Improve your long-term memory


  1. Reflect on the information you’ve learned at the end of every day
    For example, if you had difficulty with a specific task during the day, think about what happened, what you could have done differently, how you can improve your skills, and how you’re more experienced colleagues would have handled it. Visualize the steps you might take next time. Then the next day, implement these steps to see if your performance improves.

  2. Use periodic retrieval as a study strategy
    When you read a book or lecture notes, pause regularly and ask yourself: What are the key ideas here? Are there any terms or ideas that are new to me? How would I define them? How do these ideas relate to what I already know? Answer these questions without looking at the text. Once you’ve answered these questions, continue reading.

  3. Use tests and self-quizzes to boost learning
    Set aside weekly time to quiz yourself on any new material you’ve learned. If you’re a student, use the study questions at the end of every chapter of the textbook. You can also generate questions for yourself and write down the answers. Make sure you refer to the text once you’re done to check if your answers are correct or not. If you’re a teacher, give your students frequent tests instead of asking them to reread the content you’ve taught them.

  4. Space out your tests to ensure long-term retention
    Create a self-quizzing schedule that allows time between study sessions. For example, if you’re learning the names of cities, quiz yourself minutes after your study session ends. If the material is more complex, quiz yourself a day after your study session and then wait about a week before taking the quiz again. Once you begin to master the material, you can quiz yourself at least once a month.

  5. Give students corrective feedback after a test
    As a learning instructor, give your students corrective feedback after a test so that they avoid retaining any material they’ve misunderstood. Go through each question in the test and discuss the correct answers with the students.


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