didn't

Just keep your head up and realize that one day that BS factoid is only going to be relevant if you are the world's foremost expert on Grackelguber's syndrome.
 

Staradmiral

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Use all modalities of memory beyond simple repetition.
To help me remember things I will memorize different names or disease w/e in different voices. Such as the word "omphalocele" is memorized in my brain in a high pitched childhood voice" which reminds me that it is a congenital disorder.

I use visual memory, when i read a new disease and it says it occurs more often in males then in females then I will picture a male and name him that disease and I will draw on him the symptoms, like hypertension would be illustrated with a cuff around his arm.

The most difficult thing to memory for me is drugs or diseases named after "egotistical" people. I usually rename them to my liking. Forexample in my brain i have written down "wilm's kidney tumour" NOT wilm's tumour. Oddi's hepatopancreaticoduodenal sphincter, houston's transverse rectal valves" etc

Also if you paid attention in neurophysiology then remember that REM sleep is important for the formation of long term memory. Staying up till 3am cramming for an exam will get you by the exam, but your long term retention of the material willl be poor.
 

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How did you quit? or plan to quit?

I'm usually a social smoker but I'm just sick of it and I don't want to do it anymore. But I find myself slipping into the same habit every time I go out with friends on a night out.
 

MediCynical

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How did you quit? or plan to quit?

I'm usually a social smoker but I'm just sick of it and I don't want to do it anymore. But I find myself slipping into the same habit every time I go out with friends on a night out.
Buy nicotine gum, seriously. I bought some and started bringing it with me when I went to clubs/bars. Pop a piece in and you'll quit thinking about cigarettes within 2 minutes (at least that's how it is for me)

Oh, and I started doing lots of cardio.
 

tco

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Most of us review the material at least 5 times. I think you are spending too much time trying to memorize stuff in your first pass. Make more passes, and spend less time trying to memorize and entire day's work at a time.
At least here, as an MSII, there's no way that anyone reviews their notes five times. First year, yes, but not second year.

I review three times, and, apparently, I'm in the vast minority. Many people only cover their notes twice, and once for a few of the lectures.

I feel that many programs have completely lost touch with what's important. Here, they put so many darn tables in the lectures and say, "You can read it just as easy as I can," and move on that it's impossible to review the tables and the notes multiple times.

OP - What I wished I had done this year:
Use First Aid while reviewing the first pass. This will tell you what is absolutely essential in the lectures on the day of the lectures. Skim through first aid pertaining to those sections again before going to bed. Simply the "main" word recognition again will help.
Do not fall behind. Review the day's lectures on that day. If you have extra time, go back and review earlier material again.
On the weekend, either read in your texts pertaining to the material lectured on, or review the lectures again. It depends on what class you're in (meaning: don't read for classes like biochem, but do read for pathology).

Most of all, don't get anxious about it. Stress is horrible for the memory. Good luck, and keep positive!

Add:

If you're more worried about board studying, you might want to try Gunner Training. It uses spaced learning, which I've found excellent for the material that I've been able to cover in it so far...
 
Jul 29, 2009
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I'm starting to realize that my memory is terrible, both short and long term. I try to actively pay attention and learn but everything starts to slowly or sometimes instantaneously slip away. I'm basically the type of guy that will forget someone's name a few minutes later.

Do you guys have any advice on improving memory? I know the whole mnemonics speil, and I do it whenever I can come up with one, but they're not practical on the fly.

Have you guys notice any supplements that can help improve memory? Zinc, B vitamins, antioxidants, omega 3-fatty acids?

A way to prep your brain into learning and hold on to information? A way to repeat things in your head that seem to work?

I'm desperately trying to find something that works. Thanks for any advice.
No quick fixes, ever. If someone tells you a solution or quick fix that seems too good to be true, its not.

This is how I learn...
1- Fear
2- Repetition