Human memory can be considered a store for information, from which one gets the information he or she wants, and when he or she wants it. Through memory, people are able to learn their experiences and adapt to the environment that keeps on changing. Memory is however highly fallible as it can makes several mistakes. Although peopel talk about memory as a gigantic library or an automatic video recorder, they cannot be an exact recording of events (Roediger, 2014). They can instead be considered a constructive process as it is through them that people organize and shape information processed, stored and retrieved. The process is however accompanied by serious errors and biases (Roediger, 2014). The processing, storage and retrieval function of memory makes it necessary to learn the memory.
Huffman & Dowdell (2015) describes the memory model to be involving three phases, that is, encoding, storage and retrieval. According to the model, the bank of information countered everyday goes through three basic operations, that is, encoding, storage and retrieval, each step representing a different function (Huffman & Dowdell, 2015). The memory encodes sensory information, that is, sound, visual, images and other senses, into its own language that it understands best and can use whenever there is need. The encoded information is then stored in the brain, which acts a store to human memory. The information is then retrieved or taken out of the brain when needed. The model is important for any student who wants to do well in college. The student must be able to encode, store and retrieve information, mostly facts and concepts from his or her memory. People may at times encode information in their memory automatically without being aware of it. This however may not be the case with college students. They may not be able to remember every information in their text books or what they were taught in class. These type of information can only be encoded if one pay attention to them, and keep on remembering them even when they are not in need of them (Huffman & Dowdell, 2015). To get information from their text books and encode into their memory, the students need to read the books regularly and pay attention, failure to which they might not be able to encode the information necessary. Failure to encode the information will mean that the students will bw having nothing to retrieve, thus will not be able to remember what they read or were taught in class. This will results to failure in the tests. Successful students must thus be able to encode information into their memory.
Once encoded, students should be able to store the information in their brain in a form that they will be able to remember. The storage is comprised of the sensory memory, the short-term memory and the long-term memory. The most preferred for students being the long-term memory (Huffman & Dowdell, 2015). If the students are able to store the memory here then they will be able to retrieve the information whenever they need it. Successful students must therefore be capable of storing the information well in their long-term memory. Those unable to store the information here are likely to fail in their tests, especially if the tests come after a long period of time. Once the information is stored, the students need to retrieve it whenever they are being tested. Getting the concept from their brain will allow the students get the answer the tests they are being put through. This will thus mean their success. A successful student must thus be able to have a memory that is able to go through the three phases of memory model (Huffman & Dowdell, 2015).
Through his article, how tests makes us smarter, Roediger (2014) talks about the importance of being able to retrieve information. Here he uses the importance of testing students for learning purpose. The author clarifies that testing students is not just for the purpose measuring their learning, but it improves the learning process as a whole. He says that regular testing will mean that the students are able to remember the information they stored before it is lost again. Lack of testing will lead to faster loss of information thus no retrieval will be able to be done when the information is needed. In his research, the author found out that students earned higher grades on materials that were taught in class and afterwards quizzed three times. This was however different from those materials presented in the same way and reviewed three times but never quizzed. Regular testing thus improves retrieval of information from the brain.
Most of the college students, including me, use the common strategies like highlighting, rereading and underlining when doing studies. This is done with the illusion that it is an easy way to master concepts and information needed to do tests (Roediger, 2014). Roediger (2014) however discourages these strategy terming it a large waste of effort. He discourages these study strategies since they do not involve practice in retrieving and applying what is known. For this reason he prefers that students test themselves regularly to avoid forgetting the information when they need it most.
His research and that of Huffman and Dowdell (2015) gives me every reason to change my study strategy and to start testing myself regularly, to be able to answer my exam questions with ease.
Huffman, K. & Dowdell, K. (2015). Psychology in action (11th ed.). New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated.
Roediger, H. L. (2014). How tests make us smarter. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/20/opinion/sunday/how-tests-make-us-smarter.html
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