The task of learning and remembering all the different physical properties of lipids and proteins in Organic Chemistry can be an extremely challenging duty. Being an athletic-training major here at the University of Iowa, it is one of my many obligations to understand and be able to recall such properties very quickly. By using mnemonic strategies, memory aid techniques that use vivid imagery and organization devices, I am able to defeat the challenge in my Organic Chemistry class of getting all the physical properties of lipids and proteins into my Long Term Memory and then recall them whenever I need. In order for me to understand and remember the physical properties of lipids and proteins, I must first relate personal experiences to the information my professor gives. For example, by using the mnemonic strategy of relating an object to an image, also known as the "peg-word" system, I can remember things such as the structural make up of a saturated fatty acid, a long bumpy tube, versus an unsaturated fatty acid, a bent bumpy tube. Also with this mnemonic strategy, I can remember the structural make up of a Liposome by relating it to what a flower looks like.
I can turn the task of remember what an Alpha-Helix protein looks like by associating it to the picture of a spring. A difficult subject to remember is easily turned into something easy by relating them to everyday symbols. This particular mnemonic strategy works extremely well for me because it associates items, such as the structure of Amino Acids, which are harder to understand with items that I can relate to in my everyday life, chains and springs. This technique puts the information I need to know and remember into my own words so to speak. It chunks the information into acronyms that I am familiar with. I am a visual learner, so this strategy is easier for me over others because I am more likely to recognize a picture and relate it to its short form.
To get the information about lipids and proteins out of my Long Term Memory I have to do the task of recall, which is the ability to retrieve information not in conscious awareness. There are many ways to in which I can make retrieving information stored in my Long Term Memory easier. One is by putting myself back in the context of where I experienced what I learned. In other words, by going back to the class room or place I studied the material on the physical properties of lipids and proteins the room or setting acts as a retrieval cue, or access to a memory, making it easier to retrieve the information stored. Another way to make recalling a memory easier is by making an association with something else at the time when I encode the information I need to learn. By using taste, smell, or sight I can evoke a recall of an associated episode.
For example, by constantly smelling peppermint while I study the physical properties of lipids and proteins I can associate the smell of peppermint with the information I need to learn. So by chewing peppermint gum while taking the test, the smell acts as a reminder of what I stored in my memory. In all this time of learning about the physical properties of lipids and proteins, there is always a chance of which a memory will fail to be encoded, stored, or retrieved. This is called a memory failure. For example, in an encoding failure I simply do not get the information encoded into my memory.
Thus, it never gets into my Long Term Memory. To avoid this I make sure to thoroughly read and reread the information in order to understand and remember it. Another way that I might forget the physical properties of lipids and proteins is by what is storage decay, or the decay of a memory. When something is not used in our brains it is replaced by other information causing a decay of that memory. In other words, use it or lose it.
By rehearsing the different properties of lipids and proteins many times, and going back over the information everyday I am able to minimize the decaying of the information. This rehearsal makes the memory stronger and deeper in my Long Term Memory.