Can’t Remember What You Just Read?

Ever have one of those moments, hours, days…lifetimes where no matter how hard you try, you can’t remember what you just read or studied? My boss, the Dean of Online, seems to be able to retain information like a sponge. Me? If I don’t have it in notes somewhere, I can’t remember most of what I’ve read. Of course, I do have the distinction of remembering numerous zip codes and the phone number of my best friend from first grade. It’s a gift? I will insert a caveat here that the Dean of Online’s head is larger than mine (not talking ego here), and I figure he can store more information. But I digress. There are ways to do a better job of retaining what you’ve studied by learning various study skills. One such skill is memorization.

In PSY101 we learn some tricks for how to study. I know…BORING! Not really. Unless you have a photographic memory (which I don’t), there is a method to the madness of remembering things. Here’s one of the tricks (Material taken from Telling Ain’t Training, Stolovich and Keeps, 2002).

Look at the following numbers for 45 seconds:


Now, without looking at the screen, write down as many of the numbers as you can Can’t Remember What You Just Read remember. How did you do? When I tried the first time, I got so flustered that I could only remember there was a 7 and a 2 somewhere, and a couple of zeros. Currently, if you were to ask me to recite that series of numbers to you at any one moment, I could. The secret is to help your brain relate to it.

Look at the following short paragraph for 45 seconds:

The 7 dwarfs met the 3 little pigs in 2002, 39 steps from a 4-way crossroad. Suddenly, 101 Dalmatians attacked. The dwarves and pigs ran as fast as their 2 legs and 4 feet could carry them. They escaped, gave each other a high 5, and continued along Route 66.

Again, without looking at the screen, write down as many numbers as you can remember. Did you write down more this time? If you were to read through that paragraph a few times, I’ll bet you would have it memorized. As a matter of fact, I’ll do it without even looking; my eyes are closed, I promise! My friend will attest to that. (Friend: I attest to that.)


Not too bad for an old gal with a shrinking brain.

What does this have to do with you? How to study is one of the most important things you will learn early on in your college career. Some people are better when they see something written and can read it, others like to hear and read, and then there are those who do better if they can use the sense of touch like writing with a pencil. Whatever your best style of learning, you can add different study helps in order to retain the information even better. The exercise above is one type of study skill (memorization). You have access to many ways to add to your study skills.

Part of what new students at Stevens-Henager College learn in PSY101 comes from MyFoundationsLab in the “Study Skills” section. There, at your own pace, you can learn:

  • * Time Management, Coping with Stress and Anxiety (ever experience that?)
  • * Concentrating When You Read and Study
  • * Getting the Most from Your Reading
  • * Rehearsal Strategies
  • * Effective Note Taking
  • * Studying Smarter: Studying in the Disciplines
  • * Preparing for Taking Exams

As a PSY101 student, you will cover some of these subjects in the course; however, the Study Skills feature in MyFoundationsLab is accessible for the entire time you are a student at Stevens-Henager. You don’t have to be a PSY101 student.

Take a little time every day. Sign into MyFoundationsLab that is found on your course list. Click on the “Study Skills” feature and go through the “Learning Path” to help you find out where you could improve your study skills. If you’ve already taken it as a PSY101 student, you’re already set up and can keep going. Through some great interactive and repetitive exercises, you can continue to add to your abilities—all at your own pace! Just imagine what an excellent and exceptional student you would become if you were to go through all of those topics listed above.

Author Bio:
As the Associate Dean of Freshman Programs, Online Division, Sita Bell brings a diverse background of experience in business and academia. Serving as the Vice President of Finance for a corporation for 30 years, she is familiar with the unique challenges of running a small business. As a non-traditional re-entry student, she received her Bachelor and Master’s degrees from Utah State University, Logan, Utah, in 2007 and 2009, respectively. In her academic career at Utah State University, Sita served as Assistant Director of Rhetoric Associates/Writing Fellows, Assistant Director of English 1010, and taught English 1010, English 2010, English 6820, and American Folklore. She demonstrates to all students that it is never too late to attain an education.

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  • SAP Training

    Good idea. Sometimes it become really tough to remember something which  put a lot of stress in brain so if there is any technique which is supposed to help me to learn then it will be better for me. So thanks a lot to post such a useful blog in your site.

Disclaimer: Any opinions expressed here, except as specifically noted, are those of the individual authors or commenter’s and do not represent the views or policies of Stevens-Henager College.