January 22, 2018

Study Smarter by Knowing Your Memory Mode

Dave Farrow - Know Your Memory Mode

Students I meet on campuses across the country and around the world are always looking for new and better ways to do better on tests. One way I’ve discovered they can do this is by understanding the Memory Mode and how the brain triggers long term memory.

When I teach my Memory Workshops we start by comparing Memory Modes to Learning Styles (audio, visual, kinesthetic) to help students see the difference and to understand that their memory mode is not a learning style but is a tool the brain uses to trigger their ability to remember things. The Memory Modality theory is not taken from any other style nor is it a new version of anything else. My team developed Farrow Memory modes entirely from our observation of teaching memory techniques for the last 20 years. It came from my passion to try to capture everybody and make sure everybody ‘got it.’

In my experience I’ve discovered that a large number of people couldn’t get memory techniques to work so they thought it was complete bunk. Then there were others that it worked very well for. This led to enforcing the myth that learning and memory are some kind of natural ability – and that myth is completely false. But a lot of people believe it so that’s why we address it early on in my workshops. When taught properly, memory techniques will work for everybody. If they don’t work for someone it’s because they are taught improperly and we’ve proven that through a recent double blind neuroscience study.

Memory Modality explains why you remember some things very easily and others you struggle with. The best example we have is sports fans. People who are fanatics for a sport often remember every statistic related to that sport. Because they’re fanatics for the sport it helps them memorize things like numbers which are very un-sports like. They can remember things like abstract statistical information because they are processing the information in a way that their brain really enjoys.

Farrow Memory Modalities explains that long term memory triggered by one of five memory modalities

1. Action – what you are trying to remember has to be associated with some sort of action.

2. Irony – Also known as ‘oddities.’ The image you use has to have something out of place or in a place where it doesn’t belong.

3. Exaggeration – That’s somewhat self explanatory, but people that are attracted to this technique will remember that which is exaggerated… like a really big flea!

4. Fantasy – This involves creating images of things that are impossible -the most common being inanimate objects coming to life.

5. Personal – The image or peg being created must relate to them personally. For example, not just a tree, but your tree in your front yard – or not just a car, but YOU driving the car.

Memory modalities can be used in conjunction Learning Styles but they are specifically for activating long-term memory and are built around what triggers your memory best. Have you ever found that you have a favorite teacher because you love how they describe things? It’s probably because that teacher is relating to you in your modality. That being said, it’s important for teachers to understand that they can explain things in different modalities to relate to individual students.

To drive home the understanding we next explore the Farrow Memory Modalities through a personalized quiz. We’ve developed this test – the first of its kind – to discover on a neurological level what your brain finds fascinating.

Not surprisingly, the people who are action-oriented like action movies. They often like to watch sports and they are more interested in physical activity. The people who are into oddity tend to like mysteries and are more likely to go into law enforcement and science. I have given this test at a neuroscience conference and almost everyone in the audience identified themselves as the oddity modality. As you might be able to see, identifying your modality can actually have some implication in choosing your career field.

As a result of the test you’ll discover your personal memory modality and how you can apply to studying. It will give you extra tools that allow you to understand and handle how your brain interacts with information. You’ll understand why it finds some information fascinating and other information boring. You’ll learn to use your brain’s strength to memorize things that you may not find so interesting. The real skill is to learn how to trigger your own modality to retain the information at hand.

While learning styles is simply about how the brain approaches problem solving, memory modality appeals to the fickleness of the brain and we find out what it likes and we can appeal to that. Once you learn your modality and how to trigger it, you’ll have a new life-long learning skill that will serve you both in college and well into your post collegiate career.

SEE RELATED POST: Did you know you have a memory personality?

About the Author: Dave Farrow (16 Posts)

Dave Farrow is today's most requested Guest Expert on Memory, two time Guinness World Record Holder for Greatest Memory, an outspoken literacy and education spokesperson and busy speaker and trainer. Because Dave has ADHD and dyslexia he studied memory techniques and developed powerful techniques of his own out of necessity. He used those techniques to become a successful student, businessman and speaker. He's been recognized for his memory programs, speed reading programs, programs for children with learning disabilities, memory competitions and more. Dave is available to speak and deliver ADVANCED MEMORY TRAINING and STUDY SKILLS on college campuses worldwide.


  1. ruth wangeshi irungu says:

    helo.my name is ruth, a student in international health sciences university in kampala uganda, persuing a nursing degree.i once watched Dave Farrow on a Benny Hinn programe.i want to improve my study skills and my memory.how can i get the students dvd,i dont have a credit card, how can i access it.please reply.thanx.

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