Bad Memory? These Smart Tricks Boost Your Recall to Help You Ace that Test

Published June 1, 2015

By Carly Britton

We've all had those moments. You forget your own phone number. You blank on your best friend's little sister’s name. You stop dead, mid-sentence, unable to recall what you were going to say. You get to the test and you know you know the answer, but … you can't remember it to save your life.

Why do our memories fail us in the most crucial moments, and what can we do to fix it?

In these four articles, McGraw-Hill author Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne dives deep into the power—and the failings—of our memories to help you unlock the secrets to remembering the truly important stuff (like what you need to memorize for that upcoming exam).

  1. If You Want to Remember More, Try Remembering Less
  2. It's called the "response competition theory," and it states that while practice makes perfect, trying to memorize one piece of information too often can cause related information to be suppressed.

  3. Why We Remember Things the Way We Want to Remember Them
  4. Although you may think you recall that situation perfectly, you often don't remember exactly how things went down. And usually, your memories paint you in a better light than reality does. (Don't worry: we all do it.)

  5. How to Avoid Your Five Most Common Memory Errors
  6. Here are five memory errors you probably commit all the time, and the science behind why you make them and how to stop.

  7. Your Mind's Not Getting Older; It's Truly Getting Better
  8. Getting older doesn't mean your memory is getting worse. Difficulty in learning new things later in life can be attributed to a variety of factors, from test anxiety to social expectations to the simple fact that a person who has lived a long life has a lot more to remember than someone who has lived a shorter life.

Want to learn more? Follow Dr. Whitbourne on Twitter @swhitbo or check out her Abnormal Psychology program here.