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Memory and Recall

Author: Pencil Case  Date: 13 June 2018

Brain connections = Capability

What happens to your muscles the more you exercise them? They get fitter, faster and stronger. Your brain is the same, the more you use it, challenge it, and make it work, the better it becomes. Just like muscle fibres thicken with exercise, the number and strength of neural connections in your brain increases.

You don't have to be reading a book or sitting at a desk for this to happen though. You can exercise your brain all the time in two easy ways. One, is becoming more observant, and the other is by continuously asking yourself the questions "what does this mean?" and "do I understand this?" The more actively you put your brain into things the better it will become at working hard.

Memory techniques are designed to make it easier for our brains to remember. Recall techniques make it easier for our minds to bring up the information we require. Memory and recall are like a horse and cart i.e. they always go together. Sometimes, when we get into an exam or test our mind goes totally blank and we can’t remember even simple information. This is caused by two main factors: 1) We haven’t taught ourselves to store information properly, and 2) we haven’t trained our brains to recall information when under pressure.

Our memories store information in a similar way to a computer

Computers store information in folders and files. A folder is a link to other information, and a file actually contains the information we require. For example, a student named John wants to open his history assignment on the computer. First he double clicks on the "John" folder. This displays all the general folders within John's stored information. He then clicks the school work folder. That opens showing folders for all of John's subjects. John then clicks on history and opens that folder. Finally, he clicks on assignments to reveal all the assignments he has done in the past and clicks on the file containing his current assignment.

Our mind works the same way. How many times have you tried to remember a famous person's name but can't. As soon as you hear the first letter of their first name all the information you ever knew about them comes flooding back. You always had the memories, you just needed that first folder to open to start retrieving the information.

Activity

I want you to think back to one of your favourite birthdays as a child. How old were you? What were you wearing? What gifts did you receive? By starting with a reference point, lots of other 10 year old information comes flooding back.


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