Does your memory sometimes let you down? Everyone’s had an awkward moment involving forgetting something at a bad time, whether in an exam or at the office. It can be difficult to remember something in a short term, let alone for the future.
In this guide, we’ll study nine memorizing techniques that you can use to enhance and optimize your short-term and long-term memory. From acrostics to rhyming tricks, read on to learn how you can quickly improve your memory today.
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Memorizing for an exam? Record notes to listen to later
Since most information comes in written form – whether online or in printed books – learning through listening can be difficult. One of the best ways to learn through listening is by recording spoken notes of the key points you learn from reading.
Whenever you go over an essay or new book, underline key points and record them for later listening. Learn how to record voice memos using your iPhone by enrolling in our course, Master Your iPhone and Be 10X More Productive.
Turn important information into a memorable story
Let’s say you need to remember three words: John, car, and elephant. Use all three of these words to make a sentence that you’ll never forget. Be creative – the weirder it is, the more likely you are to remember your story.
- “Instead of driving his car, John rode an elephant.”
- “John tried hopelessly to fit an elephant into his car.”
Think of bizarre situations and unusual stories that contain the words, phrases, and information you’re trying to remember. Since the stories are so memorable, they’ll stick in your memory naturally and pop into your mind at a moment’s notice.
Use flashcards to memorize words, phrases, and characters
Are you trying to memorize words and phrases in a new language? Mastering a new language is difficult, especially if it has little in common with your native language or other languages you already speak.
One of the best ways to memorize words and characters is by using flashcards. Start with between five and ten characters, and test your memory by displaying them in a random order using real flashcards or a smartphone app.
Do you want to improve your memory to learn a new language? Learn memorizing techniques for mastering grammar, vocabulary, and more by checking out How to Learn and Memorize the Vocabulary of Any Language.
Use a rhyming system to link information to common words
Are you trying to memorize a list? One of the best ways to remember words in order is by using a rhyming system. By associating each item on your list with a rhyming word or phrase, you’ll find memorizing the list in order surprisingly simple.
Elementary schools already use a rhyming memorizing technique to help students learn the order of the U.S. presidents. It starts: “America’s president number one – Founding Father Washington.”
It continues: “John Adams, second president – The very first White House resident.” A simple rhyming system like this might seem childish, but it’s an incredibly effective technique for memorizing lists in the right order.
Learning a language? Focus on the 100 most important words
Sometimes the best way to improve your memory is by focusing on retaining critical information, rather than trivial information. When you learn a foreign language, for example, you can improve your memory by focusing on the critical 100 words
Almost 50% of written material in English is made up of 100 words. A wide variety of other languages, from German to Tagalog, have frequently used that appear very frequently in written material and conversation.
By focusing on the critical information – in this case, the most frequently used words in a foreign language – you make memorizing data far less complicated. Since there’s less to remember, you’re able to focus on retaining critical, valuable information.
Would you like to learn more memorization efficiency tips like this? Enroll in our course, Teach Yourself a Foreign Language, to learn the chunk method and other great techniques for memorizing new words, phrases, and other information.
Use the rote method and memorize through repetition
Do you need to memorize information for an exam? Although rote learning doesn’t have a great reputation among educators for long-term data retention, it’s a fairly effective way to retain facts and figures in the short term for tests and exams.
Rote learning means learning through repetition. You probably learned the letters of the alphabet through repetition in combination with a catchy rhyming song. Schools still teach certain information using rote memorization, like country or city names.
When short-term data retention is your primary goal, rote memorization can be an effective memorizing technique. However, its repetitive nature and lack of analysis makes it an ineffective way to learn complex and detailed subjects.
Learn how rote memorization can be learned to memorize a speech in our blog post on memorizing speeches and presentations.
Create a visual mind map to sort, filter, and remember data
Mind maps are wonderful tools for retaining information. Since it’s often difficult to memorize information when it’s presented as a ‘wall of text,’ mind maps break down complex subjects into easily distinguishable visual categories.
For example, the topic of business could be broken down into several branches, each with its own sub-branches. Business could be split into accounting, sales, production, management, and so on.
Then each of these categories could be broken down further. Sales could be split into advertising, direct sales, branding, and more. Accounting could split into finance, day-to-day bookkeeping, equity, and other important subcategories.
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Learn important information through practical exercises
Sometimes, the best way to remember information is through practice. Think about explaining how to drive a car compared to showing someone how to drive. It’s often a lot easier to demonstrate and practice than to read, study, and memorize.
Practical learning is particularly helpful for hands-on topics like web development and mechanical engineering. For example, it’s easier to learn HTML tags by building a simple website than by learning a list of common tags by rote memorization.
One of the best ways to enhance your memory and learning skills is by learning how to learn. Enroll in our Learning How to Learn course to discover how you respond to different learning styles and find the best way to rapidly acquire new knowledge.
Use mnemonics to remember sentences, rules, and ideas
Do you need to memorize a simple list or rule? Use a mnemonic – a simple gimmick like a song, rhyme, or acrostic that makes memorization simple. Mnemonics can be used to learn anything from automotive engineering to complex music theory.
From “Every good boy deserves fruit” to “I before E, except after C,’ mnemonics are a great help when learning simple yet challenging lists and rules. When you’re trying to learn the basics of a topic, search Google for mnemonics to simplify the process.
Master your memory today
Do you want to take control of your mind and remember anything? Enhancing your memory to learn new skills, languages, or facts and figures isn’t as difficult as you’d think, especially when you have the right mindset.
Enroll in Become a SuperLearner: Learn Speed Reading & Advanced Memory to see how easy it is to transform your learning skills, improve your memory, and absorb new information effortlessly.