Stories can be used to remember information.Storytelling in general has long been a vitally important way of understanding and retaining information. Professor Vera Pavri, a historian of science and technology at York University, tells her students not to think of lectures as lectures but as stories where there is a plot, characters, and overall purpose to the discussion. The best lectures in math and science are often framed like thrillers, opening with an intriguing problem that you just have to figure out. If your instructor or book doesn’t present the material with a question that leaves you wanting to find the answer, see if you can find that question yourself—then set about answering it.And don’t forget the value of story as you create memory tricks. So stories help a lot to remember information.

Combine It With Muscle Memory For Better Results

Many educators have observed that there seems to be a muscle memory related to writing by hand. For example, when you first stare at an equation, it can appear utterly meaningless. But if you thoughtfully write the equation out several times on a sheet of paper, you will be startled by how the equation will begin to take life and meaning in your mind. In a related vein, some learners find that reading problems or formulas aloud helps them understand better. Just be wary of exercises like writing an equation out a hundred times by hand. The first few times may give you value, but after a while, it simply becomes a rote exercise—the time could be better spent elsewhere.

Real Muscle Memory

If you really want to boost your memory as well as your general ability to learn, it seems one of the best ways to do it is to exercise. Several recent experiments in both animals and humans have found that regular exercise can make a substantive improvement in your memory and learning abilities. Exercise, it seems, helps create new neurons in areas that relate to memory. It also creates new signaling pathways. It seems that different types of exercise—running or walking, for example, versus strength training—may have subtly different molecular effects. But both aerobic and resistance exercise exert similarly powerful results on learning and memory.