When reflecting on my memory skills, I asked myself, “why should I care”? why is memory so important in the first place? as I pondered, I wondered where else would I possibly be using my memory other than right now in this very moment. As I have stated many times before (only a few hundred by now)I plan on going to Graduate School to be come a Psychologist. Having said, what would memory skills look like at this time in place of my academic career? Would I need to create a new, crazy, elaborate technique? or will my current studying technique suffice? What things/topics will I need to memorize? here is what I came up with:
Current Study Techniques
- Re-writing much of my notes
- (Cry sesh)
- Looking back over previous material
- (Cry sesh)
- Quizzing myself over topics/ideas I'm unfamiliar with
- (Take a break from crying)
- Start studying cycle over
What I will need to learn in Graduate School
- I will need to know many different illnesses as well as their signs and symptoms/ treatment strategies for various illnesses.
- Various tests that are dedicated for specific illnesses (so I will need to learn to tell the difference and choose the right tests for patients)
- How to communicate to my future clients as well as giving them the right guidance.
- Communication with outside resources such as other clinicians
Although crying is only going to get me so far, what other techniques do I need to learn/ use while in graduate school to retain a plethora of information? This is what I decided to research as this will become a very real and important part of my life. In addition, having done the research will allow me to form the perfect, individualized, concoction of a studying method to insure success for myself, and my peers. In doing so, I discovered that there are 3 main strategies graduate students use. Mnemonics, visuals, and study groups. each bearing their own strengths and weaknesses.
Mnemonic techniques are a powerful way to learn large amounts of information. Each mnemonic is designed to help remember a specific kind of information. For example, many elementary school teachers use the mnemonics of “Roy G. Biv” to help students remember the colors of the rainbow. With each letter corresponding to the first letter of each color. Creating a “name” they can remember in correlation to the colors. “Mnemonic training has two parts: first memorizing any components required by the technique. Second, practicing the basic steps involved in using the mnemonic until they can be done on the fly” (Putnam, 2015). meaning when using mnemonics information should come to you just as fast as semantic knowledge. Other forms of mnemonics include the key word method, in which a “keyword is found that sounds like the unfamiliar word… Then imagery joins the keyword with the deﬁnition of the unfamiliar word” (2015). Thus creating a line between mental images and auditory sounds such as words to create, embed, and recall any information you may need to understand.
Although mnemonics are helpful and proven to be a successful method while learning and memorizing, it does have its draw backs. A study conducted by Radović and Manzy illustrated that “ no beneficial effects of the acronym were found with respect to completion time and error rates”(2019) concluding that even with the assumption that this method may be ‘faster’ or more ‘accurate’, research has proven otherwise. Although this statement involves the method of acronyms, it is same to assume that all methods of mnemonics could in fact have the flaw of time and efficiency.
Second on the list are visuals, in which “Visual learning helps students to develop visual thinking, which is a learning style whereby the learner comes better to understand and retain information better by associating ideas, words and concepts with images” (Raiyn, et al, 2016). I had mentioned before in earlier projects about the convenience of visuals while memorizing and learning new skills. Having the visual, creates a mental map in which triggers information every time we see that same visual. “Information collected is stored in the hippocampus, which perceives its environment and stores the information... Based on the representation of the stored information in the hippocampus, the brain creates cognitive maps, and humans act on the environment by using these maps”(2016). Thus creating a connection within out brain and the outside stimulus in which this information can be imbedded for a longer period of time. On the contrary, there are some concerns in the effectiveness of visuals while learning. A study concluded that both pictures and words may be vague and ambiguous, but for different reasons. The vagueness or ambiguity of pictures could result in the person failing to correspond the optical properties to the purpose the picture is designed to depict (Travers, 1969). Which is true assume, because we can not assume everyone understands or perceives the same meaning in each visual they stumble upon. So, visuals may not be for everyone when it comes to learning and retaining information.
When is comes to stuyd groups it is important to keep in mind that this method might not be for everyone. But for most graduate students, especially in the medical or scientific field, “Study groups are helpful for reviewing clinical scenarios, which are more prominent in later years of graduate school” (“Doctors”, 2019). In which, being a future psychologist, I know there will be plenty of situations or scenarios I might not be comfortable with. Dealing with mentally ill patients is not always going to be pleasant. So in dealing with hostel or uncomfortable situations, dealing with these scenario head on is something I'm going to need to do. So, practicing how to maneuver them with ease and poise with my future clients will beneficial. Also, when creating study groups “Forming study groups with close friends can lead to increased distractions and less efficiency during study time” (2019). thought they can be helpful, make sure you are surround yourself with the right people.
In addition to any method of studying, each have their own weaknesses. Researchers have concluded that study groups may not be the best method for various reasons. One specific reason is that study groups can result in “ problem of concentration; the contribution and performance of every group mate may be unequal; group mates may have different speed of translation; the level of knowledge and competence may be different; different opinions can cause conflicts in the group and negatively influence the translation process (Roskosa & Rupniece, 2016). Explaining that study groups have many components within them. The first example that each member of the group has the risk of not pulling their weight, and on the other hand not everyone processes information the same way. So interpreting one topics amongst several individuals could result in misinterpretation/ miscommunication.
My Ideal Study Mechanism
•Use mnemonics and study groups together!
•First, create a group in which you feel you would succeed in.
•Like stated before, make sure this group isn’t made up of your closes friends but more so the type of people you would want as future colleagues.
•Secondly, within your group come up with several different mnemonics that will help retain information.
It is important that this group is studying the same topic as you so you can reflect, discuss, as well as learn together. And also ensure that everyone is on the same page
Studying is undoubtable hard. It is a grueling task that seems to take eons to get through, even when you have sat down for 3 hour you may still feel that you have made no progress. But simultaneously, there is progress. Neural progress. Studying is one of those tasks you may not see the progress right away, but over time progress in being made. Regardless of what studying strategy you use such as mnemonics, visuals, or study groups, they each offer their own set of positives and drawbacks. But isn't that much of graduate school to? the years of working hard, long nights, extensive tests, papers, research, but at the end of it the piece of paper that says “yes, I did this, and I am capable” is what we all strive for. So, go study.
“Doctors Offer Insider Tips on How to Study in Medical School.” St, Georgie’s University, 6 Oct. 2019, www.sgu.edu/blog/medical/how-to-study-in-medical-school/.
Putnam, A. L. (2015). Mnemonics in education: Current research and applications. Translational Issues in Psychological Science, 1(2), 130–139. https://doi.org/10.1037/tps0000023
Radović, T., & Manzey, D. (2019). The Impact of a Mnemonic Acronym on Learning and Performing a Procedural Task and Its Resilience Toward Interruptions. Frontiers in Psychology, 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02522
Raiyn, Jamal, et al. “The Role of Visual Learning in Improving Students’ High-Order Thinking Skills .” Journal of Education and Practice , Vol.7, №24 , 2016.
Roskosa, A., & Rupniece, D. (2016). Advantages and Drawbacks of Using Group Work in Translator Training. Procedia — Social and Behavioral Sciences, 231, 244–250. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.09.098
Travers, R. (1969). A Study of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Simplified Visual Presentations in Instructional Materials, 1–70. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED031951.pdf.