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Breaking Down and Grouping Information

You may need to consider grouping the subject matter to be learned or retained. For example, if you are preparing for a test that requires recall of specific information, like dates and numbers, grouping this type of information into small bits will aid your memory.

Let's assume that you have 12 sets of numbers and 12 dates to remember for your test. Rather than sit down with a total of 24 bits of specific information, group this data into smaller bite-size bits -- e.g., four groups consisting of six bits of information. You will now study a group of six dates or a group of six sets of numbers, rather than all of the dates and numbers.

Breaking down the subject matter into small bits and pieces corresponds to spacing out your study time. You will remember more -- and consequently score better on your exam -- by studying small bits of information within small periods of time. Grouping information is helpful for your short-term memory.

Have you ever noticed that your attention to and retention of reading material always seems to be better if the book has several small chapters of eight to 12 pages each, rather than four chapters with 50 pages each? In an attempt to practice what is preached, you will note that this book has several chapters consisting of six to 12 pages.