remembering vs. recognition for a test

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AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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06 Dec 2020, 7:53 am

Let’s say you leaf through a magazine and semi-memorize it, or so you think. You then open it up to a random page and ask, okay, what’s the next page? You don’t really know, but once you turn it, you say, Oh, yeah, it’s that.

You are just recognizing it.

You might do okay on a multiple choice test. But on other kinds of tests, not so much.

Late in my college career, I hit upon the note-taking method of let it be messy and fast. I’m taking notes to keep myself alert during class.

And then within several hours, I’d quickly scan through and circle stuff. Maybe even while sitting in the next classroom waiting for that class to get started. I might have a full 5 minutes, and that’s more than enough time to scan and circle. Or, maybe just 3 minutes, but I can make some good headway.

The goal of trying to have complete, neat, outlined notes, that’s never going to happen. So, stick with my old messy notes. Maybe even write additional stuff in a different colored pen. And/or maybe write additional stuff in the book itself.

The big high-level material — such as, what are the three main features of the New Deal? — maybe use the blank piece of paper technique. Again, one just does not have time to do this with all the material.

I’ve also used the blank piece of paper technique with sample problems from a calculus textbook. But that was in a college class in which homework was not graded. So, I could spend more time on fewer problems, which worked for me.

Wishing you all the best! Please experiment with different techniques. 8)



Fenn
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25 Feb 2021, 2:11 pm

I just read "Moon Walking With Einstein" - very good book - discusses just this sort of thing - and many other topics. It is kind of like a novel long article from Smithsonian magazine.

One example: in the book a room full of high school students are shown 50 random pictures (slide projector king of thing).
Then they are shown 50 pairs of photographs: in each case one is a picture they have seen before and one is a picture they have not seen before. In nearly every case they can immediately spot which picture is the one they have seen before.

The story in the book was an unscientific experiment - just to make a point - you are better at remembering certain kinds of things than you might think you are. The experiment has been done scientifically, and with a much larger list than 50 ans the results have been the same.

The book goes on the discuss the "Memory Palace" and relate memory techniques and many related topics. Very good read.



AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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20 Mar 2021, 2:08 pm

GLACIER
Image
Just as an example, if someone is taking a geology class, glaciers have A LOT OF TERMINOLOGY. And the above simplified diagram is just a beginning.

And so, if you can pre-study just a little bit, like 3 to 10 minutes, or anywhere within this broad range, you can probably stay alert for longer during class.



Last edited by AardvarkGoodSwimmer on 20 Mar 2021, 2:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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20 Mar 2021, 2:23 pm

Fenn wrote:
. . . a room full of high school students are shown 50 random pictures (slide projector king of thing).
Then they are shown 50 pairs of photographs: in each case one is a picture they have seen before and one is a picture they have not seen before. In nearly every case they can immediately spot which picture is the one they have seen before. . .

To me, this is recognizing, and not memorizing.



Fenn
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22 Mar 2021, 11:38 am

I think the two things you are talking about actually use different parts of the brain.
This is kind of like people who can drive some place but cannot give good directions.
I know when I see a landmark my brain "magically" presents me with a picture of what to do next, turn left or right, and what the next piece of road might look like.
The parts of the brain which are used for "how do I get there" and "how do I get back" are actually different than the parts most people use for rote-memorization. This can be seen on brain scans like FMRI. The book I mentioned also talks about the "method of loci" also known as "memory palace" - you can read up on it on the Wikipedia. Some people who study how the brain processes language have observed that there are two kinds of remembering for language - a lexicon (mental dictionary which holds words you have seen before" and a rule-base (kind of a mental database of rules for making rules from other words - like adding "ness" to the end of a word). When reading you can recognize words either from the lexicon, because it is a word you have seen before, or from the rule-base - even though you have never seen the word before you can make sense of it by using parts you recognize and rules.
For me I have a strong rule-base and a weak lexicon. My son has a strong lexicon and a weak rule-base.
The memory palace helps both - you create pictures of things you can put in a "place" (which might be the house you grew up in or a museum you love to visit) in your mind - these things are associated with things you want to remember - and place them on locations (loci) in the palace that you walk past in order. Then you can remember the things and the order by "walking" through the memory palace again in your mind.
Look for youtube videos with Josh Foer or Ed Cooke and they give some more details and examples.


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Fenn
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22 Mar 2021, 11:40 am

Also look for web pages and youtube videos about Anki (software). It is free flashcard software and is designed to use the ideas you are talking about to help you remember. Also Anki addresses something called "the curve of forgetting" - and how to beat it.


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AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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24 Mar 2021, 4:10 pm

Fenn wrote:
. . . The memory palace helps both - you create pictures of things you can put in a "place" (which might be the house you grew up in or a museum you love to visit) in your mind - these things are associated with things you want to remember - and place them on locations (loci) in the palace that you walk past in order. . .
This sounds kind of neat and well worth giving a dance.

And yes, I do mean ‘dance,’ as in a light-touch experiment.

Plus, I appreciate your specific references of Josh Foer and Ed Cooke (people!) and Anki (software).