what is total recall learning

Did you ever want total recall learning, but feel like you’re only remembering portions of what you just covered?

Or how about this? A few days after you worked to learn something new, you only had a foggy memory of most of it?

Have you ever read a full page in a book and when you finished you had to go back and re- read it because it did not stick in your mind?

Well then – good news! Total recall learning is entirely possible and the only reason that you may not have it yet is because back in school, they only told you what to learn but not ‘how to learn’ it.

Certainly there weren’t any classes on learning and memory strategies.

So let’s change that right now and tap into your brain’s full potential by giving you everything you need for total recall learning.

Read on for a brain-proven blueprint on how to remember everything you learn and read.

Table of Contents

1. Find Out How You Learn Best

2. Turn What You Learn into Mental Movies

3. Know How to Access Visual Memory on Demand

4. Retain More by Taking More Brain Breaks

5. Get Rid of the Habits Slowing Down Your Reading

5 Steps to Total Recall Learning

1. Find Out How You Learn Best

What is Total Recall Learning?School tells you what to learn, but not how to learn it, right?

You’re already familiar with the formula – the instructor at the front of the room delivering the same instruction to everyone.

While this formula might be familiar, it doesn’t take into account that everyone processes information differently, so using the one-size fits all instructional method often comes up short. The result is that you don’t have complete access to your full potential for total recall learning.

Here’s what you need to know. There are three main learning preferences and before you begin to have total recall you’ll want to know how you prefer to learn best. The learning preference types are visual, auditory and kinesthetic (tactile).

When you’re a visual learner you work well with text, and information in visual formats. You’ll easily process and remember charts, diagrams, infographics, etc.

If you’re an auditory learner, you’ll like to recall things you’ve heard. You’ll prefer to remember audiobooks over books in print.

If you like to move and groove, you’ll love to physically engage with what you’re learning and with your environment. You’ll thrive in practical lessons and experiments, and enjoy classes like PE or theater.

At work, try standing during meetings, or even using a standing desk with gadgets that activate your core by your feet.

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Despite the fact that all learners have their own specific preference in how they learn best, schools test learners in one primary style – the visual learning style.

Here’s a little-known but very powerful secret.

If you’re a high visual learner and think in pictures, you actually have a hidden advantage in school because written tests cater to your preferred learning style. Remembering things in images is scientifically faster, and recall in words or in how you “feel” about the material is a lot slower.

That’s the only reason (if you studied the material of course) that some people struggle on written tests.

What’s required on written tests, which are generally time based, is super fast recall. And if you’re more of an auditory learner who prefers to “hear the words from the book or a lecture in your mind, or a kinesthetic learner, who thinks more about your interactions with the material, you may be in a position where you can’t show what you know fast enough during the timed written exam. 

This mismatch creates a lot of unnecessary headaches, so here’s how to take care of that right now.

How to Fix this Mismatch

What is Total Recall Learning?

For starters, before you can figure out how learning works best for you, you need to determine how you prefer to learn best.

Take the FREE learning styles quiz here to discover which learning styles best describe you!

By knowing your preferred learning style and the percentage of each modality, you can customize which learning strategies are a match for you.

For example, if you’re an auditory learner, you’ll find it beneficial to use text-to-voice readers and audiobooks when you’re going through books and reports!

In my course Total Recall Learning, I’ll show you some extraordinary, brain science backed shortcuts, so that you can triple your reading speed with excellent comprehension. And, best of all, it won’t take you weeks using lots of drills and practice.

You might recall information better by reading it out loud to yourself, by explaining it out loud to yourself or to someone else, or by discussing the topics with others. Remember, a huge sign of whether you’ve successfully learned something is if you can successfully teach it to someone else!

If you’re more of a kinesthetic learner, you might prefer to learn while moving around, pacing in time with what you’re reading or saying out loud, or acting out the material.

The biggest secret of all for those written tests is that no matter what you’re learning preference, in the Total Recall Learning course, I’ll show you specifically how to add some visual strategies so that you shine and show everything you know in record time during the exam.

Read on to learn more about how you can turn everything into mental movies…

2. Turn What You Learn into Mental Movies

What is Total Recall Learning?Thinking in images is something visual learners do naturally when they read and learn – they turn the information they need to recall into movies in their mind.

And neuroscience shows why this gives them such an advantage during a written exam. Your brain is much, much faster and better at processing and recalling images than it is text!

You engage over 80% of your brain’s surface areas when recalling images. Attaching images to information you know can boost your recall by up to 65%!

In fact, images directly bypass your short-term memory and go into your long-term memory, unlike text.

One study from the 1970s even finds that participants were able to remember over 2,500 images with over 90% accuracy, three days after they’d seen the images!

Unlike text, which your brain has to work harder to decode, letter by letter, word by word, and then in combinations to make meaning, images communicate meaning instantly.

For example, what’s faster for you to recall – an image of your childhood home, or the address?

Which is faster – remembering the faces of those you know, or remembering their full names one by one?

Your brain is naturally better at recalling images than it is at recalling text – so here’s how you can use that to your advantage!

Summarize What You Read into Mind Maps




What is Total Recall Learning?

Tony Buzan, a psychologist, education consultant and author, developed mind maps when he realized, via studies with his students, that linear notes didn’t help improve recall at all.

Mind maps, on the other hand, use brain science to help summarize information you’re learning into an easy, intuitive visual format your brain can process and recall easily.

A typical mind map starts with a circle with the main idea or chapter name in the center. As you move around this circle, clockwise, draw spokes, connected to the circle, leading to smaller circles for each of your subtopics or subsections.

If each of these subtopics split further into other important points, draw smaller spokes and circles branching out of your subtopic circles.

When you do this, your brain engages with the information you just read a lot more meaningfully. Be sure to add images that remind you of the text.

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memory skills made easy

Rather than just reading paragraph after paragraph, your brain wants to connect these topics to something that helps make sense of the information in a more intuitive way.

Mind maps are meaningful because they connect pages of content into a single image that you can take in at a single glance. This is why you can nix the linear notes during a lecture or when taking notes on written material.

A mind map automatically boosts your comprehension and total recall!

Create Pictures and Associations by Asking “What Does This Remind Me Of?”

You know how people tell you to do something but leave out the “how to” part that would make the information easier to understand?

For every learning style, you’ll want to practice creating images and associations of the material as it virtually guarantees you’ll have Total Recall Learning.

Here’s how to make those connections and associations with something you already know. Ask yourself, “What does this remind me of?”

Imagine this association vividly in your head – make it as colorful, funny and memorable as you can.

When you do this, your brain is connecting something you are learning to something you already know, and this association helps create a mental bookmark that helps you remember what you just learned.

For example, imagine you’re in Chemistry class and you’re learning about how to test for carbon dioxide.

The test for carbon dioxide is that it turns lime water cloudy.

If you want to remember this test, why not imagine yourself breathing out clouds into a test tube? You’re connecting an existing piece of knowledge – that you breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide – to a vivid mental image of clouds in a test tube.

This is a lot more memorable than remembering the words “Carbon dioxide turns lime water cloudy”, right?

3. Know How to Access Visual Memory on Demand

What is Total Recall Learning?So now you know how to create visual memories – by asking yourself what something reminds you of and creating a vivid mental movie of this association.

The next step is knowing how to access these visual memories whenever you need to – and you can do just that using your Eye-Brain Connection.

Your eyes are one of your brain’s most critical sources of input. And neuroscientists, using technology called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), discovered that by moving your eyes to different positions, you can activate different parts of your brain and access different types of memory.

Okay – think about a time you were a little upset about something. Not too upset – just a little.

Imagine in your mind’s eye what you must have looked like when you were feeling that way – probably, you’d picture yourself looking down, shoulders slumped over, expression unhappy.

When you look downward, to either your right or your left, your brain enters its kinesthetic mode – it’s thinking in terms of emotions rather than words.

If you keep looking downward, your brain stays in this kinesthetic state and isn’t able to create or recall visual memory easily because it’s preoccupied with how you are feeling.

On the other hand, do this – ask someone to conjure up a picture of their childhood home, or a time when they were incredibly successful.

Watch which direction their eyes go – most likely, you’ll notice their eyes moving upward, either to the right or the left. While a field called NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) made this information popular, it was first discovered years before that via psychologist William James, and then more currently, Francine Shapiro, who created EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing – which is used as therapy for PTSD.

When you move your eyes to the top left or the top right, you’re either creating or accessing your visual memory!

So when you need to remember the mind map you made to summarize your study material, or the mental movies you created out of a text, look up, to your right or your left, to access it!

I go into more detail about the power of eye movements and how to use them to your advantage in my course, Total Recall Learning, so check it out to find out more about the Eye-Brain Connection.

4. Retain More by Taking More Brain Breaks

What is Total Recall Learning?Have you ever sat in a meeting and realized that part way through, even if you were paying attention at the beginning, you start losing concentration?

This isn’t because you’re not paying attention or because you’re not trying hard enough – your brain actually doesn’t learn and retain well over a long stretch of time! In other words, focusing on something for long periods of time is not the best path to total recall learning.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, German psychologist, Hermann Ebbinghaus, came up with a way to illustrate why this happens using his Ebbinghaus curve of forgetting. He showed that memory is orderly.

This curve shows that, if you make no attempt to retain what you’re learning, the longer the gap between the time you started learning and the time you finished, the more you’re likely to forget the middle.

You might clearly remember the first and last paragraphs of your chapter, or the first few and last few slides of a work presentation, but the middle is a blur – because you’re not giving your brain a chance to store what it’s learning.

When you’re learning something, your brain is keeping all that information in a type of short-term memory called working memory.

All these new tidbits of information wait in your hippocampus, a part of your brain heavily involved in learning and memory, to connect to what you know and get worked into your long-term memory.

However, if you don’t give your brain a chance to do that, and keep piling on new information into your working memory, it goes over its limits and spills over. You end up losing a lot of what you learned as well as failing to retain the new information you were trying to learn.

Thankfully, the solution is simple. Scientists and learning experts find that reducing the gap between the beginning (primacy) and end (recency) of your study sessions helps you retain more of what you learned.

And then, after every short study session – about 20-25 minutes is ideal – taking a 5-minute break helps restore your working memory!

During this break, as you do something brain-friendly, like meditating or doing some light stretches, your brain gets the chance to wander around and review the information you just learned.

It can then start making sense of it in the context of what it already knows, connecting to existing information to find answers to questions and coming up with new ideas.

5. Get Rid of the Habits Slowing Down Your Reading

What is Total Recall Learning?You might not even realize it, because you’ve been reading the same way all your life, but beginning reading habits are most likely slowing you down and affecting your memory.

I highly recommend that you check out and complete the Eye-Q Reading Inventory – because it will help you know if you have any visual roadblocks in your way as you read.

This in turn helps you match the right strategies to these roadblocks to help you overcome them!

For example, you might realize that you tend to reread words or lines after you’ve read them, because you lose your place in the text or simply forget what you just read.

This is called regression, and it’s very taxing for your brain. Imagine trying to drive somewhere, but every couple of minutes you have to hit the brakes, reverse, and start again.

How much longer would it take you to get to your destination, compared to if you just drove normally without all these fits and starts?

Reading in this way is disruptive for your brain and interferes with its ability to commit what you’re reading into memory as well.

One very simple but very effective way of overcoming regression – as well as other habits like fixations where your eyes get stuck on the page a bit too long – is to use a tracker while you read.

Simply move your pen or your finger under the line as you’re reading. If you’re reading on a screen, use a cursor.

When you do this, you give your eyes a moving target to follow along and keep you on track – this stops you from losing your place or getting stuck and speeds your reading up automatically.

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memory skills made easy

As you read, remember to keep turning what you read into images in your head. Rather than the sequence of words, focus on the concepts and ideas, and have fun making mental movies that bring those concepts and ideas to life.

Although it may take you a little practice at first, once you’re used to it, you’ll not only be reading faster but also easily recalling everything you read!

To learn more about the reading habits that slow you down, and strategies to overcome them – including a proven hi-tech method to triple your reading speed and recall – check out Total Recall Learning!

I hope that this article not only helps answer the question “What is Total Recall Learning?” but also gives you the tools you need to access it for yourself.

For plenty more brain-backed strategies and best learning practices to help you unlock your learning genius, do check out my 10-day course!

pat wymanPat Wyman is the CEO of HowtoLearn.com and an internationally noted brain coach known as America’s Most Trusted Learning Expert.

Pat’s superpower is helping people learn, read and remember everything faster. She has helped over half a million people in schools and corporations such as Microsoft, Intel and Google improve their lives with her learning strategies, learning styles inventory and courses, inclluding Total Recall Learning™. 

Pat is the best-selling author of more than 15 books, a university instructor, mom and golden retriever lover!

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