Memory Training: How to study less, get better grades!

An excerpt from my study skills ebook Conquer Your Classes


Welcome to the memory training section! In these pages you will find THE secret to my success as both a student and tutor, and for the thousands of students I tutored throughout my career. The following memory training made me one of the most successful science and math tutors in California and Nevada. My biography is not so impressive, my memory not so great, my ability to write definitely suspect, but
my achievement in school was certainly enhanced by a few simple memory systems. I credit part of my success to a book I found in a used bookstore in 1984, when I stumbled onto the Memory Book by Harry Lorayne.

Harry Lorayne has been teaching his systems for decades. I adapted them for use with many classes like chemistry, biology, physics, math, foreign languages, and just about any subject that requires you to remember something. You can use our version of his systems to memorize numbers, facts, lists, concepts, formulas, and everything in between. Even problem solving type questions require you to memorize a check list of steps, like how to solve algebra problems. Therefore, learning these simple techniques can help students for all subjects. It just takes a little practice.

The following advice is for everyone, adults and even children (some of this guide requires parental permission due to the nature of the memory tricks). What is going to happen is that you will learn to think like a child again but with an adult Rolodex of images. You will stimulate your ability to be creative the way children are. Awaken your creativity and you will be able to memorize anything and

Creative associations and imagery are the secrets to a good memory.

I suggest the following tactics:

• Remove political correctness safeguards from the creativity process.
• Be willing to create associations that are very exaggerated and ridiculous, involving emotions of sadness, anger, and humor.
• Use associations that involve not only positive emotions but negative ones as well.
• Be comfortable using associations that are offensive to you, but get parental permission to read this section if you are under 18. “Trigger Warning” for the rest of you! I am going to show you how to offend yourself.
• Be willing to use swear words and offensive language where appropriate, in strategic places, again with parental permission.
• Include physical exercise in the memory process while studying, and on your study breaks.
• Use props to help the memory process or pace while you recite from memory.
• Introduce stress while studying and performing recall (e.g. Study with an egg timer, exercise.)
• Realize that you will learn to be more efficient: to study less by working faster and memorizing faster.
• Use “punishments” in the form of exercise if you do not complete a memory goal.
• Use “body drawing” for difficult memory tasks, in which you draw words or pictures on yourself.
• Use the “cross it out” technique for studying and memorizing notes, in which you erase or blot out notes after you memorize them.
• Use the “sing your notes” technique (which uses a different part of your brain) to memorize facts.
• Use the “five senses” technique to enhance retention (smell, taste, sight, touch, sound.)
• Study the “overcome test anxiety” section. Test anxiety is a common problem that can negate the benefit of numerous hours of studying or tutoring.
• Study the same way you take tests and vice versa (for adults, this could mean consuming adult beverages before a test if that’s how you study already!)

These techniques are very powerful and not to be taken lightly. I am not suggesting you become memory robots. For many courses, you must learn to think and problem-solve, but even these require creativity. I certainly want you to learn how to learn and how to think for yourself, but without a good memory most people are in big trouble. These systems helped me through college to earn a GPA of 3.88 at Cal Poly, SLO, through medical school with a 3.5, and 6 years of graduate school with a 3.6. (Okay, I know. some of you won’t find that impressive. Keep in mind, this was accomplished simply by being creative and with a little bit of practice.)


To read more please request a free copy of my study skills ebook by emailing or consider purchasing the Comprehensive version of Conquer Your Classes.

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