The author of this journal dives deep into the concept of retrieval practice. He brings to us the results of many tests and trials to determine the best and most popular methods of studying, and surprisingly, retrieval was the 3rd lowest ever used, with more useless and ineffective styles beating it by miles. Retrieval practicing has shown to have far better results, usually at least double the performance of other techniques. Through quizzing with vocabulary, never seeing it before and seeing how I do at first, studying and associating as I go through each question, than seeing the vocabulary without quizzing and then quizzing again mostly sees me getting most right on subsequent attempts at the quiz. This method would be Rank 1 in effectiveness.
Within this little blog of tips is a bit more than we asked for, in the form of not just tips for improving memory, but also our environment of studying. To improve that, using a "checkmark" system to record the amount of times you get distracted by anything and using that as a set of goals to maintain under each time you study. To improve memory, attach your own interpretation of what you study and teach it to yourself and those around you, while quizzing yourself. By putting in my own interpretation, one, especially with definitions, things become clearer and things I myself think are more simple than remembering someone else's thought process and imagery. Teaching it to others verbally needs you to think on an even clearer and more organized level and also make your thoughts less broad with information and more precise so that you can explain it to others coherently. I usually have a hard time at first with explaining to others as my thoughts are more unclear and almost seem more like a "subconcious" thing, but when I finally get into explaining it, I at least find myself evaluating the things I said and if I don't say it outloud, I'm adding what else I do know that wasn't mentioned into now fully formed thoughts that were forced to surface. This method of putting out information verbally would be ranked 3 of 5 in effectiveness.
In this blog, 5 skills of the countless you can find online have been taken and rated between being high to moderate levels of effectiveness in helping boost memory. Practice test situations and distributed practice are ranked the two best methods, while interleaved practice, elaborative explanation, and self-explanation are considered only moderate methods. Being able to gather your thoughts and interpretations to explain something can help for sure, but being in a situation where now you have to actually apply your interpretation can accomplish more, especially in case of inaccuracy in your interpretation. When I complete a thought about something, I usually find that seeing if I was correct or if I'm missing something or have it backwards usually helps me solidify or see what I need to revise in my mind, and practicing quizzes pulls what I know to the forefront without me knowing if I'm actually right. Everyone is right in their own mind if nothing comes to challenge what they know. Like this article, I rank practice quizzing as 1, followed by distributed practice, and then elaborative interrogation, self-explanation, and interleaved practice as 3,4, and 5 respectively.
In this article, the methods for improving your abilities to learn and study revolve around explanation and understanding, practicing through quizzing and spaced and remixed rehearsals. Being able to relate new and old information and interpreting it under your own way make learning something's concept easier and simpler, but to make it concrete, exposing yourself to the information over time and through quizzes keeps your brain in a routine, like keeping an object in momentum up a hill rather than having to restart its movement when it has stopped completely and needs to build up momentum again, where cramming, much like the later "object" ends up not retaining anything as you just spent time building the momentum and not moving. With constant exposure to a vocabulary word, it becomes familiar overtime, and before, only a keyword would have a chance of helping with connecting definition to word. Practice quizzing and distributed practice would be ranked 1 and 2 respectively, and elaborative interrogation, self-explanation, and interleaving practice as 3, 4, and 5 in effectiveness.
Many strategies discussed in this blog revolve around the idea of enforcing what you know through taking what you know and making something with it. For example, visualisation and simply talking about the information gets you to take out what you learn and take it from being a undefined assortment of information and giving it more organization. The most effective, and mostly short term strategy here is chunking, although it is still very effective and doesn't necessarily mean it is only effective for a short time. By categorizing different pieces of information, you can fall back on memorizing the groups, rather than each individual piece, and that group will help single out any piece of information your mind will try to remember. I don't usually group, but if I notice something that can group together, it almost becomes like trying to memorize a song lyric, with groups being verses, and usually the end result of what I memorized to what I missed is near complete. These methods are similar to self-explanation in effect, as they are yourself reinforcing the information to yourself, so these methods would rank as 4, in effectiveness.