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Techniques to Aid Recall

In looking for techniques to aid you in achieving your goal of being able to grasp the overall big picture that a particular chapter is attempting to communicate, you may want to consider the following and see how some of these work for you. Remember, you are looking first for the key ideas. From there you are interested in how these ideas or concepts relate to each other, to ideas or concepts from other class periods and to the overall purpose and direction of the course.

  1. When reading, use chapter headings and sub-headings as guidelines to organize your notes around. Look for the relationships between different items as you outline.
  2. Think about creating any kind of a chart or visual info map to aid your recall of specific facts or concepts. These are commonly referred to as "retrieval cues" and are simply tools to aid you in recalling specific information.
  3. Think about understanding relationships and work on grouping related information together and then choosing a heading that could be a key word or phrase that will help you to recall the information and the relationships.
  4. Some students find the use of mnemonic cues aids them in recalling specific terms or orders they have a problem remembering. Mnemonic cues are simply a series of words or letters you create to help you recall the original information. One student, for instance, had a mental block with the chemical formula for common table salt (NaCl). He solved this problem by simply creating the phrase "No Action Causes Lethargy." It has nothing to do with table salt, however, putting the appropriate letters in the correct order and attaching words to them in an order he could remember allowed him to recall "NaCl" whenever he needed to come up with this formula.
  5. Studies indicate that retrieval cues are most effective when designed and put into effect during the initial learning sequence on the material. Use nouns and verbs which have a strong character and are easily remembered.


Last Updated: 08/20/2013

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