One major difference between high school and college is the amount of studying and memorization that is required. Many young people worry that their memories aren't up to the task when it comes to schoolwork. Here again it's a matter of training. Even though there are gazillions of ways to improve memory, schools don't do much to help students learn how to train their memories. Fear of inadequate memory can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more people worry about their ability to remember, the less they focus on the information they're trying to remember.
At our college prep program, we help teens discover just how much they're capable of doing and provide them with strategies for getting information to stick in their brains. We use rhymes, songs, stories, colors, smells, people, even animals, associating items to remember with locations around the room, or characters in a movie. The goal is to find ways to give the material the strongest impact. One of the best ways we've found to memorize a chunk of information is to tell it as a crazy story.
Sometimes we tell campers the following story without explaining anything beforehand about what it means: You walk into a deli and order a sandwich and it comes to you with pens stuck in it. You say "Ugh!" and throw it out the window. It lands on a man's bright orange jersey. You go outside and apologize and the man yells, "By George, you've ruined my jersey!" You run away quickly and he can't come after you because his feet are connected to cuts in the sidewalk. To be sure you've escaped you duck into a nearby Catholic church during a Mass.
You duck out and go into a music store owned by Marilyn. You walk in and hear a Southern carol playing loudly on the stereo. Suddenly, out of the floor come hundreds of baby new hamsters.
They pick you up and carry you off to a forest full of girls named Virginia playing harps. It's peaceful in the Virginia forest until the New York Yankees come out from behind the trees swinging. A ball is hit. You are hit by the ball. You're taken to a hospital where you have to wait in the North Care line. When you feel better, you jump out into traffic and barely make it to the road island.
On that island you look down and see a bunch of disgusting vermin oozing up from the ground, sticking to your bare feet. You scream, "Oh, rats!" Campers can easily memorize this story because of its absurdity and vivid details. Only after it's already in their heads do we reveal that they've also just learned the first fourteen states that ratified the U.S. Constitution - and the order in which they ratified it! These memorization techniques work because they cause the information we're learning to have a greater impact on our brains. By attaching information to a rhyme, a body movement, a color, a bizarre image, a location, a sensory experience, or an emotion, we're anchoring the memory in our minds by more than one connection.
We're getting more than one part of the brain in on the action by using visual, auditory, and kinesthetic strategies. Not only does it work, it makes memorization a lot more fun. When teens realize how much their minds are really capable of, their confidence skyrockets.
SuperCamp is held at eight beautiful colleges across the U.S. throughout the summer. Quantum U takes place at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. More information on our programs is available at http://www.supercamp.com and http://www.quantum-u.com . We also offer a unique 3-day Parent Weekend at which parents of kids in SuperCamp gain an insight into what their children are learning in their programs.