How well do you recognize logos that you see every day? Probably very well. Let’s put it to the test. I have provided the portions of popular logos below. Can you guess which organization they represent?

How did you do? Here are the answers:

  1. Nike
  2. Burger King
  3. CNN
  4. Disney
  5. Pizza Hut

Americans have become so good at recognizing logos, that there is even an iPhone App that permits you to compete with your friends and guess the logo among false ones. Here are a few examples. Can you guess which one is correct?

Here are the answers:

  1. Google -#6
  2. YouTube -#1
  3. McDonalds -#3

If you want to test your knowledge further, you can demo the app on YouTube.

So how does this relate to your studying? It’s simple really. Your brain has very strong visual recognition and retrieval paths. Without you even knowing it, it stores information about logos. Advertising companies know this, which is why they rely so heavily on imagery.

Your ability to recall information will be enhanced if you can use visual retrieval cues. Here are some techniques to try.

  • Use imagery. For example, I learned as a child to distinguish the words vertical and horizontal by associating the latter with a horizon. The sunset helped me know that horizon meant across while vertical was up and down.
  • Organize information. In your own words, create an outline of the information, which will help you picture the information. Pay attention to the headings and subheadings in your textbook. Once you have internalized the visual scheme or hierarchy of information, each piece of information will serve as an effective cue for the others.  Knowing the organization will also prove helpful if you have to write an essay for an exam because you will already have some structure to your thoughts.
  • Create a visual picture of the information. If you are in a history class, create a chain of events or a timeline of important dates. Draw a cycle or flow chart for your biology class. If you are not artistic, use the SmartArt that is available to you in the Insert ribbon of Microsoft Word or PowerPoint.
  • Go to class and take notes. If you are not in class you miss the opportunity to see and hear the information. This cannot be duplicated by simply obtaining a copy of a classmate’s notes. Taking your own notes forces you to translate the information into your own words, while you create a visual study aid for you to use in the future. Also, consider highlighting your notes in different colors. For example, you can use a pink highlighter in your history class to note dates, while blue can signal a name  and yellow can identify an event.

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