apparently, i remember things differently than other people. i've known this for quite some time, since childhood actually. my co-workers have referred to me as 'the archive' and usually either shake their heads or roll their eyes when i remember some trivial detail.
i have a fairly accurate visual memory, though my auditory memory leaves much to be desired. this was a fact that was documented relatively late in my academic career, though i had already learned to use my visual memory to compensate for my lack of auditory memory.
one difficulty i had in school was taking notes. i learned early on that i got lost if i tried to take the detailed notes that i saw my classmates taking. the problem was, when i tried to take detailed notes, i lost track of what was taking place in class. i learned that i was much better off, if i was going to take any notes at all, to simply jot down brief phrases to cue me to key points. my notes were useless to anyone else, a fact that was evident because no one ever asked to borrow my notes twice. i did best in classes where the instructor was animated and interesting, especially if they were faithful to the material in the textbook. the classes i did poorly in were the ones where the instructor was more subdued and included significant amounts of material on the test which was not in the textbook, but presented in the lectures.
i remember my freshman year at francis marion college, i was taking a history course from a professor whom i found interesting because he did some things that i found unusual, like bringing his irish setter to class on occasion. his lectures were reasonably faithful to the textbook. i took his class for two semesters and took virtually no notes in class. i would preview the material in the textbook prior to class and review the material in the textbook after the lecture, paying special attention to the portions he had emphasized.
the day before second semester final exam, the professor was walking through the snack bar and spotted me sitting at table watching a card game. he came over and called me by name. 'you know the final exam is tomorrow,' he said. i replied that i knew, and he continued by saying that he had noticed that i didn't take notes in his class. he pointed out that i had been doing pretty well in the class. [as i recall, my lowest grade that semester in his class had been a 95.] his next comment, however, caught me off-guard. he looked at me with this incredulous expression and asked how i did it. as i stumbled for an answer, he said, 'that's ok, i'm going to screw you tomorrow.' although i am absolutely certain that i knew everything on the exam, and i answered everything fully and completely including the extra credit question, i ended up with a 'b-plus' for the class.