Your brain is very amazing and the more you know how your brain works the more effectively you can use it. Learning the chunking memory technique to learn faster is how.
What is Chunking Memory
Chunking memory is a technique used to remember a long string of information by breaking it down into smaller sections (chunks). Chunking memory is very useful when you only need to remember something for a short period of time. Such as cramming a few things right before an exam, or remembering a phone number, while you are creating a new contact card on your phone. You likely use the chunking memory technique frequently and don’t even know it. Most people chunk phone numbers naturally when they are told a new number.
Why I Use Chunking Memory Techniques
I have been through a lot of schools and have done very well. I joined the U.S. Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program right after high school, 10 days after I graduated actually. This initial training is 18 months – 2 years of in-classroom and hands learning. After this, I earned a bachelor in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Washington in just 36 months. Later I went on to receive a masters in Electrical Engineering from the Naval Post Graduate School. In between earning my bachelor’s and master’s degrees I went back to the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Training Program as a commissioned Officer and completed another year of classroom and hands-on training. When I look back, I feel like I was a professional student and I was since I was getting paid to learn.
My Desire To Learn Faster Brought Me to Chunking
As a professional student, I felt it was my responsibility to do well. And as someone who values their own time and hates wasting it, I wanted to be effective with my study habits. So during my initial training in the Navy, I realized that the pace at which I was required to learn the information was faster than I was used to. In order to learn the information quickly, I searched for memory techniques that would help me retain the information faster. Chunking Memory is one of the techniques that I used.
How You Already Use Chunking
You likely use chunking and don’t even know it. Because phone numbers are already conveniently chunked into 3 parts most people chunk them naturally. The 3 parts are (Area Code) Prefix and Line Number. Specifically, when you tell someone your phone number you say it with these 3 parts with a little pause between each part. If you are nice the pause allows the other person to repeat each part in sequence during the pause. In the end, you have successfully transferred information using chunking.
Chunking is Not Perfect
I am sure that when transferring phone numbers you have had to repeat yourself or had someone repeat themselves. This doesn’t mean that chunking doesn’t work. Even though you may have to repeat the process a few times to remember the number, you will recall the number with much more ease than if you didn’t chunk.
Why Does Chunking Work
Chunking works by using the limits of your short-term memory and pushing things into your working memory. Subsequently, if you desired you can use chunking to more quickly pass information from working memory into long-term memory through some repetition. The paper The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two sparked many studies on short-term and working memory and reveals why chunking is effective. Many of the follow on studies pointed to the limits of our short-term memory and how to move things from short-term to working to long-term memory. Chunking memory is a technique best suited for utilizing working memory since there are better techniques to push things or place things in your long-term memory.
Other ways to Use Chunking Memory
You can use chunking for more than just memorizing phone numbers. Chunking can be used for remembering passwords. Since passwords are also strings they can be easy to chunk. Using chunks can also help you make strong passwords.
How to Make Strong Passwords Using Chunks
To make a strong password using chunks first make 3 or more easy-to-remember chunks out of numbers or letters. For example, THS !$& 574 are 3 chunks. You can create any chunks but remember you should use letters, numbers, and special characters. Once you have your chunks you want to arrange them in order that you can remember them.
Using Chunks to Have Unique Passwords for Every Website
Now that you have a base of 3 or more chunks that you can remember you can use this to make unique passwords for every website. To do this create a new chunk or two for each website. You need to have a standard method for developing this chunk. So you don’t have to remember the chunk just how you created the chunk. One way is to use the first and last letter of the website as the first chunk or last chunk. Using the above example with say a gmail.com account we could use
How to Improve Your Chunking Memory Techniques
To improve your recall faster you should combine other memory techniques and exercise your mind. Some easy ways to enhance your chunking ability is through
Improve Chunking Through Repetition
Practice makes perfect or perfect practice makes perfect. When you start using chucking memory techniques frequently you will get better and better at them. Use it to learn how to spell new words or remember your grocery and shopping lists.
Recall More Chunks Through Making Relationships
Your ability to remember more chunks can improve through grouping by relationships. Using your shopping list you could group all of your dairy, then all meat, then all fruit and vegetables. You can use the location of these items in the store to group them, similar to a Loci or memory palace technique.
Improve Chunking Through Association
Making associations between things you need to remember will greatly improve your ability to chunk. When you tie what you need to remember to a single association, your brain will connect the chunk items together. As a result, you only have to remember the association to recall the whole chunk. An example of this is if you are packing for a trip, the clothes you pack will be associated with the activities you do. Such as gym shorts and shoes, a shirt, socks, and extra underwear to exercise in. When you are packing if you think of the gym you won’t forget your gym clothes.