This article throws light upon the top five methods of memorizing. The methods are: 1. Repeated Recitation 2. Whole versus Part Learning 3. Spaced and Un-Spaced Learning 4. Cramming and Logical Memory 5. Intention to Remember.
Method # 1. Repeated Recitation:
Repetition or re-reading a lesson fixes it durably. But recitation fixes it more durably. Recitation means reciting to oneself. Let the reader read his lesson twice or thrice, and then recite it to himself, prompting himself when he fails.
This active reciting method of study takes less time in memorizing. Recitation is economical of time in memorizing, and fixes the mater more durably. If nonsense syllables are replaced by sensible material, we get better results. Recitation is a greater advantage for permanent memory than for immediate memory.
Method # 2. Whole versus Part Learning:
In memorizing a long lesson should we divide it into parts, and study each part by itself till mastered or read the whole lesson repeatedly? Should we follow the ‘whole method’ or the ‘part method’? The ‘entire method’ has been found to be superior to the ‘sectional method’ up to a limit of about 240 lines of a poem for adults.
Children are discouraged by a long poem; they may show better results by following the ‘part method’. Some have found the ‘whole method’ to be superior in all cases. With others two thirds have done better with the ‘whole method’ and one-third better with the ‘part method’. The ‘whole method’ yields good results for permanent memory. The ‘part method’ yields good results from immediate memory.
Which found that children up-to twelve years of age showed better result with the ‘sectional method’ than with the ‘entire method’ except in memorizing those poems in which there is perfect unity of thought and homogeneity of material. Children above this showed better results with the ‘entire method’. The adolescent is capable of more sustained mental activity, and can, therefore, profitably use the ‘entire method’.
Method # 3. Spaced and Un-Spaced Learning:
Should we repeat a lesson till we have mastered it at one sitting? Or, should we learn it once or twice a day till we have mastered it? Spaced repetitions are more effective than un-spaced learning. The greater is the interval between one repetition and another at one sitting the less is the time required to memorize the matter.
Spaced learning yields better result for permanent memory. Un-spaced learning is good for immediate memory. Continuous cramming may be helpful for immediate memory. But it cannot be useful for permanent memory. Spaced learning fixes the matter more durably.
Method # 4. Cramming and Logical Memory:
Unintelligent memorizing or cramming is not effective. It cannot incorporate the matter into the mental structure, and fix it durably. It cannot establish associations between the matter and other ideas in the mind. On the other hand, intelligent memorizing of a sensible material is which the connected meaning of the whole matter is grasped, is far more effective.
It fixes the matter durably and accomplishes much for permanent knowledge. So we should not try to memorize as intelligent passage by mere rote learning. We should first grasp the meaning and fix it in mind. Once we see the point we have learnt it.
Method # 5. Intention to Remember:
Learning a matter effectively requires the intention to remember. Unintentional learning is ineffective. The will to learn is necessary if any learning is to be accomplished. The testimony of eye-witnesses is very unreliable except for facts that were definitely noted by them at the time of the occurrence of an event.
They can remember those things only which they noted and intended to remember. Unintentional learning is ineffective and reliable.
Generally experiments on memory are made with a list of nonsense syllables. But “meaning” plays an important role in remembering. The meaning of a material comprehended facilitates its recall. We can easily learn a verse of four lines by a single reading, though it consists of fifty syllables. But we can learn a list of fifty nonsense syllables by reading it some hundreds of times.
In learning the verse’ we form mental associations among the meanings of words and sentences. In learning nonse syllables we form motor mechanism or speech habit. The former is pure memory while the latter is habit memory. But even in learning a list of nonsense syllables we should have the intention to learn it. So they become parts of a whole, which is related to a purpose.