Simple Tips for Making Memorizing Easier
There are many ways to take the drudgery out of memorizing information.
Simple tips for making memorizing easier.
Most people memorize information best when they study in small periods over a long period of time. Memorizing facts from index cards that can be carried with you and pulled out for a few ten-minute sessions each day will yield better results than sitting down with a textbook for an hour straight. Index card notes can be pulled out in odd moments: while you are sitting in the car waiting to pick up your friend, during the 15 minutes you spend on the bus in the morning, while you wait to be picked up from school or work, and so on. You’ll find that these short but regular practices will greatly aid your recall of lots of information. They’re a great way to add more study time to your schedule.
When you have a list to memorize, break the list into groups of seven or any other odd number. People seem to remember best when they divide long lists into shorter ones—and, for some reason, shorter ones that have an odd number of items in them. So, instead of trying to memorize ten vocabularies or spelling words, split your list into smaller lists of seven and three, or five and five, to help you remember them.
Give yourself visual assistance in memorizing. If there’s a tricky combination of letters in a word you need to spell, for example, circle or underline it in red or highlight it in the text. Your eye will recall what the word looks like. With some information, you can even draw a map or picture to help you remember.
Give yourself auditory assistance in memorizing. Many people learn best if they hear the information. Sit by yourself in a quiet room and say aloud what you need to learn. Or, give your notes to someone else and let that person ask you or quiz you on the material.
Mnemonics, or memory tricks, are things that help you remember what you need to know. The most common type of mnemonic is the acronym. One acronym you may already know is
HOMES, for the names of the Great Lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior). ROY G. BIV reminds people of the colors in the spectrum (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet). You can make a mnemonic out of anything. In a psychology course, for example, you might memorize the stages in death and dying by the nonsense word DABDA (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.) Another kind of mnemonic is a silly sentence made out of words that each begin with the letter or letters that start each item in a series. You may remember “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” as a device for remembering the order of operations in math (parentheses, exponents, multiply, divide, add, and subtract).
When you study right before sleep and don’t allow any interference—such as conversation, radio, television, or music—to come between study and sleep, you remember material better. This is especially true if you review first thing after waking as well. A rested and relaxed brain seems to hang on to information better than a tired and stressed-out brain.