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Preschool to PhD the secret to doing well in school is sequential memory. How much can you remember in the order in which it is given?
One quick check of sequential memory is called the digit span.
Given a series of random numbers, how many can you recite back correctly? Here are some for you to try with a friend.

7, 4, 6, 5

2, 9, 3, 1, 8

3, 5, 2, 7, 2, 6

5, 1, 6, 4, 3, 2, 9

Most people can remember up to seven numbers at a time. To help you remember you can group numbers together like phone numbers. 555-232-5682 is easier to remember than 5552325682.
Numbers are grouped in threes in math:
5 billion, five hundred and fifty two million, three hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred and eighty-two.

Another check of sequential memory is spelling.
When someone spells a word for you, do they have to stop every letter or two for you to write, or can you remember several letters for the time it takes to write them down? Are your spelling errors missing some sounds, or are all the letter sounds there but in the wrong order? You can use letters or words to practice sequential memory.

R, T, B, L

K, E, P. N, D

J, G, S, V, Z, W

related words:
apples, bananas, grapes, pears, plums

or unrelated words: house, sock, tree, rock, train, corn

If you have trouble with auditory sequential memory there are things you can do to improve.
If you are forgetting some of the items in the list you can exercise your attention. Try turning the volume down a bit when you are watching television to give your listening attention a workout. When someone gives you directions, practice remembering by repeating back what you heard.

If you remember all the items in the list but get the order mixed up you can practice sequencing.
Start by practicing sequences of movement.
Touch your nose with your pinky finger first,
then your ring finger,
then the middle finger,
then the pointer
and last your thumb.

Hold your head still and move your eyes up and to the left,
then up and to the right,
then straight ahead,
then ahead and to the left,
then straight ahead and to the right,
then down and to the left,
finally down and to the right.
Have a friend challenge you with a sequence of movements for you to imitate.
For example, stand up, arms up, swing arms left, arms out, swing arms right, sit down.
Line dancing, cheerleading, and playing an instrument are good practice for sequencing. However, if sequencing is a problem for you, you may quit these activities out of frustration.
Practice simpler activities to strengthen your abilities. This information is copyright 2008, Nancy Illing. It may not be reproduced completely or in part without the author's permission.


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