Memory Month Day 1: Time of Truth

Today was the day of realizations. It started off with me doing three tests meant to assess my short term memory. Then, it continued with me realizing that this first week is going to be hard. Really hard.

The tests I took were pretty simple: they were all meant to give me an indication of how many “things” I can hold in my short-term memory. The average amount is seven pieces of information.

And so I took one test for numbers, one for letters, and one for words. In other words, I found out how many numbers, letters and words my short term memory can hold.

Here are my results for the numbers test:

Numbers

Eight is an ok score. I’m not particularly excited about it, but I don’t feel disappointed either. Perhaps in this month I’ll discover a better way to remember digits, because at this try all I did was repeat the digits in my head over and over until I had to write them down. At first, I thought about using the mnemonic device I showed you yesterday. The one where each digit has a corresponding word that rhymes with it. However, I figured that repeating something like : “Blue, Hive, Plate, Door”, is more difficult than repeating “2, 5, 8, 4”.

Now that I think about it, I realize it was probably just because I haven’t used this type of association before. This, of course, meant that there would have been more work to convert each digit into a word, and then back to a digit when I had to write it in.

This obviously shows I have to practice implementing this sort of thing over and over until it becomes second nature. As they say it, “Practice makes it perfect”.

Now, on to the letters score:

Letters I’m not a big fan of this result. Not even remotely. Why? That’s because it’s below average. I realize that remembering a string of letters is not as useful as remembering a string of digits (after all, that’s what phone numbers are). Yet I would still like a higher result.

Here’s to hoping this week will help me improve this result, since I will be working with acronyms!

And now, for the last score:

Words

This score I’m quite happy with. The reason is that I was quick to implement some mnemonic devices while taking this test. Also, I scored higher on this one than on the other two. Normally, I would have expected to score less on this one, because one word contains more information than one letter or one number. Hence, my short term memory should have gotten full faster.

However, I made use of two handy-dandy techniques. The first one was grouping things together. Well, sort of. Basically I tried creating sentences in my mind with the first row of letters.For that, I modified some words a little, to make my sentence make a little bit of sense. So the first string became: “Chief shoots tours, needs terms”. What I was going for in my head was a chief shooting some tourists (not the same word, I know, but they’re pretty similar), because he wanted his terms to be met.

This process took quite a bit of time, so I tried a new one: visualizing. This is pretty much what I did for the words opera, lines, and coasts. For each of them, I painted a vivid picture in mind, that was representative for me of that word.

Also, just in case you’d like to take this memory test as well. While I was taking it, I was listening to a piece of classical music. The reason I did it was because I wanted to control the sound around me as much as possible, and this seemed an easy way. Next time I’ll take this test, I’ll simply listen to the same piece again.

Now on to the other realization I had today….

…which is basically that this week is going to be perhaps the most difficult one. Not only is it the first one, which means I’ll have trouble getting used to the new posting schedule, but its main topic is also the most difficult. I have been trying the entire day to figure out how on earth am I going to be use acronyms and grouping things together to aid my memory.

Grouping things together seems a little more manageable, but acronyms? I’ll have to see how I feel about them.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I think they can be quite useful, but for specific cases, not for everything.

But that’s all for the first day of this challenge! Join me again tomorrow to find out how I’m managing Memory Month. Also, check below for links!

/Larisa

  • Want to do take the memory tests I took? Click here!
  • Yesterday’s post is here.
  • The original post on how to improve your memory is here.
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