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Zefrieg

Memorization

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Anybody else have trouble memorizing math formulas and terminology? I don't have any trouble at all doing math or setting up problems. In fact, it doesn't really feel like I'm doing much thinking when I work to solve the problem. Though, far too often I get stuck with a problem, because I cannot remember the formula or other things like conversions or integrations of trigonometry functions. I don't get why this is. In classes that are memory intensive, I don't have to take notes. I can just read the chapter once or twice and retain the information. When I read math texts, I remember the methods but not the formulas and tables. Come to think of it, I have a great deal of problems remembering phone numbers. I can't even remember my own cell phone number. Anybody have a good way to get better at memorizing these types of things?

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Well, this isn't everything. I guess you could say that it is more of a problem with remembering things I can't form connections with like numbers, formulas, and tables. My memory is great besides those things.

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Here is a good example:

I cannot remember a series of numbers by looking at them or reading them, but I can remember them by remembering the pattern I press on a keypad.

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The methods of memorising things and indeed of thinking change a lot between different people. Some people think visually, some actively and some people don't seem to think at all. :)

If you're good with the actual methods perhaps you could try an apporach along those lines. For example differentiating trig functions. Instead of trying to remember them visualise the function, then differentiate it in your head, you should now have another function. What does it look like?

That's how I learnt the trig formulas, unfortunately it doesn't work for the more complex ones, but it helps with educated guesses.

As for the heartbeat idea, what's the idea in that? Is it that too low and there's not enough oxygen getting to the brain? I'd imagine that that would have more to do with general fitness. I know my rest heartbeat is about 63, 64 usually. That's lying in bed. It's about 75 at the moment. I'll have to start recording my rest beat. I haven't been running for the past couple of months, I wonder if that makes a difference.

Sorry for the rambling sidetrack. One question:
What sort of things are you having trouble remembering, other than trig definitions? In maths there's very little to be learnt, just understood.

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Quote:
Original post by LogicalError
If your memory is really bad maybe you check your heart rythm
it's possible your heart beats too slow (<60 beats/sec)


Faster than AC current is too slow???

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When you need to remember a formula, always try to understand the meaning behind it: a geometrical interpretation, the method used to reach it, etc...

Over time, your brain will be used to that meaning enough that you'll be able to skip it and go from question to answer directly.

For instance, the classic trigonometry formula:

cos a-b = cos a cos b + sin a sin b

Trying to remember this formula turns out to be rather awkward. However, if you remember the method that allowed you to reach it, along with the general shape, you can find it easily.

If you consider two vectors on the trigonometrical circle, at angles a and b from the horizontal. Their coordinates are (cos a, sin a) and (cos b, sin b) respectively.

Their dot product is cos a cos b + sin a sin b (you can remember this easily). But their dot product also is their lengths times the cosine of the angle between them, which is 1 * 1 * cos a-b. Hence the equality.

By associating this simple mental image with the formula, you can remember it.

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Yeah, what are you talking about?!

Anyway, I was never hot on memorising forulae but I used to just derive them all in the exams from 1st principles and use that. Worth a try if the methods are easy to you?

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i have troubles memorizing names but i can remember that,say....
e=2.7182818285 (but i just checked with calculator to be sure)
or
pi=3.1415926
.
But i used to derive simple things such as solution of quadratic equation instead of remembering.
x2+px+q=0
x2+px+0.25p2+q-0.25p2=0
from there i see that
x=sqrt(0.25p2-q)-0.5p

and if it's
ax2+bx+c=0
divide both sides by a and p=b/a , q=c/a ......

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I find that the easiest way to remember math is to remember the proofs and the basic definitions of the concepts, instead of memorizing anything. When there are things that would be easier memorized, try to remember the general look of the formula and then re-build it from what you remember; for example, plug in some values.

Even in sciences and humanities, it's usually better not to memorize things, if possible, but rather learn them by usage and by how they're related to other concepts.

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Man oh man, it would be all too easy to just start ranting about problems with the educational system getting us to rely more on looking to exterior experts or books full of various tables to memorize instead of allowing us to each reach our full potential by pushing our neurons to actually understand what it all means...

But really, think about it -- for each little formula they ask you to memorize, that was something that somebody, somewhere, sometime worked on because they found the concept interesting, they found it challenged them, they wanted to explore it and conquer it and come to understand it. Do you think they'd have wanted future generations to cite their accomplishment blindly, without understanding, without themselves appreciating the beauty and elegance of the mathematical relationships that tie that together with the rest of the whole puzzle? No way! It's a labor of love for mathematicians, and they wanted to share the wealth -- they didn't just want people to use their results without consideration, they wanted to share the brain-warming feeling of understanding, and the appreciation of the beauty of it all.

If you don't feel like you're really thinking when you're doing math problems, like it's just a mechanical process you follow an algorithm through to fill in the blanks until it's done...then you're not really doing a math problem! In that case, you're just doing some trivial sort of exercise, nothing profound and important. Indeed, you have only become for the time being a computational device, processing likely useless information -- how bogus indeed! How depressing to the human spirit, how insulting to the great thinker that is man, to be pushed so low! It's a travesty, an atrocity. You can do so much better.

Instead, try to find what's interesting. Go check out where it all came from. Just because they don't present it to you in school doesn't mean it's not out there, and it doesn't mean it's not worth knowing. Most schools only give you what they feel is the bare minimum of knowledge that is absolutely necessary to function decently in society. There's a heck of a lot more stimulating stuff out there, but you have to go get it yourself, that's the only caveat.

Personally, I remember phone numbers in a few different ways. Often by the pattern they make on the pad (there's absolutely nothing shameful in remembering things this way, or any other way -- seeing patterns is a profoundly human characteristic), sometimes by an almost sing-songy way the sound of the numbers seem to fall in line in my head (like remembering the words of a song) but generally never by the numbers alone. I'd venture to guess most people are remembering something else, and translate that to numbers.

But to wrap my ranting up, if you feel you're at a point where you need to memorize something, something is wrong! Instead try to find a way that things seem to flow together and make sense, try to find a relation of some sort. We're associative beings by nature; we think in terms of connections. Cause and effect go well together for us, that's why physicists, for example, can know a whole lot just by understanding how a very few basic principles cascade into vast chains of complexity.

So I pretty much support what everyone else has been saying; learn how and why, not just what. You'll go a lot further.

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Quote:
Original post by Zefrieg
I don't have any trouble at all doing math or setting up problems. In fact, it doesn't really feel like I'm doing much thinking when I work to solve the problem. [snip] When I read math texts, I remember the methods but not the formulas and tables.


Good. This is precisely what you need to focus on. This is the reason that in the real world people have written books others can refer to to find and use those tables and formulae when they need them. Memorising them is not nearly as important as understanding what they mean, how they come about, and how they can be used.

Of course, this only applies to the real world. In school they often try to make you memorise all this garbage, which is completely missing the point. (Luckily for me I have excellent memory for stuff like that, so it wasn't much of a problem.) The only thing I might suggest is that the more you use a formula or table, the easier it becomes to remember it. Knowing how to set up the proofs and derivations would also be handy, and this can be a consequence of understanding meanings behind formulae/tables, too.

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@Bucket_head:
But normally you get taught the derivation of forulae the first time round, then just get tested you can use (and maybe remember) them. Sometimes you have to show you can prove or derive a formula, butthere is a good reason to learn the most basic things - in the real world you don't have time to to look up every single formula. And if you use something a lot you shouldn't need to memorise it, so not providing you with the formulae also checks if you are comfortable or just plugging numbers into an equation.

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