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I have a problem which I am unable to tackle to the best of my efforts. Whenever I learn a concept (maths, computers physics), if I am required to solve a question on it immediately, I do it without any problem. If I return to a similar problem later, say after two weeks, I can't think of anything on that problem. I know what concept will be applied but its all gone. I am not able to recall anything on that topic.

Why is this happening? I have tried everything - from trying to solve the same question twice or more times, regularly revising the concepts, etc. Regular revision does work. However, I think that the practice of redundancy can help only this far. What about situations in life where I can't revise concepts?

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can you give a more detailed example? For example, some cases happen in your work/study. – Hoàng Long Dec 21 '12 at 4:49
This is the most prominent example.It haunts me.Once I was trying to learning trigonometry. I learnt it from a famous trigonometry book written by a great author S.L.Loney. This was a dreaded book. So dreaded that even the teacher who saw it told me that. Anyways, he taught me some really basic concepts of trigonometry. Then I embarked on solving problems from that book. I could do them without any problem. But after one year, it was just GONE. No clue of how to solve even a single trigonometric identity. It was all gone. I knew all the concepts, really well. But all the strategies were gone. – kusur Dec 25 '12 at 9:04
@Kunai Suri: I think it's natural. Many of my friends are just like you, forget about trigonometry several months after they don't need to do exercises anymore... Actually, they are not really gone - the knowledge is still inside your head - you should be able to quickly catch up if you spend some time on it again – Hoàng Long Dec 25 '12 at 14:46
@Kunai Suri: thinking again, I think that your problem is about not calling up knowledges/memories when you need them, right? You may refer to the good answers below... but I think I can share with you a small tip: we can't remember all the things we want, but we can remember the "red thread", which including only the most important things. For trigonometry, you can note down what you think as the most important theories (in ONLY an A4 paper). After that, every time you need the info, just review that paper only. – Hoàng Long Dec 25 '12 at 14:55
Based on my experience, once you take note "the most important things" and structure them in the sheet, every time you look into it, you will see not only what was written, but also all the related knowledge. As I said before, your knowledge is not gone. They just need a simple "reminder", a "red thread" that involves old the memories to reform it again.. – Hoàng Long Dec 25 '12 at 14:58
up vote 5 down vote accepted

It sounds like your short term memory works just fine, but you aren't using your long term memory.

The generally accepted method for retention of new information (ie moving from short term memory to long term memory) is to review the day's experiences at end of day (ideally through writing notes and descriptions) followed up by a higher level review at end of week and end of month practice tests.

Repetition and revision is what gets memories stored for longer periods - so you need to focus on how you will do this.

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This is all because of the interest level my friend. we can all remember the pretty girl's name but will forget the guy's name standing just beside her in a day. this is purely due to the interest and focus factor (we may also recall every word she says because the focus was pinpoint, we didn't rote her words in our mind)

Secondly the girls name will began to fade out if she doesn't come into context. but this will not happen very soon. this is exactly how the things goes for normal people maybe barring anyone with 130+ iq.

Regular revision does work. However, I think that the practice of redundancy can help only this far.

I think that your mind is not taking more interest, and you don't know that your mind is not taking interest. so try to make things more interesting for example, how TCPIP works , you must have clear picture of that like on and likewise sites. just don't memories the layers. visualize in your mind what is practically done. get somewhat deep in the things. give one hour more here and there.always try to avoid rote for conceptual subjects like maths, computer science etc.

Best of luck!

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facing same problem...+1 for nice explanation :) – swapnesh Dec 20 '12 at 14:10
+1 - Nice real world example. – Abid Rahman K Feb 13 '13 at 8:22

Are you getting enough (uninterrupted) sleep? Everything you learn is stored in short term memory. Sleep is used for memory optimization and storing it into long term memory.

That said, with a lot of skills, like sports, musical instruments, or math, there is a long period of time where you can put in a lot of effort and never seem to improve. You'll have to just keep persistent with some things.

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Whenever I learn a concept ( maths, computers physics ). If I am required to solve a question on it ( immediately ), I do it without any problem.

IMHO, this sequence is wrong

If you would try to solve the question first (on your own), spending some time and effort and only then given that concept, you would value it much more and will remember it much easier

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