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Using Your Memory Better

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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




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