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Memory is terrible, Help!

  1. Dec 21, 2009 #1
    I'm a decent 2nd year engineering student. However my memory stinks. I am horrible at memorizing formulas or techniques for solving problems. I often resort to deriving basic stuff on exam and waste a lot of time/effort. Do any of you have the same problem? any solutions?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 21, 2009 #2
    The only solution for you that I could think of would be to do more practice problems. Even if your memory is horrible you will remember the method eventually if you practice it enough. Don't just do the assigned problems, do a lot of extras until you find the number of problems that makes you remember the method.
  4. Dec 21, 2009 #3
    Another thing I do that seems to work is not doing all the problems at once. If I do half of the homework and then do something else for a few ours or a day or two if possible then go back and finish it I am able to remember everything better on the test.
  5. Dec 21, 2009 #4
    Have you tried flash cards? I have a dismal memory as well, but flash cards have never failed me.
  6. Dec 21, 2009 #5
    Flash cards have helped me in the past. I had forgotten about them for a while, I will try them again! I guess i'm more of a visual learner.
  7. Dec 21, 2009 #6
    I don't see what is wrong of deriving things during a test, I do it all the time. Knowing how ideas are derived is essential to understanding how it works.

    You say you have a hard time memorizing formulas. If its complicated you can derive it from more basic stuff, but if its a commonly used formula then you should remember by doing those problems.(Deriving the formulas shouldn't take very long, you should be very familiar with the process. If its very long to derive you should memorize them, use proportionality to help you.) Maybe review it before the test.

    It's a totally different issue if you don't know techniques for problem solving. Its either you you don't understand the material or not doing enough problems.
  8. Dec 23, 2009 #7
    My rule of thumb is that if you're studying any math/physics course with rote memorization, either (1)you are doing something wrong, or (2) your professor is doing something wrong. Of course, I know nothing about engineering, so my rule might not apply there, but still...
  9. Dec 24, 2009 #8
    Are you getting enough sleep at night? Studies have shown that proper sleep is critical in forming memories. I find that if I do homework or study in the hour or two before I go to sleep, I wake up with a better understanding of the material than when I went to sleep.
  10. Dec 24, 2009 #9
    One thing that helps me out is this. When I first learn a formula and then sit down to do the corresponding homework, I will write the generic formula down every time I need for a problem rather than writing the formula down filled in.

    This way once you are done with your assignment you'll have written the thing down 20+ times.

    It also helps me after doing the above, or really anytime, is when I am sitting at my desk messing around on the computer I'll write down all the formulas I'd learned that week.
  11. Dec 25, 2009 #10
    I found that not smoking marijuana helped. :)
  12. Dec 26, 2009 #11
    Nonsense. I have a "friend" who has a memory better than anyone else I know and yet also smokes more than anyone else I know ;)
  13. Dec 26, 2009 #12
    Eh, I meant for me. I also have a friend who smokes every day and is really sharp.
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