Memory - The Short & Long Terms of It


Types of Memory

There are several definitions and types of memory.

Sensory memory pertains to all the things that are going on around you. Those that you choose to give your attention to - even for seconds at a time, are stored in the short term memory. Some researchers believe they are stored for seconds as exact photographs or icons (iconic memory) or even as an auditory echo in our brains (echoic memory). Items are stored for several seconds to as much as 30 seconds in the short term memory.

If we rehearse them - or repeat the information - such as a license plate number or a phone number, it can stay there longer.

Chimp Beat Humans In STM Tasks!

Short Term Memory Loss

Many people have experienced the problem where they run upstairs to retrieve something and by the time they get there - they have already forgotten what it is they were going to do. This is a short term memory issue.

Short term memory loss can be due to many factors. The main reasons are due to:

  • damage to the brain
  • diseases
  • inattention
  • stress

Most of the time focusing on something is what is necessary to retain short term memories. If we pay attention to something we will remember it much better. Something that is dramatic or exciting will stay in the memory much better because we were so absorbed with it at the time we learned the information.

I was responsible for a patient in a sleep lab one evening and he had been struck on the head several years prior to our sleep study. The resulting damage was that he was unable to store short term memories. It was one of the longest nights of my career. This man was extremely intelligent and even knew that I was using a water column manometer to measure air pressure. I learned he had been an engineer before he had the head trauma.

Once he suffered the head injury he could no longer form short term memories. Information that had been stored in his long term memory was still there and could be recalled but no matter how simple the task or information that I was trying to relay to him now - it could not be remembered.

I had the same conversation with him over and over again. Mr. Short Term Memory would inform me that he didn't want CPAP, he lived with his cat and the cat didn't care if he snored. The study did not end well, since apnea triggered frequent awakenings, he spent more time telling me the same story than he did sleeping. The study was a bust.


Storage of Information

If we have a stimulus and we focus and pay attention it is much more likely that we will be able to recall the information when we need it. Think of the brain as a giant Rolodex of information on cards. If we want to remember a thing - we must first properly process and encode the information. For example, if information is stored in our long term memory it must have the proper key or tag words for optimal retrieval.

Have you ever studied for a test and you simply can not remember the correct answer to a question you know that you studied for? Many times if you pass up the question and continue the exam, a later question may trigger the answer for you. This is a great example of information that you have stored in your brain but didn't encode as well so when you attempt to retrieve the information - the tag word or the card in the Rolodex were improperly filed in your brain. By exploring other areas you may run across the information if you trigger the correct code word for your brain. For example, the person that is taking the test may come to a question that triggers the answer they thought they had lost. The information is in the brain! You just have to find it sometimes.

Tips for test takers!

I took a class in college in memory and cognition. I used these tips that I learned to effectively help me study and pass exams with high scores.

  • use yellow highlighter on text
  • read your notes just before you go to sleep at night (don't cram just read it and focus)
  • space out your study sessions and take frequent short breaks (research proves that we remember the information we study at the beginning and end of study sessions, better than the information in the middle)
  • rather than having long cram sessions - I found that if I read the information several times while relaxing I could recall the information better
  • don't be afraid to ask your instructor what information will be emphasized on the test
  • take good notes
  • re-write the information or write summaries
  • remember things in chunks (four to nine bits of information can be stored in STM at one time)
  • visualize information (try to imagine it as a photograph)
  • read and say the information aloud (auditory memory)
  • listen to music while you study (relax while you study)
  • study the most important parts first and add details as you go
  • make sure you understand the information well
  • if you are having problems associate a rhyme or tag word
  • sing the information into lyrics you can remember (try not to sing out loud during the test!)
  • always sleep well before and exam and try to arrive early so you can read over your notes while you relax just before the test
  • leave the answers you are not sure about blank and go through it a second time filling in the bits that you may have been reminded of while reading later questions

It has been found that we forget 90% of the information we learned in class within 90 days.

If you follow all these steps you are sure to commit your information from short to long term memories that could last a lifetime! If you studied the information then it is there - you just have to make sure that you can remember the correct word that will trigger the que card in your brain.


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Comments 76 comments

melbel profile image

melbel 5 years ago from New Buffalo, Michigan

Wow your tips on taking tests are so good, you could have an entire hub dedicated to THAT! I'll have to keep these in mind, I'm a little rusty in the whole school thing.

You really seem to know a TON about sleep, which you've shared a bit when we chatted on fb. My whole family has a whole slew of sleep disorders that I know so little about. I wonder if it really messes with our memory. We joke that my mom is senile, but she's too young for it. She forgets everything and has blonde moments. She's an insomniac like me, except I have been known to sleep walk from time to time. I don't think I have problems with my memory, but I think, like anyone, that improving it would be nice.

My brother has a sleep disorder that requires him to be on an oxygen machine while he sleeps. My dad has frequent nightmares and my sister has these vivid, long epic dreams.

Great hub, really got me thinking! :)

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

Good pointers! Good job!

I would qualify the music with listening to INSTRUMENTAL music--not music with singing, which could distract you into singing along, or at least listenting to the words, instead of focusing on what you need to study.

At age 63, I'm having more frequent episodes of "What the heck did I come into the kitchen for?" or "Where did I put that key?"

In the first case, it often helps to return to where you were when you thought of what you needed from the other room.

In the second case, when I really need to remember where I put something important, as I place it, I say aloud, "Marker." It is simply a trick to force me to focus on that item at that moment. I am mentally and orally placing a 'marker' to that item. Usually, it helps.

Voted up, useful and interesting.

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Mel - sleep has profound affects on wake! I bet your mom does suffer some blond moments - insomnia is a bear! They say to have at least 3 hours of sleep before any test but 8 is best:). I bet your brother is on CPAP! It's just pressurized air that holds the airway ooen during sleep. Most people only need O2 if they have like congestive hart failure or respiratory issues. I hope that isn't the case!

I did study for test exactly as the tips provided and I usually got A's:) lol. I can't remember why they said yellow highlighted is best but for some reason researchers said itmwas best. Mostly understanding the info will carry you through any test but tricks can be necessary:)

Actually you made me think of this when we were talking about tests and getting good scores so thank YOU!

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi DzyMsLizzy - ahhh great additional points! Yes maybe humming would be a good helper for some people. For me - I'd make the words to pieces I had trouble with match a song it reminded me of! Lol. The lyrics would be made up of the test answers though:)

I have those moments all the time when I get upstairs and cant remember why! I'm 45:) lol. I have to just stand there and think "what was I just doing downstairs?" usually like you said a few moments of concentration and I'm back on track.

You also reminded me (lol) that I was going to add that if you want to remember where things are - make them visible. Like your keys on a hook and put them consistently in the same place:) that's how I have to do things - everything has it's home and when it's used must go back where it came from! Lol. I'm always saying this to my girls!

Thank you so much for the great additions!

tsmog profile image

tsmog 5 years ago from Escondido, CA

Awesome. I appreciate the development of this hub and the direction it takes the reader. Smoothly transitioning from cause to effect to proactive or preventative maintenance (as termed in the auto repair industry) the reader gains understanding.

Wow! Plus it opens so many more doors to opportunities - sleep deprivation and memory affect, stress and memory affect, etc. Mom's are experts at this I would think, parents for sure.

Thank you for sharing an intriguing hub written from experience, understanding, and acknowledgement. And, the comments above are awesome too! Talking about short term memory I got a poem in mind and don't want it to slip away - smile (yes and have fun, fun, fun, , , )

Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 5 years ago

Excellent Hub RHW!

Memory is...I forgot what to write now..! Oh!, It is a tool for all of our work at HP. Our liking of History has to deal with lots of memories. Thanks for Sharing!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi tsmog - well you get an A++ for commentary! Thank you so very much! I was so interested in this in college a lot of it stuck with me. I was so glad I took the class with a super interesting teacher! I know that I did much better through the rest of my classes because all those tips helped me, personally.

I think mom's can become experts at all kinds of stuff! I guess it is what we are paying attention to:) lol

Good luck with the poem = I am going to be looking out for it!

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Lord! Thanks so very much! I love history too! If we pay attention - hopefully we learn from it:) And you are so right - most of this info I remembered all that way back from class - I only had some fact checking:) haha! Thanks for the great comment and smile Lord.

Melovy profile image

Melovy 5 years ago from UK

This is a great hub, and your tips for studying are really useful. A friend of mine works as a study coach and your suggestions are very similar to hers. I haven’t had to sit an exam since I left school as all the college classes I took were continuous assessment, but my kids get a lot of tests, so it I’m bookmarking this for them.

Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 5 years ago from Indiana

Wonderful hub and excellent tips. I love the idea of singing or developing lyrics. I remember that's how I had to learn the order and classification living things.... "Kingdom, Phylum...etc." for a science class. It worked:)

thumbi7 profile image

thumbi7 5 years ago from India

I really got interested in your tips on taking tests. These tips are beneficial to us as we prepare for any lecture.

I want to share these tips with my children who are giving many exams these days.

Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 5 years ago from USA

This is great information - it seems like the people on TV who have perfect recall do have a way to store the information better - you can almost see their brains working as you watch them. My filing system in my brain is as disorganized as the filing system in real life. These are good pointers.

jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom

Very detailed and informative hub which I found very interesting. I may check out some of these as I have a memory like a sieve! I often go into the supermarket and forget what I am there for. I write things down to remind me, and then forget to take the list. I often wander round the house and forget why I went into the room! My family think I am nuts, but after reading your hub, I am putting it down to stress! Lol. Great advice here. Bookmarked for my daughter as your exam tips are fantastic. Voted up - useful, interesting and awesome.

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Another tip I learned in college. If you drink coffee during your study time, you should also drink coffee for the test. (from some study or other). Worked for me.

Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Excellent hub RH! Studying for exams I used most of what you have listed here. The only one, for some reason could not do was listen to music while I studied. I needed peace and quiet or I could not concentrate. My sister in law has a photogenic mind and I've always thought that would be so cool to have, especially when it came to school.

I too go to do something and then go What am I here for. Drives me nuts. I just hope that this doesn't get worse as I get older.

I have a friend that suffers from short term memory loss. She is really bad though. After alcohol abuse and rehab she can no longer remember what has happened in her life two weeks past anything. I spoke with her on the phone after not talking to her for many years. She was ecstatic to hear from me. Then I called her two weeks later and it was like she had not talked to me in years.

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca

Very interesting... I remember when I was studying massage therapy... I would commit the oral tests to memory for an hour or so before the test. I usually scored 100 on the 20 question oral exam. However, I know I didn't commit a lot of the information to long term because as soon as the test was over... I couldn't remember a darn thing! :)

What was that I said again. Oh yeah - I used to study....

Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man

A very interesting and informative hub. The tips would be very useful to any student studying for exams so perhaps you might consider writing a hub specifically for students on how to study effectively.

The mind is like a lump of clay in our hands and we are the artists that mould it by the thoughts we choose to dwell upon. However physical damage to the brain cuts the hands off the sculptor as in the case of Mr short Term Memory. Most people use memory inappropriately to anchor them in the past and that is why their future is a mirror of their past. To make changes we must use the memory to heal by choosing to interpret in a positive way what happened in the past and spend more time in the present.

Thanks for another great hub.

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soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

Nice article realHousewife!

I specially liked

"For example, if information is stored in our long term memory it must have the proper key or tag words for optimal retrieval."

Indeed often even after days suddenly that key clicks and u start wondering "why could I not remember earlier."

debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 5 years ago from Greece

I'll be showing my son the test tips in your hub, he could do with the advice!!

It is comforting to know that others too have 'those' forgetful moments. It makes life interesting.

An interesting hub, thank you.

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Melovy - Thank you! I had to ake a test last year so I could renew my producers license for title insurance. I had not had an exam in years and I used the above tips and really didn't study a lot. I was so surprised when I finished in like 20 minutes and passed! I was nervous and didn't want to disappoint my husband:) LOL. I did realize though none of the questions looked familiar I knew the material really well so it seemed simple. Later I found out lots of people fail that one - I know they must be guessing because if you knew the information there was always only one answer that worked. Sheesh - I still get test anxiety! Good luck and I hooe you don't have to take any tests soon:) haha!

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Kris - oh wow! I'd forgotten about that classifications system! I know what you mean and that is a huge amount of information. Singing that was a good idea! My girls like the singing idea but they both laugh and say they have caught themselves almost singing aloud during the test! Haha! Once my 12 year old was having a really hard time remembering a fact for a test on the tea party (in 5th grad!) the only word I could relate to that answer was a curse word!! so I laughed and told her - and she remembered for that test!! I noticed all kids pay attention to "bad" words and associating them will help them if they have one they get stuck on repeatedly.

Good luck with all your future tests!

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 years ago from South Africa

Excellent hub about short and long term memory. The tips how to study - utilize memory effectively - are superb. I 'cannot remember' if you've mentioned that listening to video recordings of your summaries (made by yourself) is also an effective way of memorizing information.

Voted up and very well explained.

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi thumbi7 - thank you! I hope you can use the tips to help your kids! They work well for both of mine - both girls are always on the honor roll and as a parent - I know that will give them many opportunities later!

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Millionaire Tips - I agree! I think people that can store and recall have special systems and ways they meaningfully store it. Like I bet lots of them use visual or chunking. I know that if I'm having a really hard time - and I focus and concentrate on my notes - sometimes if I relax I can imagine what my notes looked like - like a photo and I can get the answer! I think I'm a very visual learner. Thanks so much for the comment:)

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi jacqui2011 - that's funny because you mentioned exactly what I am guilty of - making lists and forgetting to take them! Ugh! Also clipping coupons and forgetting to take them to the store:) I think that task is so simple we overlook it. Usually I notice when I'm shopping all I can think about is what is next on my list. I hate grocery shopping so I always want to knock it out and move on so I'm sure we just don't focus on that little stuff.I bet if we both made a special rule to remember lists - we'd get better at it! Lol. Like think about all those monster coupon clippers - that task is pretty I portent since they invested so much time - bet they don't forget to take those coupons! Haha! Good luck (to both us on on that one:) lol

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Austin - that is a great one! I wish I would have remembered to add it!! Haha! Caffeine does help temporarily with memory retention!! Also I remember my instructor said that we usually can recall information much better if we are in the same emotional state as when we originally leaned the information! Now that's pretty ambiguous I guess, so I won't go off on any limbs explaining it:) I think that one is subjective? I tried to always be in a relaxed environment when I studied - and if I was upset or annoyed I didn't even bother trying until I could calm down for whatever reason.

Thanks for that perfect addition!!

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Susan - I can tell you like taking tests too! Lol. I did usually listen to music in the back ground but that was to drown out the other noises from my sisters and family:) I did notice though while I was studying I would realize half a song had o,ayes and I didn't "hear" it! I suppose I had to but my focus was on the reading I guessed.

Alcohol and drug abuse really have terrible effects on the memory system! I learned that they think that two parts of the brain are responsible for properly "coding" information. Researches think that if people can't get those two brain centers to work together it is very hard to remember things. One section is the frontal brain and also the back region near the occipital lobes. I wonder if one fo those parts is more destroyed?? Very interesting Susan! I may have to research that part more and maybe I could have another good hub:) thanks a bunch!!

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

BBG - well if you passed the tests - that's the main thing becUse like everyone says - all but about 10 percent you'd have forgotten within 90 days! I think stuff that really interests us - stays with us, the rest just *poof* disappears! So if you have a great memory and can absorb it just prior - well don't fix what isn't broken! Haha!

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi SW - thank you so much! You know that is a great idea! I could write a study guide:) lol.

I love that you added that anchors in our past will hold us there. It is true and I bet that is exactly what my instructor was referring to about emotional state and recall. I wonder how much of our memories we tie up on all that old junk! You're right onto something. If we use our memories for the present and we are truly invested in NOW it does help us let go of old stuff that is taking up too much space.

I have always wished our brains were more like computers and I could just defragment the space. Toss out all the useless junk and bits in the middle and cram pack it with good stuff! Too bad it isn't that easy:)

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi soumyasrajan - you know I loved that piece of info and I know for a fact, helped me during many tests! I noticed if I came to a question that did NOT look familiar - at first my mind would go "dam!" I didn't study that! Then I'd quicky think - ok calm down - I studied now where is that info? So many times I was able to finish and go back through a second time - the answers would almost always lead me to ones I forgot or I'd use process of elimination and take my best guess then.

Thanks so much and good luck on your next test!

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Debbie - good luck! I agree - I always feel more normal when other people have the same little quirks as me:) lol and usually - we know I think - when we aren't really focusing! We just think fast sometimes and skip right over stuff because we are already past it in our heads!

When I'm grocery shopping for instance, I can't remember the ingredients I use for dishes I cook at home - if I slowed down and really focused I know I could but I'm more worried about crossing stuff off my to do list than the grocery list!

Thanks you so much for reading and commenting:)

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marellen 5 years ago

Hi Real...its funny how we can remember the words to a song we haven't heard in years the minute it comes on the radio but going into the kitchen to retrieve something and once there, I can't remember a thing. Getting older doesn't help the memory situation either. Great and informative hub.

Ardie profile image

Ardie 5 years ago from Neverland

This is a timely Hub :) I have had such a difficult time focusing and remembering anything lately. I think it has to do with stress and the fact that I have too much going on at once. So my first job right now is to make a list to prioritize and then toss the last half of the list :) You always put together such great Hubs RHW. The story about the sleep study reminds me of a man I work with. He fractured his skull in 3 places in a crash. He is VERY bright but cannot remember anything I train him on for the job. I try to be patient but HE gets frustrated first. I finally wrote down EVERYTHING and we get along much better now hahah

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Martie - thank you so much! That is a great idea and I have never thought of it! Recording summaries would be so beneficial! I have recorded plenty of lectures and listened so why wouldn't it work the opposite? Brilliant! Thank you so much for adding that great comment!

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Marellen - oh wow! That is a terrific way to think of it! So true - I can suddenly hear the music and know immediately which song it is and the lyrics that follow! Even super old songs - and my husband will laugh when I can sing along to Dolly Parton or Conway Twitty:) haha! Or sometimes little things will trigger a memory of a certain song and I will start singing it really loud:) lol

Thanks that is a really interesting note!

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Ardie - isn't that wild? That patient (and I will NEVER forget that night! He kept waking up my other patient in the room next door!!! So I had one night with two bad studies which would normally be a blow to the ego of any sleep tech - but I did not feel bad about this night. Why anyone ordered the test knowing he had zero in the short term going on? They were setting me up for a failure:) lol I ended up going home two hours early!) He fascinated me though - when I walked in to measure his pressure before the study and he pops out with "hey! That's a water column manometer!" I was like - really? lol No one needs to know what that tool is! hahaha! I made sure I hooked him up myself so I could question him a whole lot. I knew I would be able to use the info later because you do not see that everyday.

He traveled with a person who knew his history - and he also kept notebooks with copious notes. I have wondered many times how frustrating it would be to have that problem. Great thing you were smart enough to pick up on the writing everything down so he could retain it somewhere if not in his own little memory bank. I think that shows excellent managerial skills! Thanks so much - I bet you could play a lot of good pranks on that guy:) my bad!

I wished I could find the clip from the old Saturday Night Live episodes with Mr. Short Term Memory - they would have Tom Hanks eating a nice dinner and suddenly he would exclaim "hey! Who put this food in my mouth!" haha!

writer20 profile image

writer20 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

I'm in that short term memory place right now, but not all the time. When going into a room and forget why, I stay put for a minute and think hard and whatever it is I want comes back, whew. Voted up interesting and useful, Joyce.

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Joyce - thanks! I know - if I stop for just a second and think hard - I can usually remember. Sometimes I can't though - as soon as I go back to the room I was in - I will see something that immediately reminds me and I run back up - I think it is how I stay in shape:) haha!

The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

RHW - Dammit! I forgot what I was going to say. LMAO

Great writing and research.

The Frog

mljdgulley354 profile image

mljdgulley354 5 years ago

Thank you for this information. It is not fun to go through that short term memory thing. I love the tips you share for taking tests and will be sharing them with a few teenagers I know need help with remembering questions for tests.

TFScientist profile image

TFScientist 5 years ago from Peterborough, UK

This is great - full of useful information. I try and instill some of these in my pupils but they still believe they 'work best under pressure' and will pass easily if they cram the night before an exam. Glad to see I'm not talking nonsense!

Voted up, useful and awesome. Shared too!

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

These are excellent memory tips. Kelly, for storing short term memory for test-taking. Students - and teachers - everywhere will be singing your praises. If they can remember your name, that is.

When I was young - eons ago - I possessed eidetic imagery: the ability to see an entire page from a book in my mind. Very useful for taking tests and remembering folks' names. Now in order to best remember stuff, I try to see it, hear it if possible, visualize it and write it. I know that the more senses that are involved, the easier it is to retain information.

Thanks for these ...

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

LOL! Well you just hop on back over soon as you do remember:) Thanks so much Frog!

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi mljdgulley354 - whew! lol These will really help teens with test taking. And taking the info in slowly in small sections will help that age a lot I think. The attention span jumps around at that age quite a bit, I'll bet!

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey thank you TFScientist -- I agree! Working under pressure when you already have a bunch of anxiety about the material is not a good way to start! I have to admit - I crammed a lot too though but that IS how I learned it made it much worse on test day:(

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Drbj - great! Thank you for adding that! I have had tests where I just settle down and actually imagine what my page of notes looked like -- and I could almost visualize the note page I studied from and found the answer. I think I am a very visual learner. Involving as many senses as possible is a brilliant idea. I bet you are an ace test taker!!

Thank you very much!

GoGreenTips profile image

GoGreenTips 5 years ago from Indianapolis

Interesting hub! Listening to music always helped me, although some argued it had to be totally quiet. Hated studying in the library just for that reason. Even now when I do research for my articles, I enjoy having music playing some times quite loud. Have to use headphones. I seem to remember better...

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi GoGreen - Thank you! I think it is one of those personal things, like sleeping with a fan or the television on. Some people like and need that kind of background noise. I do - helps me drown everything else out I think:) lol

Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

Good info with the breakdown on short and longterm memory Kelly. Quite interesting with your patient also. Too bad it was a bust, he sounds kinda stubborn in addition to the short term prob. About finding info; thats like trying to remember a persons name but it just wont come no matter how hard you think on it but soon as give up the name pops up in your mind later.:)

Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

Hey RHW,

I used those same tips for my tests and would still forget my stuff within 90

But on serious note, Kelly I think the subconscious mind captured the data and it's somewhere floating in the brain. Thus, when I read stuff of high school...My eyes pop out and my fingers tap saying, "I read this somewhere" :))

wonderful hub...voted up as useful

Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

A great hub with some really goos tips.

I often go into another room and forget why or open the fridge and stand waiting for something to jump out at me. Lol

My partner laughs at me, I will ask him something and he will answer 'I told you yesterday' but that was 24 hours ago dear...

I find the best way to remember things is to write them down or send myself an email reminder.

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Alastar - I do know what you mean about names! I do that all the time...I don't forget faces but names never stick well with me:) lol. Thanks so much - that patient was something else:). I would notmwant to have that problem - it would make me ven crazier than I already am!

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Ruchira! I bet your right...I wonder where all that information goes...I have had similar experiences where I have watched a movie before but it's like I can't tdemeber what happens next - but when it does I'm like "oh yeah!" lol. So many mysteries about the brain - it's fascinating to me:) thanks so much!

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Rosemay - thank you so much:). I do that all the time - my senior moments:) lol. I have told myself I'd use an email system to remind myself of stuff...I keep forgetting! Lol. I write tons of stuff down and then I won't be able to remember which notebook:) haha!

livewithrichard profile image

livewithrichard 5 years ago from Charleston, SC

RHW those were some great tips on test taking. I have used all of them when I was in college except for the 'listening to music' only because I love music and it would have been a distraction for me. I think I was a great test taker and I never crammed. On many occasions I ended up being the center of focus in my study groups and I'm certain it was because of the way I retained what we were studying. I had a way of being able to clear my mind of everything except for what was needed. It was a practice of discipline that picked up from being in the military. I had a ritual of sorts before each test. I would go on a 10 mile run which gave me all the time I needed to focus on the task. I taught this ritual to many of my dorm mates and it worked well for them too. I graduated with a 3.8 GPA so I must have done something right. Discipline and focus were the key but if you didn't pay attention in class or take good notes then you don't have much to rely on.

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey livewithrichard -- sounds like you have it made! I envy the GPA:) I graduated with a 3.49 - I was so mad! I took a physical science class and it could not keep my attention...only class I ever fell asleep in and the only C I think I ever got. Too poor to pay attention! I regret that:) lol

Sounds like you have great habits and I agree, totally. Discipline is huge too - I am always telling my girls, there are lots of things in life adults do not exactly WANT to do...but neglecting things just makes a bigger mess to clean up in the end.

I was thinking about mentioning that people should get into study groups! Thanks for adding that. I always paid close attention to who was paying attention in class the first few so I can try to pick a good study partner. That way if I happened to have to miss a class I could have a back up plan for notes I someone who looks like they are writing copious notes would be my pick! lol It can hurt you too if you get someone who just wants you to do the work for them.

Thank you SO much for serving in the Military! I love that:) I have several friends and relatives who have served and I know what a huge sacrifice that can be. Good luck to you!!

missolive profile image

missolive 5 years ago from Texas

RealHousewife - Hi Kelly, I have to agree with Mel and many of the others. Your study/test taking tips are really good. I spend quite a bit of time teaching reading skills and test taking strategies. It is so important to learn how to pick out the important points. We tend to remember it better.

I LOVED your Rolodex analogy! Another question and response can easily trigger the memory for a previous question.

I noticed you talked about note taking. I used to re-write my notes several times. Once I could write them from memory I knew I had learned it. I once learned that if you can read it, write it, say it and then teach have learned it. Makes sense.

Great hub! I really liked it.

Voted up and across! Bookmarking too!

Heck, I'll even pin it to my pinterest board :)

bingskee profile image

bingskee 5 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

when i was in high school i discovered that memorizing is not what works. what worked is when i try to understand what i am reading. it is more fun and easy.

my daughter detests putting marks on books. she finds it unnecessary because books for her are sacred. :-D

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Miss O! Teacher! Thank you so much! I was really curious about what some of the teachers would have to say:) lol I was taught all those tricks by some pretty cool and smart teachers. Education was always pushed and very valued in my family so I always wanted to do well.

That Rolodex train of thought -- is exactly how I picture the brain. Like flipping through a nice file system until -- oops -- how'd that card get there?? haha! I am engrossed with anything that has to do with the brain and how it works. So many mysteries!

I did that too! Especially if the material was boring or really hard...I would write, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite...until it was wrote. HAHA! It sticks with you though and staring at my notes for geography to burn the image in my brain!

Thanks so much again - I so admire you!

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi bingskee - Memorization is really not the best way to learn - like you said, understanding it is what makes it stick with you. Memorizing is for temporary stuff I think, like a phone number maybe. If I really want to do well on a test - I would do lots of self tests to make sure I really did get it:) lol

That's funny about your daughter - I feel the same way! I don't even know if I should admit this but I could not resell my school books either! I still have every single book from college. I had a long relationship with those things! I couldn't just toss them out or GIVE them away or SELL them for a few bucks! haha!

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I forgot what I was going to say. Oh well....good Hub!

mythicalstorm273 profile image

mythicalstorm273 5 years ago

haha... Now I want to go and watch finding nemo! I knew the great test taking skills (one of my teachers in high school taught them to us in the beginning of the year for every class she taught and I had her a couple of times. She would always say before a test, good skill and if you don't have the skill good luck. ) but I know little about memory otherwise. I found this just fascinating! I loved the Chimp!!! Great job and great information!

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Will - well I've heard Gincoba will help with stuff like that! Lol. Thanks so much for the visit:)

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Myth - thanks! Well now I know how tou got the 4.0 - you do have the great study skills:) I was s glad u took that class in memory a little early - I used those tips and they helped me through all the rest of my classes. I don't think I can remember one thing from HS:) lol.

I thought the Chi,o was adorable! Pressing all those buttons for raisins! Lol

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Sharyn's Slant 4 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

Hey Kel ~ You know, I always love the titles to your articles. You have a way of bringing the reader in from the start. And then it just gets better from there. This is great information and wonderful tips. I believe I do have a kind of Rolodex in my brain. I just haven't figured out who it is that goes in there and messes with the tabs.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hahaha! Sharyn - messing with the tabs! I think there isn't a thing wrong with your rolodex:) lol You crack me up!

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Hi Kelly. This is an interesting hub. I agree if we ain't listening or focussing on the info, it is difficult to retain it. I love your tips for taking tests.

I remember being told as a child that whatever we repeat 30 times gets committed to memory. It sure did work and help me while I was studying.

Another aspect I appreciate is to correlate the info we need to remember with a code. As an example, I'm bad with remembering names of some people, so I found a good way to remember them by correlating their faces with something or someone that instantly reminds me of their names.

Voted up, useful and interesting.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Oh Rajan - that is a great way to remember names! I have that issue too sometimes! I hate when I know the name but it escapes me the very moment I need to remember it! Maybe it is nerves? lol

Oh my....that could be a real fun game too! haha!

Thanks so much - now I learned a new tip too!

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iamaudraleigh 4 years ago

What a story about a guy who was an engineer, then lost his short term memory. It brings back a personal journey...I was in a coma 2 years ago today. As a result, I have some patchy moments of memory loss of three months prior. I had temporary amnesia. Anyway, you did a great job writing this piece. I am sorry it was one of the hardest nights of your carr\eer. I am intrigued though

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

This is so interesting. It makes sense that head trauma affects short-term memory, as it is also one of the risk factors for developing dementia and Alzheimer's later in life. Thanks for the hub. great info!!!!!

prasonline profile image

prasonline 4 years ago from Sri lanka

Excellent!! very interesting and informative hub. Voted up

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Audra - yeah it might have been difficult but it was interesting! lol I am glad I was his tech - I learned some really interesting things interacting with him.

Wow - so sorry to hear you were in a coma! I am glad you have obviously recovered quite well in spite of the patchy spots. I was knocked unconscious a couple of times (only for a matter of hours in the worst case) and it was very strange. I also can't remember details exactly before my accient nor hours after. I don't remember feeling any pain either so I am all good with that! lol No need to remember all that:) lol

Yeah that guy was brilliant - yet couldn't remember one minute before what was just said. Not even what he said! Yet - I walk in with a manometer (a real odd looking instrument) and he's like "hey! That's a water column manometer!" I was like "yeah! sure is!" No one ever knew that before! It measures air pressure in centimeters of water pressure - so quite weird. But we had the same conversation over and over - about his cat - but I thought that was sweet too. He just called out every five minutes - which means I had to mark the record, tech in the room, talk about the cat, tech back out, mark the record and begin again. All together now! lol I stayed fit I tell ya:) lol

Thank you so much!

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Vicki - thank you! I find brain injuries to be an interesting thing. Different regions of the brain can have radically different results. Injuries to the frontal lobe (mother center) can cause huge personality changes for instance. I knew a girl who injured her brain stem in a traumatic accident - she was in a coma for a month. She recovered quite nicely except she was very impulsive!! Oh my - we had a blast together - except sometimes she would be super mean!!! I ignored that and stayed on her good side! lol

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi prasonline - thank you so very much!

answers-questions profile image

answers-questions 4 years ago

Thanks for this hub,

It is full of useful information. I try and instill some of these in my pupils but they still believe they 'work best under pressure' and will pass easily if they cram the night before an exam. Glad to see I'm not talking nonsense!

Best regards, ATYQ

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi ATYQ! Thank you! Nope you are not talking nonsense. Working under pressure is actually one of the worst ways to not be able to recollect facts. I try to tell my kids to just relax and read their notes frequently...just before soon as they have the class, read your test notes right after school and if they just focus on the material it will stick. Simple as that, repetition has always worked for me!

Good luck!

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