Learning how to Learn – Memory Techniques | Dyslexia UK

Learning how to Learn – Memory Techniques

January 23, 2023 Keir Williams Comments Off

Schools and teachers are experts in teaching the content of their subject. They understand the specifications of examination boards and the requirements of the exam. They teach, set homework and revision tasks to maximise their students abilities to achieve their best possible result in the examinations.

Despite this, schools and teachers are not very good at teaching core learning skills such as memory techniques, revision strategies and accurate note taking. This series of blog posts takes each of these topics in turn and shares useful strategies to help students to learn how to learn. This is the first of three articles on strategies and techniques that can aid a person’s memory.

Memory Techniques

Memory involves the processes of acquiring information from the world around us, storing, retaining, and later retrieving it. If you are not able to retain what you learned after a few days, there may be a fundamental problem in your learning because you are not storing information effectively. However most people retain only 21% of what they have learnt 1 month later, so have forgotten around 80% of information.

However, with practice and training in memory techniques, the power of the memory can be greatly improved. This blog post discusses some useful memory techniques for people with dyslexia.

  1. Big to small

People with dyslexia often have strengths in being able to see the ‘bigger picture’. This strength can be developed into a useful memory technique. When you start by learning this general background (bigger picture), you will comprehend it better and the concept will remain in your memory for longer.

2. Dumping

Every second we are inputting information into our brains. Our brains are usually good at filtering and forgetting most of the unimportant inputs. Part of training your memory involves selecting what to remember in the first place, so that you are not remembering unimportant information. For example, unless you are this guy, you don’t need to remember old passwords from 10 years ago.

3. Organised storage

Just like a tidy cupboard, being organised in your memory helps you find what you want later on. People with dyslexia often have strengths are visualising so mindmaps, organising information into diagrams, patterns or timelines for chronological dates plays to their strengths.

4. Emotional connections

Our strongest memories are linked to an emotion. Think back to your childhood memories and they will nearly always be related to a heightened emotional state that you were experiencing at the time. Similarly we remember information that we are interested in (which is why so many millennials can still remember pokemon details). Use this to turn ‘boring facts’ into relevant information for yourself. For example, if you are study the exchange rate and its effect on exports and imports, connect it to your hobby, and how that could make your equipment cheaper or more expensive. This also makes it relatable, so something that is easier to understand.

5. Foundation First

Rote learning is where we repeat information without understanding it. Unfortunately it is very difficult to remember anything that we don’t understand. By understanding a topic we have ‘mental pegs’ that we can pin the information to. This means that we shouldlways start with the basics and build up the fundamental concepts. Use school text books and revision materials and don’t be afraid to start at ones below the level you are at to truly understand a concepts before building up

6. Links and Connections

Build on existing information in your brain to make connection and build links to new information to create associations. It doesn’t matter if these are weird and random, in fact it is better to help you remember.

7. Draw it

Diagrams, models, charts and mindmaps are all ways to visually represent complex information. People with dyslexia are generally very visual learners and are better at remembering pictures than words, so where possible, turn complex ideas into visual models.

8. Colour it

Colour is a useful tool to capture our attention and also to categorise different information. Tips to using colour include:

  • Use highlighters, multi-coloured pens and multi-coloured sticky notes.
  • Use a consistent colour code across all your subjects and topics (such as a different colour for facts; for explanations; for key terms and for examples)
  • Colour code your notes after you have taken the notes, not while you’re writing them. This is because the process of colour coding will strengthen your memory when re-reading your work and also won’t interrupt the flow of your study session when writing the notes first time.
  • However, don’t go overboard as too much colour will mean it loses its impact.

Make sure you view the next two weekly blogs for some memory techniques.

For the Learning how to Learn blog about note taking, click here: https://www.dyslexiauk.co.uk/learning-how-to-learn-accurate-note-taking/

For the Learning how to Learn blog about revision strategies, click here:


To speak to a dyslexia assessor, contact is here: https://www.dyslexiauk.co.uk/#request-form