Keeping Knowledge in Your Short-Term Memory

Normally people's memories of things they have learned are clearest immediately after they have learned them. They will then forget more and more knowledge as time goes on. After a few months they may only be able to recall only a tiny percentage of what was initially learned. This makes relearning information difficult when it needs to be done.

If you review knowledge frequently, however, then you will be able to keep it fresh and alive in your mind. This makes it easy to recall when you need it with a minimum of effort.

This section explains how to review material in a structured and effective way.

How to Use the Tool:
The first step is to spend a few minutes reviewing material immediately after the learning session. This helps you to:

Confirm that you understand the material
Reduce the time needed to relearn information when you need it, and
Improve the quality of future learning, by building on a well-remembered foundation. This helps your mind to make connections and linkages that it would not otherwise make.
A good way of carrying out this review is to rewrite or tidy up notes. You can do this effectively by putting the information learned into a Concept Map.

After this, reviewing information should be relatively easy and need not take long. Carry out reviews at the following times:

After one day

After one week

After one month

After four months

Review the topic by taking a few minutes to jot down everything you can remember about the subject, and compare this with your notes.

If you review information often, it should stay fresh in your mind, and will be easily accessible when you need it.

Key points:
By reviewing information you avoid forgetting information that will be difficult and time-consuming to relearn. You also ensure that you keep information fresh in your mind so that it acts as a foundation for future learning.

The first stage in reviewing information is to rewrite and tidy up notes immediately after learning has taken place. This confirms the structure and detail of information in your mind.

After this, periodically jot down what you can remember on a subject and compare it with your notes. This will show you what you have forgotten and refresh your memory.