Your Study Guides and Strategies starts here!

He who has seen much will have remembered much
Jean de la Fontaine, 1621 - 1695
French poet

Guides for memorizing series

Using Memory Effectively

The following techniques with their exercises use associations with
letters, images, maps, etc. to help you remember.

As you proceed through this list of techniques, try to think of strategies that would be useful to you!
Some people use letters, some images, even songs.
Each depends on how comfortable you are with, or how useful they are to, your way of thinking!

  1. Acronyms
    An acronym
    is an invented combination of letters.
    Each letter is a cue to, or suggests, an item you need to remember.

    PEMDAS, sequence in solving or evaluating math equations
    Parenthesis | Exponents | Multiplication | Division | Addition | Subtraction

    ROY G. BIV, the colors of the visible spectrum
    R
    ed, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet

    IPMAT, the stages of cell division
    I
    nterphase, Prophase, Metaphase, Anaphase, Telephase

    Practice your acronym

  2. An acrostic is an invented sentence or poem with a first letter cue:
    The first letter of each word is a cue to an idea you need to remember.

    Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally (PEMDAS, above)
    Sequence in solving or evaluating math equations
    Parenthesis | Exponents | Multiplication | Division | Addition | Subtraction

    Acrostic exercise GARBAGE | Acrostic exercise EGBDF

  3. Rhyme-Keys: (for ordered or unordered lists)
    First, memorize key words that can be associated with numbers.

    example: bun = one; shoe = two, tree = three, door = four, hive = five, etc.
    Create an image of the items you need to remember with key words.

    Four basic food groups-- diary products; meat, fish, and poultry; grains; and fruit and vegetables

    Think of cheese on a bun (one), livestock with shoes on (two),
    a sack of grain suspended in a tree (three), a door to a room stocked with fruits and vegetables (four)

    Practice your rhymes

  4. The Method of Loci: (for approximately twenty items)
    Select any location that you have spent a lot of time in and know well.
    Good for kinesthetic learners!

    Imagine yourself walking through the location, selecting clearly defined places--the door, sofa, refrigerator, shelf, etc. Imagine yourself putting objects that you need to remember into each of these places by walking through this location in a direct path.

    Again, you need a standard direct path and clearly defined locations for objects to facilitate the retrieval of these objects.

    George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Richard Nixon, you could imagine walking up to the door of your location and seeing a dollar bill stuck in the door; when you open the door Jefferson is reclining on the sofa and Nixon is eating out of the refrigerator.

    Practice your loci

  5. The Keyword Method: (for foreign language vocabulary)

    First, after considering the foreign word you need to remember, select a key word in English that sounds like the foreign word.
    Next, imagine an image which involves the key word with the English meaning of the foreign word.
    For example, consider the Spanish word "cabina" which means "phone booth." For the English keyword, you might think of "cab in a ... ." You could then invent an image of a cab trying to fit in a phone booth. When you see the word "cabina" on the test, you should be able to recall the image of the cab and you should be able to retrieve the definition "phone booth."

    Practice your keywords

  6. The Image-Name Technique: (for remembering names)

    Simply invent any relationship between the name and the physical characteristics of the person. For example, if you had to remember Shirley Temple's name, you might ingrain the name in memory by noticing that she has "curly" (rhymes with Shirley) hair around her temples.

    Practice image-naming

  7. Chaining: (for ordered or unordered lists)

    Create a story where each word or idea you have to remember cues the next idea you need to recall. If you had to remember the words Napoleon, ear, door, and Germany, you could invent a story of Napoleon with his ear to a door listening to people speak in German.

    Practice your chaining

Memorization techniques:

Acronyms | Acrostics | Rhymes | Loci | Keywords | Image-naming | Chaining

More helpful thought processing guides:

Concentrating | Thinking critically | Thinking creatively | Radical thinking |
Thinking aloud/private speech | Mind/concept mapping | Thinking like a genius