When you review important information by reading attentively, you often think that you have understood and will be able to remember all of the key points, but generally when absorbing new knowledge, you neither understand nor recall all of it. Subsequent repetition is necessary, as is the conscious assimilation of information. Multiplication tables and the alphabet, which you learned as a child through frequent review and recitation, are anchored so firmly in your long-term memory that you can probably recall them instantly and perfectly at all times. Th is mechanical review does work, but in my opinion, it takes too long and is not the most effective way of learning the subject matter.

Under normal conditions, memorizing something follows a pattern. We remember the material from the beginning and end of a lesson better than that presented in the middle. We remember information better if there was something unusual or really strange about it because enhanced memory is the result of an association created by fantasy, and consequently things are linked to new associations. In these cases, the brain also realizes that the information deviates from established patterns and passes the information on from the short-term memory to the long-term memory.

So when reviewing information, it is necessary to concentrate on the task at hand. Even information that you see day-in and day-out and with which you work frequently is not necessarily memorable, as can be proved with a simple example. You probably use a telephone, computer, or calculator every day. But without looking at them again, can you write out the letters and/or numbers on their keys and buttons in the proper sequence? Try it. If you can do so at your first attempt, then you’ve already mastered the art of observation and visualization perfectly and probably have a good memory. Th e crucial point is to concentrate on what you have to remember while reviewing it as well. It is known that the human brain can maintain a relatively high level of retention for twenty to fifty minutes. Given this, it is recommended that after you have decided how long to spend on a specific subject, you fit in small breaks as you need them. Th is way, you can maintain a higher level of concentration.

Th e time frames you set to review the subject matter you wish to store in your long-term memory depend on many factors. This basic rule applies, you should review important material again in about ten minutes after learning it, then again a day later, a week later, two weeks later, and finally a month later. The more often you review it with concentrated attention, the higher the probability that you will remember it in the long term. As you train, make note of your own memory patterns over longer periods of time and then apply this knowledge accordingly when learning new information.