Youth Counselling

I have a very weak memory

I am a 17-year-old boy studying in Std XI. My problem is that I have a very weak memory. When the teacher gives a lecture in class, I think I can remember everything, but after a few days I forget. I want to come up in life but it will not be possible with this kind of a memory. Sometimes I think of discontinuing my studies. What should I do to improve my memory and get good marks?
Ashwin

Dear Ashwin,

You sound discouraged that you cannot remember everything from your teacher’s lecture. But you know what? Thinking that you can remember — but then forgetting — is normal!

Do look up The Forgetting Curve on the Internet and you will realise that the biggest drop in remembering happens soon after learning. Not only this, but memory also becomes weaker with time, so even if you revise, you will remember only some of it after a week. Our nervous system works on the principle ‘Use it or lose it’. Hence, revise at regular intervals.

For good memory, you need to: 1) Take an interest in the topic — it is the key to remembering; 2) Make meaning: connect the topic to something you know. E.g. — Look for ways that you can use it in real life. 3) Organize your information — chunk or group the information into topics and sub-topics so that you remember one group together; also, transfer information from text form to diagrams, mind maps, concept maps, tables, etc.. 4) Make it fun — if you associate something funny with certain topics, you won’t forget them. Fun is also about connecting it to something you enjoy, e.g., a sport, or movies, etc. And fun is also about playing while you learn. 5) Solve practice papers – lots of them.

Finally, if you would like to, you can get the following books: Learning How to Learn by Barbara Oakley & Terence Sejnowski and Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential by Barbara Oakley; Improve your Memory, Study and Reading Skills Creatively by V. Tucker (Better Yourself Books, Mumbai).

More articles

Nasreen Hashambhoy is a Counsellor, Life Coach and a Facilitator of training programmes for schools and corporates. Through a combination of coaching, counselling and facilitation techniques based on cognitive science and positive psychology, she helps clients achieve their true potential. She is the author of the series Values In Action published by Better Yourself Books.

Nasreen Hashambhoy

Nasreen Hashambhoy is a Counsellor, Life Coach and a Facilitator of training programmes for schools and corporates. Through a combination of coaching, counselling and facilitation techniques based on cognitive science and positive psychology, she helps clients achieve their true potential. She is the author of the series Values In Action published by Better Yourself Books.