When studying, it is important to know, 1st, that there are two essential components of memory and, 2nd, you actually need to forget to ace tests!
How Memory Forms By Forgetting – Getting to Chicago
The two essential components of memory are the actual memory itself (which is limitless in its storage capacity) and the pathway to get to that memory.
For example, if your memory is stored in Chicago, then you need a clear route to get to that memory.
In a fleeting memory, you might have a dirt path that leads to the memory in Chicago, which quickly dissolves. This is what happens when you are introduced to someone at a party and a few seconds later you can’t remember their name. You didn’t forget their name – but the path to where their name is stored was wiped away by other thoughts.
Limited Access Memory
In limited access memory, you might have a single paved road that leads to the memory in Chicago, but soon that dissolves as well. This is what happens when you cram for a test but can’t remember the material a week later.
In durable access memory, you have, not just a robust highway that leads to the memory in Chicago, but multiple highways, freeways, access roads, toll stations, walkways, and paths that lead to this one memory. So even if one disappears, you still have hundreds of others to get you there.
Blast Study accelerates the formation of multiple pathways to memories which leads to durable memory formation.
The strange thing is that part of that process involves forgetting!
Why You Have to Forget to Remember
It turns out that if you establish a memory and then the path to that memory fades and therefore you have to work hard to recall that memory to answer a practice question, your brain releases chemicals that both restrengthens the first path and creates additional pathways to that memory.
If you repeat this process a few times and each time add more days for forgetting between your practice quizzes, you grow thousands of pathways.
Eventually, you grow enough pathways that your brain transitions from rote memory, where you parrot predetermined answers, to adaptive reasoning ability, where you can answer any question the professor throws at you related to the topic.
How Blast Helps Form Durable Memories
Blast automates this process by waiting the right amount of time between practice quiz sessions to optimize the number of pathways available to a memory. Having enough time to get the full benefit out of this partial forgetting process means that it is to your advantage to start the first forgetting session as soon as possible.
This is one of the reasons why using active listening to learn everything the professor covers in the lecture is so important.
So the big question is – if you have built durable memories why does Blast have a special tool for cramming for exams?
There is an easy answer to this. While your brain has a seemingly unlimited ability to store new information – it limits that amount of information it keeps in a ready state for quick access.
Case Study – Your Brother Named Joe
For instance, let’s say you have a brother named Joe. If you go to a party and someone mentions Joe, your brain does not go through all the Joes you have met or heard of in your lifetime, it immediately brings the most relevant Joe to your memory, your brother Joe. This saves the brain time and mental effort.
This is exactly what cramming does. It brings the most relevant information to the forefront of your mind for easy access. In other words, it is like pulling Chicago closer to you.
We cover this more in our video on effectively using Blast Study. Check it out next!