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.

Examples:
• PEMDAS. sequence in solving or evaluating math equations
Parenthesis – Exponents – Multiplication – Division – Addition - Subtraction
• ROY G. BIV, the colors of the visible spectrum
Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet
• IPMAT, the stages of cell division
Interphase, Prophase, Metaphase, Anaphase, Telephase

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 Sequence in solving or evaluating math equations

Parenthesis – Exponents – Multiplication – Division – Addition - Subtraction
(PEM DAS, above)

3. Rhyme-Keys: (for ordered or unordered lists)
First, memorize key words that can be associated with numbers. Create an image of the items you need to remember with key words.

Example: bun = one; shoe = two, tree = three, door = four, hive = five, etc.
Four basic food groups-- dairy 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)

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.

Example: 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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

Example: You have 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.

Tips for Remembering

Remembering is a tricky business. We can remember some things easily yet cannot seem to remember other things. We remember some things throughout our lives, while others things seem to come in one door in our mind and go out the other.

There is no "magic pill" for remembering. But here are some tips that can help.

1. Try to understand the information you must remember. Understanding the information will allow you to relate the information you must remember to what you already know.

2. Try to form an association between the information you must remember and a person, place, object, situation, or emotion.

3. Frequently recite the information you must remember or write it several times.

4. If you must remember a large body of information, try to break the information into smaller, more manageable categories. Then work on remembering the information in each category separately.

5. Create a graphic organizer for the information you must remember. It is easier to remember information that is organized than to remember information that seems to be all over the place.

6. Try to bring a personal touch to the information you must remember. Relating the information to something about you will make it easier to remember.

7. Try to form a picture in your mind of the information you must remember. Visual imagery is a powerful tool for remembering.

8. Try to apply what you must remember. For example, if you are trying to remember the meanings of some new vocabulary words, use the words in your speaking and writing.

9. Test yourself. A good way to do this is to write a question about the information you must remember on the front side of an index card and the answer to the question on the back. Use as many cards as you need. Look at the questions, try to answer them, and then check to see how you did.

10. Try to make remembering a fun activity by creating games using the information you must remember.

Remembering is not just something you must do in school. It is something you must do in all aspects of your life.

Landsberger, Joseph F. "Study Guides and Strategies." Study Guides and Strategies. Joseph Landsberger, 1996. Web. 19 Sep. 2012. http://studygs.net