A success seminar on concentration and memory techniques Sept. 25, at the UCC with Donjanea Williams, the Assistant Director of Outreach, as the guest speaker.
The seminar was hosted to help students learn a better and more efficient way of studying and comprehending information.
The easiest way for the brain to learn to quickly comprehend something is through association, Williams said. Different associations help take information from short-term memory to long-term memory.
There are seven different steps in which information travels through the brain. When sitting through class, for example, the brain is gathering information. This basic knowledge starts with the textbook, reading, notes, background knowledge, and outside reading.
Once the brain hears this information it then travels to short-term memory. The information then goes through a feedback loop and then into long-term memory. Long-term memory then retrieves the information and applies it on your test.
When a student study crams for a test or a lot of information in a short sitting, the brain does not process the information as long-term information, it just stores the information as short-term.
In order to be efficient, students must work to get information into your long-term memory.
“You must be able to focus, that is why concentration is so important,” said Williams. “Information stays in your short-term memory for only a short period of time before it is either lost or forgotten, or transferred into your long-term memory. You must have a strategy and connection to get your information into your long-term memory.”
Williams provided tips for studying which included: reading in a quiet and well lit environment, reading on a regular schedule, take breaks when needed, and be creative and thoughtful. Along with the do’s of studying she also provided a list of don’ts for studying which included: reading/studying in bed, reading for hours at a time, and listening to music and watching TV while attempting to read and study.
“Research says organizing information in storage enhances chances of successful retrieval, “ said Williams. “Organization allows us to process information in chunks, preventing overflow.”
You do not want your short-term memory overflowing, preventing further information to be allowed in, she said.
Imagination is everything, she said, making visualizations helpful once an association was made. Visualization helps create a vivid imagery picture that is imbedded into the brain helping it remember. Concentration is enhanced by visualization by creating focus on one thing only.
There should be different study methods for different tests. Integrating notes is a strong study strategy for any subject. There are six steps to actively reading which include: preview, question, read, reflect, recite and review. This hierarchal system helps the retrieving of long-term memory easier, which is a search process.
“Association is the key to retrieving information from short-term to long-term, but it is your frontal lobe that allows you to concentrate, learn, and focus,” said Williams.
Williams also emphasizes the importance of being aware of ADHD. Anyone who has questions about ADHD is encouraged to visit the Counseling and Career Development Center.