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Enhance memory and concentration

Memory skills ease the struggle to succeed with intensity and activity in life. There is a connection between memory and cognitive performance. Dr Jitender Nagpal explains some techniques to improve memory, and hence succeed.

education Updated: Jun 22, 2009 21:03 IST

Life, the most precious gift of god to mankind is the unfolding of new hopes and desires. Each moment weighs heavy with the expectation to achieve. Each day opens with a series of challenges. The struggle to succeed with intensity and activity thus forms the very essence of life. As Charles Darwin also suggested that there is a natural process of selection in every field, all the time.

Memory skills vary between one person to another, as does intellectual capacity. A person with a good memory is not necessarily more intelligent than someone whose memory lets him/her down, but there is a connection between memory and cognitive performance.

How would you describe your memory? Good on facts and figures, but heavily reliant on diaries and calendars for appointments? Generally, we tend to categorize ourselves according to the perceived weaknesses in our memories and pay less attention to our memory strengths. Yet memory is as individual as personality - we all have different skills and talents.

Some tips to enhance memory and concentration: -

Draw a realistic revision schedule and create an incentive, if necessary, for successfully completing a task such as going out, a treat etc.

Changing the subject one studies every one to two hours for variety helps maintain concentration

Survey the material to get an idea of the general organisation, major topics and subtopics. Look at headings and pictures to try to identify what one will be reading about.

Ask questions about the material as it is read. Use headings to ask questions (who, what, why, where). Read the material. Try to answer own questions while reading.

Think about the material that was just read and try to make it meaningful by:

1) relating it to things that one already knows about,

2) relating the subtopics to primary topics,

3) trying to resolve contradictions,

4) trying to use the material to solve simulated problems.

Practice remembering the information by stating points aloud and asking and answering questions. Use headings, highlighted words and notes on major ideas. Actively review the material, focusing on asking you questions and re-reading the material only when not sure of the answers.

The study hours will vary on your concentration span. You can keep studying till you don't lose your concentration and then take a short break. Also make an effective study plan before you sit down to study and you can continue studies till you achieve assigned targets for a day.

You can alternate your place of studying by sitting on a chair for some time followed by sitting either on bed or on floor, whichever makes you feel comfortable. Take small breaks between longer hours of study. Retention and retrieval are better.

Alvin Toffler in "The Third Wave" stated, "The illiterates of 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn". Let's learn to learn with healthier lifestyles.

First Published: Jun 19, 2009 13:40 IST