Active Memory Explained

The development of an active memory, that is capable of recalling vital information when required, is a vital skill to develop when studying and preparing to sit exams. The key to successfully building an active memory lies in the ability to stimulate memorisation of key facts and concepts. 

Most study courses provide massive amounts of reading material, but the brain is simply not equipped to process and retain all that information in an easy to recall format. There are a few things that you can do to enhance your active memory though, and one of these is the use of flashcards, which have been proven to stimulate active memory.

Flashcards are easy to make, carry and use and tremendously effective in developing an active memory. The beauty of using flashcards is that they can be used to condense and simplify information in such a way, that only the important facts and concepts are learned. This helps to avoid the trap of learning interesting (but not particularly relevant) information that books and study guides often provide. Flashcards avoid this problem. They strip down vital information to the absolute essential elements and place them into a format that is not only easy to read and understand, but actually aids memory retention.

Research shows that for short-term memory to be consolidated into long-term memory, new short term memories have to be reviewed and consolidated shortly after they have been learned in the first place. Flashcards are ideally suited to aid this process. To get the maximum benefit from Flashcards, it is recommended that they be viewed at regular, progressive intervals. Initially, Flashcards should be reviewed in short intervals – whether that be on an hourly or daily basis, depending on your time constraints – and then, as your memory grows, you can extend the viewing period from hours to days, then days to weeks. By doing this, you create a learning process where you efficiently and almost seamlessly absorb all the knowledge necessary for you to confidently take an exam. This repetitive process will strengthen your active memory and ability to recall facts when required.

Learning any skill involves constant repetition. Flashcards are a way of breaking down essential knowledge into digestible chunks and ‘reminding’ our memory of these key concepts. It’s a process that requires discipline, but is not tiresome or overly difficult.

With anything new, it takes time for the knowledge or skill to become ingrained, so it’s necessary to repeat processes constantly until they become second nature. This, effectively, is the time when the knowledge moves to long term, ingrained memory. The use of Flashcards helps to speed up the process by making our memorisation an active process.

So, if you are looking to improve your active memory, take the time to prepare a flash card deck with the key points that you need to memorise and begin a regular program of Flashcard memorisation. This is a simple and effective way to not only achieve better results, but to gain confidence, as you will be able to measure your improvement.

The CFS Team
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