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There are several different techniques a person can use to improve short-term memory. For instance, many use mnemonic devices, words or pictures to help remember facts, in order to help retain information. Chunking, separating large pieces of data into smaller pieces, can also help a person recall data. Playing brain training games such as cards or crossword puzzles as well as taking supplements has also been said to improve short-term memory. It is also helpful to take the time to train the brain to create as many mental pathways to new information as possible so that it is easier to recall later.
Perhaps the best way to help improve short-term memory is to consciously pay attention to and focus on the information. For instance, if a student wants to remember what he is studying, it may be best to turn off the television or radio. The background noise may be interfering with the brain's ability to properly focus on the information. Visualizing a fact, developing an audio cue, as well as repeating the information may also help to cement information in short-term memory. For instance, when a person sees a new word, he might look it up, visualize a mental picture, and say it out loud repeatedly in order to help pave several pathways to the new word.
The use of mnemonic devices may also help improve short-term memory. One popular technique is to take the first letter of items in a list and make a sentence out of it. For instance, back when Pluto was still considered a planet, the device, My Very Educated Mother Just Serves Us New Pizza, was used to remember the order of the planets, though it did not help with remembering the name of the planets. Other mnemonic devices can include visualizations that can help a person remember certain facts. Chunking can also be used to separate long strings of information, a phone or credit card number for instance, into smaller chucks that are easier to remember.
It has also been said that taking certain supplements and vitamins can help with short-term memory. For example, taking supplements like vitamin E, vitamin B, and Omega 3 fatty acids in addition to eating properly may help provide the brain with what it needs to properly store and access information. In addition, herbs like gingko biloba is said to increase memory. Exercising your brain can also help with memory retention. Simply reading, doing a crossword puzzle, or playing card games twice a day can help the brain work better and can help to improve short-term memory.