Epilepsy & Memory Challenges, Pt 3: Techniques to Remember

Friday, July 31, 2020

We’ve discussed methods to use to improve your memory in a general way but there are even more focused ways to assist specific memory encoding and recall that might strengthen the retrieval process for you.


Recording the information

Listen carefully.

Ask the person to spell their name.

Think – do you like the name?

Repeat back the name(s).

Use the name as often as possible in conversation: “Glad to meet you, John.” Repeat the name when saying goodbye to the person.

If necessary, alter the way the name sounds to make it more meaningful to you.

Split a longer name into shorter words.

Try pairing the name with a visual image; e.g. Mr. Butcher.

Try to find similarities with a famous person of the same name.

Keep rehearsing the names you learn every few hours or days.

Try associating the name with a prominent feature on the person’s face.

Recalling the name

Don’t panic.

Think through each letter of the alphabet to trigger your memory.

Think of the situation where you first learned the name, and anything about the situation you may have linked with the name.

Say something like, “I remember you very well, but your name has just slipped my mind for the moment.”

Shake hands and say your own name; they may instinctively repeat theirs.

If all else fails, you can often chat without saying their name.


Try to be well organized. Set specific places for things.

Make a list of things you lose quite often. Make a special habit to put them back in its assigned place.

Stop and think each time you put something away.

Find a connection between the object and its place: for example, if you put your keys in a cup, imagine yourself drinking with a large key in your hand rather than a cup.

When you park the car, try to park it near the exit or near a ticket machine, then look at its location a few times as you walk away.

Think about where you have put something at intervals afterwards.


Write the message down. Make parts of the message stand out by writing in a different colour or underlining it.

Think – do you agree or disagree with what you’re hearing?

When trying to remember numbers, group them together (e.g. 2 – 7 – 4 could be remembered as two hundred seventy-four). Telephone numbers can be remembered in a similar way. Or try to find a meaning to the number. For example, 2 – 7 – 4 could be somebody’s birthday – 27th April).

In the case of a list of things someone has asked you to do or buy, try to association items in the list with each other (e.g. depending on a category they belong to or using the first letter of each item to make up a word (e.g. choose the word ‘best’ to remember bread, eggs, sugar, tea).

If you have forgotten a message, try to remember who gave it to you, where you were when you got the message, and what you were doing at the time.


Group the material that you’re reading into subheadings and then go over the subheadings each time you read the material.

Use a highlighter marker to colour important sentences.

Test your recall about the information by repeating it.

Read through the material again and concentrate on the information you’ve forgotten.

The PQRST method can be used to help you remember information that you’re reading.

TestSkim through the info to get a general idea about what’s being said
QuestionDecide upon questions you want to be able to answer once you have read the info and write them down
ReviewRe-read the information
StateSum up the most important points
TestTest yourself by seeing if you can answer the questions that you set yourself earlier


Be Organized

Keep a fixed routine with set things at set times of the day.

Be well organized – have a place for everything and have everything in its proper place. Use labels if necessary.

General Advice

Get a good night’s sleep and do different jobs when you’re feeling fresh and there aren’t too many distractions.

Try not to do too many things at once. Do major activities one bit at a time.

Try to stay calm and avoid stressful situations. If you forget to do something, don’t get too upset about it. Try to keep things in perspective.

Better Ways of Remembering

If you must remember something, go over it in your mind at regular intervals.

Try to find meaning in things you must remember – use mnemonics and make associations.

If you cannot remember something, try thinking about associations that might jog your memory.

Have you tried any of these methods? Which have worked best for you?


  1. Epilepsy Action in association with the University of Liverpool
  2. Epilepsy Foundation of America

Also see Epilepsy & Memory Challenges .

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