A Guide to Best Practice Memorization Techniques
At its essence, memorization is defined as a person’s ability to retain, store and recall various
pieces of information. Each and every person in this world uses a different method to enhance
their memory, and so a variety of different memorization techniques were born from various
peoples’ opinions about what was the best way to memorize something. In fact, there are now so
many different methods that people practice when it comes to memorizing that there is even a
new field of study called cognitive neuroscience devoted entirely to the study of memory.
While people have been trying to explain the differences in peoples’ memory for thousands of
years, it has now become such a profitable field that millions upon millions of dollars are spent
each and every year in order to help us become better memorizers. Just look at the amount of
products on the market that are designed to improve our memories. We have over the counter
and prescription drugs that can help people suffering from memory loss, various natural herbal
supplements that can supposedly help increase information retention in our brains, and even
countless computer programs and videogames that are designed to help our brains function
In our high tech world full of fancy Personal Digital Assistants, laptops, pens that are designed
to digitize our every word and voice recorders that can store hundreds of hours of information
with the press of a button, you may feel that there is no place in our modern world for a
seemingly archaic practice such as memorization. However, no matter how much energy you
devote to postponing the practice of memorization in your everyday life, chances are that there
will come a time when you actually have to memorize some vital piece of information. Maybe
that information will help you come up with a surprise gift for your loved one or perhaps you
can use your memorization techniques to help you get ahead in the workplace or in the
Whatever the case and whenever the situation, when it arises you will be glad that you actually
spent some time learning the basic memorization techniques – because you never know when
you will be without a pen or a cell phone which you can use to take notes.
When reading this book, an important fact to remember is that not every technique outlined here
will be right for you. If you find that you have no desire to learn how to use a specific technique
in your daily life, do not worry about it. All you have to do is skip over it and find something
that better suits you. Not everyone will find the same benefits from the same techniques, so
most importantly, the key to mastering proper memorization is to be able to find the
memorization techniques that work best for you and then use them to your advantage.
1. Remembering Through Repetition
Most memorization techniques require that you go above and beyond what you normally think
about something in order to better memorize it. However, there is one technique that you can use
on a daily basis that will greatly allow you to remember bits of information much better. Unlike
some other types of memorization, you can feel free to use this technique on the fly without
having to know any rules, draw any fancy pictures or associate any special thoughts or other
memories with them. At this point you may be feeling quite a bit intrigued by what could be in
store for you, so let’s move right on to it, shall we?
There was a time, back in third grade, I believe, when we were all required to learn our times
tables. Multiplication was one of those subjects that students either knew right away or had
difficulty with. But, do you know what one mental aspect which each and every student who
succeeded at their multiplication tables was?
It was the ability to memorize all of the different basic multiplications that we needed to learn.
If you were a student who could commit every multiplication from one times one to twelve times
twelve to your memory, you were able to solve every single problem the teacher could throw at
you. I remember my class almost like it was yesterday. We were all taught the basic
multiplication tables from one to twelve and a week later we were required to know them all
should the teacher ask us. Sure enough, a week later we each had to sit down one by one in front
of the teacher where she would ask us to do random problems and then tell her the answer. If
you got all ten questions right, then you earned a gold star – otherwise it was back to the books
and you had to try again the next day, and the day after that, and so on and so forth.
So, do you know how well I scored on my first multiplication test? Yep, that’s right – I got a
perfect ten out of ten on my first try when other kids in my class could not even get more than
five or six correct. What was my secret you ask? It was nothing more than committing each and
every problem to memory through a simple little technique known as repetition. It worked
wonders for me all through grade school and even helped me out in college level courses,
making it one of my most tried and true memorization techniques. What is so beautiful about
using repetition is that you can use it anywhere, anytime, and you do not need to do any other
mental work in order to stash your thoughts in your mind for either long or short term
Revealing the Basics of Repetition
One of the first memorization techniques that we are taught as children is to repeat something
over and over again either out loud or in our minds. This turned out to be a great technique for
everything from remembering the letters of the alphabet to learning how to count and even for
higher level techniques such as how to multiply or divide. As you get older and wiser, you may
think that you never have to use such a simple type of memorization technique again – but in
fact, you probably use repetition far more than you realize.
That being said, what is the basis of repetition, how does it work, how can you make yourself
into a more successful repeater, and what are some great situations to use repetition instead of
another memorization technique?
In an effort to help people turn their short term memories into long term memories, the repetition
memorization technique was born. If information that you learn has not been reinforced in your
mind in any way whatsoever, it will simply exist in your short term memory banks. After
anywhere from short periods of time like twenty seconds to a bit longer span of time like a week
has elapsed, you simply will not be able to recall that information any longer, leaving you
wondering what exactly it was that you were supposed to remember in the first place.
We have all seen this type of situation on sitcoms and various other television shows where the
family man forgets his wife’s birthday or their wedding anniversary. This is because he never
bothered to commit that date to memory. To him, it was just a date that happened a long time
ago and apparently was not important enough to keep in his long term memory. Now, if he had
used some sort of reinforcing device such as repetition, he would be able to retain the memory of
his wife’s birthday or their anniversary in his long term memory banks so that years and years
can go by without him ever forgetting the date again.
Essentially, there are two different types of repetition that you can use as memorization
techniques. The first type is probably the one that you are most familiar with. After someone
has told you some piece of relevant information that you need to know, all you have to do is
repeat it over and over again in your mind so that you can commit it to memory. Some people
find that they have to do this process only three or four times while others need to repeat
something at least ten times or more if they hope to ever remember it.
On the other hand, there is a second type of repetition which some people use to not only
remember certain items of information but also turn that information into more than just
memories – but into knowledge as well. This type of memorization technique is commonly
known as spaced repetition, but it also has other, lesser used names such as expanding rehearsal,
repetition scheduling and graduated intervals. We will cover more of the basics of this latter
repetition technique later on.
Making Repetition Work for You
Each and every person in this world will use the memorization techniques outlined in this book
in a totally different way. However, when it comes to repetition, there is really only one correct
way to do it that has been discovered to work for just about any type of person, no matter how
they think or how their mind works to store their thoughts and memories. Your first step that you
should practice when attempting to memorize some amount of information using the repetition
method should be to first sort out all of the relevant information from all of the other, irrelevant
information that you really do not need to know. This will be a necessary skill to learn if you
ever hope to master any of the following memorization techniques, so it would be best for you to
take a few minutes out of your reading time and practice on a couple of the examples that I have
Here is an example of a person giving you some information about himself, as you may come
across in a business meeting with some of your colleagues:
“Hi, my name’s Jason McDougal. I’ve been working as the president of this company for fifteen
years. With any luck I will be retiring in a couple of months. I hear you are up and coming in
the company. Heck, you might just be the guy who replaces me. Did you know that before I
started here I was employed as assistant vice president of accounting for the Tyco Corporation?
Boy was that a great job. Too bad I was laid off for not being too honest with the way my
accounting was going, but when you had the kind of job that I did, who really cares about
accuracy? I figured that was for all of the entry level accounts who worked for me. Anyway, it
was a pleasure to meet you. Hope you enjoy the party. See you around, chief.”
After reading over that short caption, what were some of the areas that you should have focused
on as pieces of the conversation to remember? For starters, the first thing that should have come
to mind was the man’s name, Jason McDougal. Names are always very important to know and
present you with a fine example of the perfect item of information to use repetition to remember.
Names are short, usually very simple and can be repeated quickly several times so that you can
get a good grasp on them and stick them into your long term memory.
Another piece of information that you should commit to memory is the fact that Jason is getting
ready to retire. If you remember this, you could easily put yourself on the right track to taking
his job after he is gone. Memorizing such useful information like this can help you get a leg up
in the company by having more time than anyone else to prepare your resume and all of the
necessary paperwork that would be required should you apply for Jason’s job.
Finally, if you happen to be an accountant working at this company, you should remember to
take Jason’s advice and never trust anyone else to check over your work. By keeping all three of
those points in mind, you will become a better asset to the company and may even work your
way up to president sooner or later.
Here is a second example taken from a scenario where one person is asking for directions from a
local at a gas station:
“So, you are looking to get to Highway 5 from here? Well, all you’ve got to do is get on this
road right in front of us here and make a right at the first stop sign you come to. Then, just keep
driving until you come to a little shack on the side of the road. Molly’s Bakery I think it’s
called. Anyway, once you get there; make a left at the intersection and then a right at the first
signal you come to. Highway 5 should be right in front of you.”
As you may have guessed, all of the information given here is important, so in order to
memorize it all, you have to be especially diligent at sorting everything out. Instead of
memorizing everything the gas station attendant said, what you should do is remember just the
key points, much like in the first example. So, in this case, you will want to recall that you go
straight down the road in front of you, go right at the stop sign, go left at Molly’s, then go right
at the signal. And there you have it, an entire paragraph of information condensed into one
simple sentence – certainly easy enough for you to remember via repetition or any other type of
memorization technique you may consider using.
The second step to success under the most common repetition technique should be for you to
repeat the necessary information that was given to you as many times as you think is necessary.
For some people, this part of the memorization procedure will only take a few times. However,
some of us are a bit slower and this process may take as many as ten or twenty repeats to finally
commit the information into your long term memory.
Furthermore, different types of information are stored more easily away than others. For
example, if you meet someone with a funny or unique name, you may be able to memorize it
better than if the person was named John Smith or Betty Sue or something else that was
extremely common. Also, some people have extreme difficulty with remembering numbers, so if
you are one of those people, you may have to repeat a phone number or an address that someone
entrusts you with more times than you would other information for it to be securely locked away
in your long term memory banks.
As you can see, simple repetition can be used for all different types of day to day uses. The only
thing that is up to you is to figure out when those situations are. Generally, you will find that
simple repetition works best when you only have to remember a few pieces of information such
as a person’s telephone number or another person’s name. While you can feel free to use
repetition to memorize something like all of the different types of bones in your body or the
verbs that are used most often in Mandarin Chinese, there are better and much more effective
memorization methods that you should consider for that type of information instead.
Use Spaced Repetition to Go Beyond Simple Memorization
Simple repetition techniques may help you commit any item or list of information into your long
term memory, but it has one major problem – it never actually helps you learn or apply any of
that information. The information simply sits in your mind, waiting for you to pull it out when
necessary without any modification to it whatsoever. So, what if you want to not only memorize
some information, but be able to apply it later to whatever it is that you are working on?
This is a problem that has been baffling scientists, mathematicians and all other types of
scholarly individuals for many thousands of years. People memorize what they need to know but
many times they do not actually learn it so that they can manipulate it later.
In order to combat such problems with repetitive memorization, there is another technique that
was mentioned earlier that you should highly consider spending some time learning. This
technique, although it goes by many names, is usually referred to as spaced repetition. Unlike
regular repetitive memorization techniques, spaced repetition combines the repetition used by
people around the world and combines it with a time factor so that you can not only store
information in your memory but so you can also learn that information and be able to mentally
manipulate it to your whim.
As with simple repetitive memorization techniques, there are a few things that you need to
master if you want to be the best you can be at spaced repetition memorization techniques. The
first thing that you need to know is that there is no single time period between repetitions that
works best for everyone. This has been studied, and scientists have concluded that no matter
how smart you are, how high your IQ is or how well read you are, none of it makes any
difference in determining how much time should elapse between your repetitions of information.
So, some people will find that they need to repeat a piece of information once every five days
while another person may need to repeat it once every twenty days.
Secondly, after the initial memorization of the information that you need to know, the amount of
time between when you need to re-repeat that piece of information will change. For most, that
time will increase so that even though you may have repeated what you needed to know a lot in
the first couple of weeks, after that, you may only have to repeat it on a monthly or even a yearly
basis for it to stay in the back of your mind. This is because spaced repetition works on various
active recall sectors in your brain which conditions your mind to store information that has been
repeated and then recall it a long time down the road as if you learned it only a few minutes ago
– effectively allowing you to learn the information instead of simply memorizing it.
The primary use of this type of repetitive memorization is for people who are trying to learn a
foreign language. Instead of cramming all of the information in at one single time, it is best to
space the learning process out so that you can retain more and better recall it when you need to.
You will often find that most computer programs and classes that are designed to help you learn
another language will use this spaced repetition style of memorization technique. For example,
you may learn a few words of Italian which you will use simple repetition to commit to your
memory and then, a few weeks down the road, you will be asked to recall those words on a test
or in a conversation. This will allow you to not only memorize the word, but keep it in your
mind under learned information for maximum effectiveness.
2. Mastering Mnemonics
Do you remember when you were a child sitting in your weekly music class in grade school?
The teacher probably kept trying to get you and your fellow students to learn all of the notes on
the treble and bass scales, but for some reason the information she gave simply would not stick –
all of those letters were just too tough to remember. So, you went home and try as you might you
studied them as hard as you could just so you could master the recorder, piano, clarinet or
whatever instrument you had your heart set on.
It was not until later that you realized the power of what could happen if you associated the
letters that you needed to memorize with various words and phrases. Suddenly, a simple mixture
of letters such as E, G, B, D, F and F, A, C, E turned into two different types of mnemonic
devices, Every Good Boy Does Fine and FACE – simple mnemonic devices which you could
use to remember information that seemed so abstract at the time.
Having been used for thousands of years, mnemonic devices have become some of the most
popular memorization techniques that are currently used to this day. With their unique blend of
repetition and association, a mnemonic device can be tailored to your own personal style and
taste so that you can effectively remember just about anything you can imagine. Whether you are
more comfortable with simply making a single word out of the first letters of whatever it is you
are trying to remember or if you want to create a whole new phrase, poem or limerick with the
items you need to remember, a mnemonic device is set up so that you have total creative
freedom over how you choose to exercise your memory.
Use a Mnemonic Device to Create a Word
So, now that you know what mnemonic devices are, how do you go about making them? One of
the most common ways that people create their own mnemonic device is to use the first letter of
each word they are trying to memorize to create a whole new word or phrase. When I was in
kindergarten and we were required to learn all of the colors in the rainbow, our teacher taught us
what would become my first mnemonic device – Roy G. Biv, a simple mnemonic that was in the
form of a name. The teacher taught us that the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green,
blue, indigo, and violet could be more easily memorized if we had something to associate them
with. And so Roy G. Biv came into my life for the very first time – and I still remember it to this
Roy G. Biv is a perfect example of what a word forming style mnemonic device should be.
Simple, easy to remember, and well defined enough so that you can always remember what
exactly it is that you need to know so you can simply recite it on the fly. However, not
everything that you will need to remember in life can be as simple as the colors of the rainbow.
What if you had to take a geography course because you found yourself on the career path to
becoming a high school level geography teacher?
Trying to remember all of America’s capitals, state names and Great Lakes could become
overwhelming if you simply tried to remember everything by repetition alone. Perhaps you’ve
got everything covered, but for the life of you, you simply cannot remember the names of the
Great Lakes. Well, a word forming style mnemonic device can come to your rescue in a hurry.
Just as I did in kindergarten, all you have to do is take the first letters of the names of the Great
Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior; and turn them into a mnemonic device.
Looking at the names of the Great Lakes right now, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
Give yourself a second to look it over; it will come to you eventually if it has not hit you at this
point. Ok, was HOMES the mnemonic device that popped out for you? If it was, go ahead and
give yourself a pat on the back. If you came up with something else, give yourself a hug because
you are well on the right track to becoming a prominent mnemonic device user. However, if you
were unable to make any word forming style mnemonic devices from the words that were given
to you, perhaps it would be in your best interest to sit down for awhile and try to work on some
more mnemonic devices before you read on.
Here are a few mnemonic devices from different fields of study to get you on the right track to
become a mnemonic professional.
Alright, let’s start with something that is a little more difficult than the Great Lakes to get the
ball rolling. Chemistry is full of clever little slogans, mnemonic devices and all other kinds of
memorization techniques that college students around the world need to know if they hope to
pass their college level chemistry classes. One of the most popular starting points for a chemistry
mnemonic device has to do with the study of electrons and how they behave under certain
circumstances. Most chemistry students will have to learn this building block of modern day
chemistry sooner or later:
Oxidation is Loss, Reduction is Gain
When constructing a word formation style mnemonic device for something like this, what should
be important to you now is to come up with a clever word (or words) to help you remember this
chemical fact. What oxidation and reduction are should not be important to you at this point –
just that oxidation is loss and reduction is gain. So give yourself a minute or two to think about a
good mnemonic device that would work for you. Alright, what have you come up with? The
generally accepted mnemonic for this phrase is OIL RIG, but as long as you came up with
something, you should feel proud. After all, it is not about who has the correct mnemonic
device; it is whatever works for you.
Next, we move on to something that may be a little more complex. In the medical field, students
in their first year of medical school are required to memorize all kinds of information – most of
it in what seems to be a foreign language. If you can make a word forming mnemonic device for
all of the different types of cell death for example, then you will be well on your way to being
able to make any type of word forming mnemonic device that comes to mind. Try this one out to
see how you’re doing.
Physical, Immunologic, Genetic, Chemical, Hypoxia, Infection, Nutritional
Are you having trouble? Just because the words may be more difficult than you are familiar with
does not mean that the task is impossible. Here is a hint to help you along if you need it: the
mnemonic device created by medical students in Australia for this very subject consists of two
words – one of which is a farm animal.
Got it yet? Good job if you came up with the generally used mnemonic device for cell death:
PIG CHIN or CHIN PIG. If you had trouble and had to use the hint, then perhaps you need to
practice some more. It’s not necessary right now, but if you want to truly master all of the
memorization techniques covered in this book, then you may want to get on it as soon as
Tackle Tough Subjects with Phrase Creation Mnemonic Devices
Creating mnemonic devices for simple lists of information that you need to memorize can be a
pretty easy task, but what happens if you have to memorize a list of information that may be
quite a bit longer, lacking in words starting with vowels and must stay in order for that
information to retain its usefulness. Often times, a basic word forming mnemonic device simply
will not work for such information – requiring you to use another form of mnemonics which will
allow you to create a phrase instead. Now, depending on how your mind works, coming up with
a phrase may be a bit more difficult than coming up with a word as your mnemonic device.
Personally, I find it far easier to make a phrase, sentence or poem as a mnemonic device than I
do to make a word. After all, words have to follow specific rules. They have to have consonants,
vowels and actually make a bit of sense. On the other hand, if you create your own phrase style
mnemonic device, the skies are the limit and you have full creative freedom to make whatever
mnemonic device you see fit – no matter how off the wall it may sound to someone else.
When would you need to come up with a phrase style mnemonic device? Well, as mentioned
earlier, a phrase style mnemonic device can be used whenever a word forming style mnemonic
device is used but they especially come in handy during three special circumstances: when the
information you need to memorize has to be in order for it to be useful, when you have an
exceptionally long list of information that would be impractical to quickly turn into a word, and
when the information that you need to memorize consists of many of the same letters – making it
impossible to form a coherent word with the necessary data.
Let us begin our quest for the perfect phrase forming style mnemonic device by going back to
our example with the Great Lakes. You already know that you can use the names of the Great
Lakes to create a word forming style mnemonic device – HOMES, but what if you have to
remember the Great Lakes in a specific order. For example, let us assume that you are taking a
geography class and your teacher tells you that on the test you will have to memorize the Great
Lakes in order from West to East. Now, in this case, your previously created mnemonic device
of HOMES will not be useful at all because the lakes are not in order from West to East under
that acronym. Instead, you should create a phrase style mnemonic device that will allow you to
remember the names of the Great Lakes from West to East. So you do not have to look them up,
here is the order in which they should go:
Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, Ontario
Chances are that you probably did not have a very difficult time coming up with your own
phrase to remember this information. Unlike word forming mnemonic devices, when it comes to
making a phrase, there is not usually a generally accepted phrase that every person uses to
remember the information given. That is the beauty of the phrase style mnemonic device – it can
be anything that you want it to be. For the Great Lakes in order from West to East, I could come
up with She Made Him Eat Olives or even something like Sally Massages Harry’s Ears Often.
The possibilities are truly endless when you consider all of the different ways to convert the
Great Lakes in this order into a phrase forming style mnemonic device.
Moving right along, the second time you should consider using a phrase forming mnemonic
device is when you have a list of information with letters that, no matter how hard you try, you
cannot turn into a word style mnemonic to memorize. Now, that very statement contradicts what
a good mnemonic should be – you should always try to keep your mnemonic devices simple and
easy. If you are thinking about them too much then they are not a good mnemonic.
The planets of our solar system present us with a perfect place to practice the phrase forming
style of mnemonic devices. Now that Pluto is no longer recognized as a planet, there are only
eight planets to remember, but that does not mean that you cannot use a phrase style mnemonic
device to do so. Let’s try out with an example. In case you do not remember what the planets
are, here is a list to help you get started:
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
This bit of information would be impossible to memorize without the help of a phrase forming
style mnemonic device. After all, what kind of word could you hope to create with the first
letters from the words of the planets in our solar system? It certainly would not be anything
recognizable or easily memorized. In fact, you could probably directly memorize the planets in
the solar system before you could even hope to memorize a word that you would have created
with their first letters. As with the names of the Great Lakes, whatever you choose to create is
totally up to you, but to keep you on the right track, one of the most popular mnemonic devices
for the planets of our solar system is: My Very Efficient Monkey Just Sorted Unused Napkins.
Finally, we have the third reason that you would want to create a phrase forming style mnemonic
device instead of a word style mnemonic device – you have a list of information that you need to
memorize that is just too long to create a word quickly and easily. Our example this time comes
from the metric system of measurement, which we may all have to memorize should the United
States ever convert our system of measurement away from archaic inches and pounds into the
more practical system of measuring meters and grams. Thoughts on the metric system aside,
imagine you have to memorize all of the prefixes that are used to represent amounts that are
more than one and less than one. The prefixes are listed below for your ease of viewing:
Exa, Peta, Tera, Giga, Mega, Kilo, Hecto, Deca
Deci, Centi, Milli, Micro, Nano, Pico, Femto, Atto
Now, as you can see, these lists are far too long to make any useful word style mnemonic
devices out of. You could spend hours looking at them and probably never come up with a word
that could easily suit them. So, realizing this, you should instead turn to the phrase forming style
mnemonic device which will allow you to use the first letter from each word to create your own
clever quip that will help you remember the prefixes for the metric system. As with all other
phrase style mnemonic devices, there is no right or wrong answer here, but just in case you are
stuck – here are some of the more commonly used mnemonic device phrases to help you out.
For the amounts greater than one, a commonly used mnemonic phrase is: Every Person That
Gave Me Kisses Has Diarrhea. And for the prefixes that are used for amounts which are less
than one, a common phrase is: Dairy Cows Make Milk, Not Pink Fruit, Andrew.
Just to make sure that you are on the right track when it comes to your phrase forming
mnemonic devices, how about a little test here to see if you know what you are doing. Let us go
to the field of geology for this example. Say that after watching the latest Indiana Jones movie,
you decide that you want to take some classes in archaeology and geology, so you enroll at your
local college and find that you have to memorize all kinds of information. One such topic that
you will probably come across is the scale of mineral hardness which includes a relatively long
list of different types of rocks.
Talc, Gypsum, Calcite, Fluorite, Apatite, Orthoclase, Quartz, Topaz, Corundum, Diamond
At first glance, this list looks impossible to memorize. It is far too long, filled with a mixture of
different rocks which cannot easily be turned into a word forming style mnemonic device and
must all stay in order for it to be useful to you. After all, if you were to rearrange the list to make
a word and diamond happens to come near talc, you would miss many questions on your test
because those two types of rock are nothing alike. So, in order to effectively memorize this list
of mineral hardness, a phrase forming style mnemonic device is totally necessary. Go ahead and
come up with something. I will wait right here until you are done. Finished? Great work. Now,
just in case you were unable to think of anything, here is an example that has been used by
geology students for quite some time: Tall Gypsies Can Fight And Order Queens To Carry
Unlocking the Usefulness of Visual Mnemonic Devices
When it comes to the use of mnemonic devices, word formation and phrase formation styles
always get all of the credit for helping people remember all types of information. However, there
is one often overlooked style of mnemonic device that many people use each and every day
whether they think about it or not. Known as the visual mnemonic device, this type of
memorization technique allows a person to associate words that they have to memorize with
various pictures or images in their mind about what they need to remember. Despite the fact that
visual mnemonic devices are used each and every day by people around the world, they are the
most difficult type of mnemonic device to create, and oftentimes you will simply find it easier to
stick with word forming or phrase forming types of mnemonics.
Even if you are not familiar with the term visual mnemonic device, I can guarantee that you have
used one at least once in your life. Do you remember the first time that you ever had to use a
screwdriver to tighten a screw or a wrench to loosen a nut or bolt? Chances are that the person
who taught you how to do the task told you something that people have been passing on for
generations: righty tighty, lefty loosey. This cute and simple little rhyme has helped people from
all walks of life instantly remember which way you need to turn a bolt or screw to tighten it and
which way you need to turn to loosen it, making a job that you would have otherwise had to
think about for a few seconds into second nature.
If you have noticed something about the example given above, it is that a visual mnemonic
device innately differs from a word forming or phrase forming style mnemonic. To begin with,
the visual mnemonic device does not take advantage of having anything to do with the first
letters of any words that you may have to memorize or the formation of any words or phrases
using those first letters. Instead, you are given a little rhyme or some other slogan which is
amazingly easy to remember and recall. In fact, unlike other types of mnemonic devices that are
usually only useful for a relatively short amount of time, you can store a visual mnemonic in
your brain for years and years without ever forgetting it because you paint a picture in your mind
of what you are supposed to remember.
Combining Mnemonic Devices for Even More Effectiveness
Our final example on how to use mnemonic devices effectively comes to us from the field of
trigonometry. Yes, the math course that has baffled high school and college students for
centuries is where we will conclude our examples on how to take advantage of the basic
characteristics of mnemonics. You see, even though there are generally accepted rules on when
and where you should use mnemonics in order to remember things, there are times when you
will have to combine one or two different techniques if you want to solidify your memorization
of certain facts or lists of information.
When it comes to the subject of trigonometry, even though there are plenty of different rules and
formulas that you may have to know, there is one necessary tidbit of information that is
paramount to all else in determining your success in the course. That piece of information deals
with the three basic trigonometric functions of sine, cosine, and tangent. Even though you may
not be familiar with these functions, you can still participate in our little exercise to see what
types of mnemonic devices you come up with.
Now, the rules for sine, cosine, and tangent are as follows. Remember that are do not need to
memorize what each function does. Instead, all you have to do is create a word based mnemonic
device for what you see below:
Sine is equal to the Opposite leg divided by the Hypotenuse
Cosine is equal to the Adjacent leg divided by the Hypotenuse
Tangent is equal to the Opposite leg divided by the Adjacent leg
Keeping that information in mind, construct your own word based mnemonic device. Pretty
difficult isn’t it? You have a lot of information there to deal with, and it can be a tough task to
sort out the relevant information from the irrelevant information which you really do not need to
know. So, to break down the trigonometric functions into a word forming style mnemonic
device, the first thing you should do is figure out the important information. Each line has three
relevant parts to it which I have highlighted for you, so go from there to create your own word
based mnemonic device. Once you have finished, compare it to the generally accepted words:
SOH CAH TOA.
At this point you are probably thinking, what in the world is SOH CAH TOA. To answer your
question, it is the first part of a multipart mnemonic device. Some students in trigonometry class
choose to simply remember the word forming style mnemonic device and end there, but for most
people, it helps to go one step further and remember a phrase based mnemonic device instead
because SOH CAH TOA is so abstract and foreign that it really does not make much sense. How
would you go about turning the first mnemonic into a secondary mnemonic? Think about it for
awhile and come up with a phrase forming style mnemonic that you can be proud of.
Once you have figured out your own phrase style mnemonic, you have two ways of
remembering the trigonometric functions. On one hand you can simply remember SOH CAH
TOA, but if for some reason you forget it, you always have a phrase style mnemonic like:
Similes Of Happiness Come After Having Tankards Of Ale, as a backup. For highly important
pieces of information which may be the crux of a college test or a business promotion, it is
highly recommended that you try and come up with at least two different mnemonic devices so
that you will always have a failsafe should you forget one or the other. After all, you can never
be too careful when it comes to memorization techniques.
Improving Your Mnemonic Skills
No matter what type of mnemonic you are creating for yourself, there are a few tips and
techniques that can greatly enhance your ability to build a mnemonic from just about anything.
The basis of all of the following tips is that you should create mnemonics based on things that
you like, messages that are hard to forget and to make your mnemonics personalized to your
tastes and your tastes alone. Just because one person wants to incorporate a pirate or a pilot into
their mnemonic does not mean that you cannot use a policeman or a principal for the same “P”
Firstly, you should focus your mnemonic devices around images that are pleasant to you. Peter
Pan really had something going for him when he told his friends to think happy thoughts. When
creating your own mnemonic for whatever purpose, you will always remember the word or
phrase more effectively if it has to do with something you enjoy. So, if you need a word that
starts with “B” and you hate broccoli, then consider using something else like bananas instead.
The more enjoyable a word association is to you, the better you will remember it.
As a next step, you should try and incorporate humor, rude, or sexual messages into each and
every mnemonic that is important to you. There is just something about humor and sexual
imagery that can make even a boring mnemonic into a phrase that you will remember for much
longer than you would a plain and simple mnemonic phrase.
If you are having trouble constructing your own visual mnemonic device, think about making it
as vivid and three dimensional as you possibly can. You can do this by bringing in as many
adjectives as possible if you feel them necessary, linking various thoughts together to create one
mnemonic that will encompass several topics, or by designing a mnemonic device based on a
picture, painting or sculpture that you may have seen somewhere before.
Finally, to insure that all of the mnemonic phrases and words that you have created do not get all
mixed up in your mind; you should try and combine similar mnemonic devices into one bigger
device. By keeping your brain uncluttered and free of lesser used mnemonic phrases and words,
you will better be able to remember all of the other mnemonic devices that you have created for
more important topics.
Using Mnemonic Devices in the Real World
Now, you may be thinking at this point that mnemonic devices are simply to be used for
remembering simple, clever things that you would probably never need to really know in your
day to day life – but there you would be wrong. While I will admit that you will probably have
better luck in using mnemonic devices for studying for a college course or for remembering the
names of some important clients that you need to meet within a week, you may be hard pressed
to find other times to use such mnemonics in your everyday world. But trust me, there are plenty
of times when you may have to use a mnemonic device to remember something that somebody
has told you at a time when you could not just go write it down that instant.
Have you ever been driving back from work on your way home when your cell phone suddenly
rings? You look down to see that your significant other is calling you, so you pick it up. Then
you find out that she wants you to stop at the grocery store to pick up a few things on your way
home. However, since you are driving you have no way to write down the grocery list at that
very moment, so you are forced to memorize it. At first you may think that you can simply recite
the list over and over again until it becomes committed to memory, but imagine what would
happen if you were to run into someone you know at the grocery store. They may want to talk
for a few minutes and catch up to see how you’ve been. In no time, that list you thought you had
committed to memory will be gone and you will have no clue what you had to purchase. Instead
of letting this situation happen to you, when you hear the grocery list all you have to do to
commit it to memory is turn it into a simple phrase style mnemonic device – easy as that.
The mnemonic device is not only good for grocery lists, however. You can always use it at work
or in your free time as well. Let’s go back to the grocery for now. Say you ran into that old
friend of yours that you had not seen for awhile and he tells you to give him a call so you can get
together and catch up over lunch or something. You say sure and take his phone number – but
you left your cell phone in the car and you have no way of writing that number down. All you
have to do is create your own mnemonic device using the numbers. One way of doing so is to
create a visual mnemonic like a quick story with the numbers or you could use the first letter of
each number to construct your own phrase forming style mnemonic device. It is totally up to you
as long as you create something that will be easy to recall later so that you can write it down or
program it into your cell phone.
3. Committing Your Thoughts with Kinesthetics
Up until this point, we have focused more on memorization techniques that just about anyone
can do no matter how smart they are, what their learning style is, or what it is that they need to
remember. While both repetition and mnemonic devices are valuable tools to use if you need to
remember something, they are only a few of the tools that you should have stashed away in your
memorization technique toolbox. From here on out we will focus on techniques that are suited
for different types of people based on the way that they are better able to learn different things in
life. Although they can still be applied to everyone, they function much more effectively if you
fall into one of the three different learning categories which will be discussed here.
The first type of learning category that we will examine is the kinesthetic style. People who
function best with the kinesthetic style of learning are those who use their hands a lot and need
to do activities in order to best remember and retain some piece of information that is important
to them. Rather than listening to someone explain all of the details or having someone sketch out
a diagram, people who function best with the kinesthetic learning type need to actually do
something related to what it is they are hoping to memorize. As with every personality trait in
life, there are varying degrees of kinesthetic learners, so some people who have been classified
as kinesthetic based memorizers may be able to learn just as well from pictures as they can from
drawing that picture themselves. Nonetheless, all kinesthetic learners find that if they are able to
be hands on about something they find it much easier to learn or memorize that piece of
Are You a Kinesthetic Learner?
In order to determine if you are in fact a kinesthetic type learner, you first need to answer a few
quick questions about yourself and various events in the past. To start, do you find it easier to
think and understand things if you first write them down? If you find that you are more clear
headed when you are able to put your thoughts on paper, then that is a very telling sign that you
fall into the kinesthetic memorizer category.
However, if you do feel the need to write everything down, you may quite easily fall into the
trap of many kinesthetic learners. People who need to write down each and every little bit of
information may feel that they simply do not need to remember anything important because it is
all written down right in front of them. This may work in some cases such as your office where
you need to give a presentation or talk over the details of a project with your coworkers – but
what if that piece of paper happens to get lost? Well, you may think that you are in luck because
you are extra careful with everything you write down and you transfer all of that information
over to your computer on a regular basis, but things do happen with computers too. Maybe you
forget to bring it to work that day. Maybe you installed some unknown program on your laptop
and it crashed your hard drive. Millions of seemingly minute things can go wrong in a day, so do
not simply assume that just because you wrote down all of the information that you needed to
know you have no reason to memorize what you wrote down. Just the opposite in fact – if you
find something necessary enough to write down on a piece of paper, the chances are that it is
probably also important enough that you should commit it to memory.
A second question that you should ask yourself to determine if you are a kinesthetic learner is
whether or not you have to play around with facts, formulas and other pieces of information if
you want to understand them completely. Having to manipulate the information that you are
given is really both a blessing and a curse for kinesthetic memorizers. On one hand, you are
better able to retain information because you have so thoroughly examined it that you know
every bit and piece that you need to know so that you will be fully prepared for anyone or
anything that may quiz you on it later one. However, a drawback of this is that you probably will
have to take a while longer studying all of the information that is given to you if you ever hope
to make anything of it – a real problem for many people. In fact, the amount of time in which
you may need to study something in order to fully understand it can be so long that various
people in your life may think that you have some sort of learning disability. If this is the case,
your first priority as a kinesthetic learner should be to work to minimize the time it takes for you
to grasp some bit of information. Make that your goal and you will find that your life will
quickly become much easier.
Thirdly, you should think about how much you like to draw pictures. On the whole, most
kinesthetic memorizers will answer that they love to draw pictures of just about anything that
their mind focuses on. However, the true sign of a kinesthetic learner is whether or not you not
only want to draw pictures for fun but if you need to draw pictures in order to better understand
something. For example, imagine you are sitting in a classroom and the teacher explains to you
everything you ever wanted to know about how your body digests food. As a kinesthetic learner,
you will immediately go to work doing one of two different things – writing down each and
every word that the teacher tells you or drawing a picture illustrating exactly what happens at
each step of human digestion. Unfortunately, the same problem exists with individuals who have
to draw pictures of everything in order to understand the information that they are given – it can
take quite some time to draw the picture that is required to learn more abstract ideas. If you are
the picture drawing type of kinesthetic learner you should definitely work as hard as you can to
become a writing style kinesthetic memorizer instead.
Last but not least, you should evaluate how good you are with your hands and whether or not
you enjoy doing things with your hands more than you enjoy sitting in a lecture or a business
conference. Many kinesthetic learners have said that they would much rather learn a subject like
chemistry, for example, from a hands on style lab class where they can mix the chemicals
themselves and find out what happens than sit in a lecture where the professor tells them each
and every little thing that they need to know. While it helps to be good with your hands as a
kinesthetic style learner, this is not always the case. Oftentimes there are those who need to be
hands on in order to fully understand something, but for the life of them they simply are unable
to do the required activities. If you find that you are somewhat klutzy or you are not very good
when working with your hands on various projects, perhaps you should try to become more of a
writing style kinesthetic learner instead.
Chances are that by answering the four questions above, you discovered that you do not fall into
every single category of a kinesthetic learner. You should not be surprised to find out that most
people, no matter what type of memorization style fits them the best, fall into one of the
subcategories of their most dominant learning type. This can mostly be attributed to the fact that
not all people are good at all things. So, in order to make the most of your kinesthetic
memorization style, you should focus on the one subcategory of kinesthetics that works the best
for you and go from there.
How to Make the Most of Your Kinesthetic Memorization Style
Now, since we have discovered that you, or just about anyone else for that matter, is good at all
different types of kinesthetic learning, you must now learn how to focus your talents to
memorize items of information that you otherwise thought impossible to retain under normal
circumstances. Keeping your subcategory of kinesthetic learning in mind, here are a few tried
and true techniques that can keep your mind retaining even the toughest material.
We start at the beginning, with the majority of kinesthetic learners. Since just about everyone
who is reading this should be able to write, one of the most successful ways that kinesthetic
memorizers are able to memorize their material is to write it down. As discussed earlier in the
book, you should not try to write down each and every little bit of information that is given to
you, but you should instead use your discretion to determine the information that is the most
valuable to you and then proceed to write down what you need. Of course, you may find that
there are times when you are unable to locate a pen or paper or anything else to write that
information down with. In those cases, you may want to consider carrying a PDA, cell phone or
some other device that you can use to relatively quickly enter in all of the information that you
need to store away in your memory.
Moving right along, if you are of the analyzing type of kinesthetic learner, it may take you quite
a bit of time to commit a fact to your memory, but that process can be sped up if you are willing
to spend some time practicing mental exercises. The first step that any analyzing kinesthetic
learner should undertake is to do a quick memorization of the information through either a
repetitive style memorization procedure or with a mnemonic device. After you have memorized
the necessary information at face value you should use a moment or two of your spare time to
regurgitate the memorized information and then study it so that you can fully understand it. This
way you will be able to not only memorize a bit of information but also learn that information
for all kinds of future uses.
People who fall into the drawing subcategory of kinesthetic memorizers will have a much more
difficult time making use of their talents. Not everyone can carry around a laptop, pen, paper, or
other medium to draw on wherever they go, so it is usually incredibly difficult for many drawing
type kinesthetic learners to actually utilize their skills on the fly. However, even with a medium
that is as difficult to utilize as art and drawing, there are ways to take advantage of your skills
when it comes to memorization techniques. Your first step should be similar to the analyzing
kinesthetic learner – to quickly and efficiently use repetition or a mnemonic to memorize the
information presented to you. Then, when you have time, you should draw yourself a picture so
that you can better retain the information that was given to you. While this may seem like
overkill, you can never be too careful when you are tasked with memorizing some pertinent
information that could certainly help you in the long run.
Last but not least, if you used the test above to determine that you were actually a hands on style
of learner, you probably have it the easiest of all of the different subcategories of kinesthetic
learning. This is because, depending on how hands on you actually are, you should be able to
take advantage of all of the different subcategories listed above. So, say you are at a restaurant
and someone introduces you to a client. He then gives you his phone number and tells you to call
him when you get a chance so that you can set up a meeting. You can then take advantage of the
writing kinesthetic subcategory and write the number down on the napkin. If the conversation
continues and the client decides to explain a job to you that he would like you to perform, you
can take advantage of your hands on skills, drawing skills, and analyzing skills by outlining the
entire conversation then and there to make sure that you understand everything – if you are able
to do so deftly and with tact, you may even be able to put on an impressive presentation right
there in the restaurant.
4. Auditory Paraphrasing for Better Understanding
Do you find that you can easily recall just about any conversation that you may have had in the
past few years? Can people tell you something or hint at a gift idea for the holidays and you will
automatically know what to get them, even if they just made a slight comment about what it is
that they wanted? Are you in good standing with your boss because you can come to a meeting
and remember each and every word that the presenter said – even when your boss was hard at
work taking notes diligently hoping to retain that same information? If you can in fact remember
something based on only hearing it said once or twice, then you should be proud of yourself
because – whether you know it or not, you are actually in possession of a skill and learning style
that most people would kill for. The ability to learn and memorize information just by hearing it.
While a large amount of people in this world find that they are best able to memorize via the use
of a hands on experience, there are still many individuals who do not fall into this category of
learning. One alternative to the kinesthetic style of memorization is the auditory style – a type of
memorization that requires a person to listen to what it is that they want to memorize. After
hearing the information repeated to them several times, most auditory learners will be able to
memorize just about anything, making this one of the more valuable memorization techniques
because in most cases, remembering via the auditory technique requires nothing more than
simply listening to what someone has to say.
Now, the auditory learning memorization technique should not be confused with the repetitive
memorization techniques because they do have a few specific differences involved. Whereas the
repetitive technique requires that you repeat a certain item of information to yourself over and
over again until you have committed it to memory, an auditory learner may have more luck
actually speaking the information that they need to memorize. Likewise, an auditory learner does
not necessarily need to repeat the information over and over, but can instead have someone just
tell them what they need to know once or twice before that topic becomes a permanent fixture of
their mind. Also, while the repetition memorization technique can be used by anyone with
pretty much equal effectiveness, memorizing via auditory communication is more person to
person, as some people thrive on information that others tell them while other people cannot
grasp said information until they either experience it hands on or until they draw a picture, write
it down, or do some other routine to help them retain that parcel of knowledge.
Are You an Auditory Memorizer?
In order to determine if the auditory methods of learning and memorization are right for you,
you first have to figure out whether or not you are in fact an auditory learner at heart. Much like
the test to see if you fall into the kinesthetic learning camp, auditory learners can usually be
detected with the use of a simple test and a couple of questions to gauge how strongly you feel
about certain memorization techniques. As long as you answer these questions honestly, you will
find a whole lot more about your memory, allowing you to become a better memorizer and
learner than you ever thought possible.
The first question that you should ask yourself to determine if you are an auditory memorizer is
whether or not you prefer to follow instructions that are given to you verbally than instructions
that are given to you on a sheet of paper. This is a very important criteria of those who possess
the ability to learn and memorize based only on the sense of sound. When it comes to
instructions, most people need to look at a piece of paper with the instructions carefully outlined
for them so that they can refer to them later should they forget something that they were
supposed to do. However, for people who are able to master the ability to learn via the auditory
senses, the piece of paper is useless because all they need to know and retain can simply be
recited to them and they will pick it up immediately. Now, this is not to say that all auditory
learners have the magnificent ability to memorize a set of instructions just by hearing it once,
simply whether or not you are more comfortable following instructions that were spoken to you
over those that were written to you.
Another excellent test to determine whether or not you are an auditory learner is to examine how
well you can do math problems in your head if the numbers are spoken to you. Now, instead of
being required to do multiplication or long division in your head, which many people find rather
troublesome to do, you should stick to something like adding. So if your teacher or boss were to
tell you to add the numbers 150 and 2,677 together, would you find it easy to do or would you
rather have a piece of paper handy to write it down on? This test requires that you are able to do
three different things with your auditory memorization skills. First you have to be able to
remember the numbers just by having someone tell you them. Second, you must be able to
manipulate such numbers in your head so that you can come to a solution. And third, you have to
have enough math skill so that you can add. That being said, without the knowhow to add
numbers together in your head, according to this test your auditory memorization skills would all
be for naught.
How You Can Make the Most of Your Listening Skills
Alright, so you have identified yourself as an auditory memorizer and you know that you have
the uncanny ability to memorize just about anything you hear. But what if you want to enhance
that skill? What if you want to be able to not just memorize things, but understand them as well,
and learn the information that is given to you so that you can comprehend and regurgitate what
was given to you – even if you have to know if several months or years down the road? You
would have an amazing gift and a mind that can lock away just about anything that people tell
The key to being a superior auditory memorizer is whether or not you are able to not only retain
something that somebody tells you but to actually be able to understand the given information as
well. You see, everyone – whether they learn best through auditory methods or through some
other category of memorization technique, thrives when they are able to understand something.
Somehow your brain makes it easier to memorize facts and bits of information when it can
totally comprehend everything about that fact. For example, imagine that you need to know
about the basics of accounting in order to get that promotion at your office that you have been
after for a few months now. There is more to accounting than simply adding two numbers
together, and if you really want to get a good grasp on all there is to know about some of the
basic accounting methods, you need to be able to fully understand the differences in alternative
accounting styles, when you should use each method and how often a good accounting team
should present the higher-ups with the relevant information on their finances. Only then will
you be able to fully comprehend and learn what you need to know about accounting in order to
get that boost in salary.
One of the most helpful ways that an auditory learner can gain more understanding of relevant
information is to become what is commonly known as an active listener when someone is telling
you important stuff. If you are working at a computer or watching television, stop what you are
doing for a second and give your full attention to the person who is talking to you. As odd as it
sounds, you actually listen better and retain more of what is being said to you when you look at
the other person and make direct eye contact with them. Now, staring at them would be a bad
thing to do because this makes people uncomfortable, but look as though you are listening
intently to what they are saying – it can make a world of difference if you are an auditory
Keeping with the topic of being a more active listener, if you want to truly understand and
comprehend what someone is telling you, there is no better way to do so than by asking
questions. You have probably heard the phrase that there is no such thing as a stupid question,
and whoever said that was totally right – feel free to ask the person that you are talking to
anything that you want so that you can wrap your mind around what they are telling you. This
way you will not only be able to remember what the conversational partner is telling you, but
what you said and how they answered – allowing you to complete the puzzle if someone is
telling you some bits of knowledge that may be more complex or abstract than what you are
used to. Known as clarifying questions, these are the questions that you ask in hopes that you
will get a response that is designed to either get further information, clarify the information that
you have already been told or even to keep the conversation going if you are unsure about what
you were supposed to gain by talking to the other person.
The paraphrasing question is another way you can actively participate in a conversation and
become more familiar with the information that is being given to you by the conversational
partner if you are an auditory memorizer. By asking paraphrasing questions, you are essentially
making an attempt to actively verify that you understand what the person is getting at in a
conversation by putting what they just said into your own words. Paraphrasing can help you
immensely if you are hoping to memorize and learn everything that you hear in a particular
conversation because you not only hear information come out of your conversational partner’s
mouth, but you also get to hear what you think might be correct, so you get a double dose if you
will, of information that you can memorize – helping you to further understand and learn what
was being told to you.
If a paraphrasing question is not something you like to ask in a conversation, there are other
ways to paraphrase what you heard without making it seem so obvious. One of the most popular
ways of going about this is to make a statement that relates what the person has just told you to
something that has happened in your own life. Provided that the person answers your reply
positively, then you have stayed on the right topic – otherwise your reply may have not had
anything to do with what the conversational partner was talking about, and you may need further
clarification on the information you were given. Alternatively, you can do what is known as a
content paraphrase where you simply put what the original speaker said into your own words.
Once again, a positive response by the speaker shows that your thoughts are on the right track.
Finally, you can respond with a feelings paraphrase, or a response that is more directed to the
nonverbal communications that your conversational partner may be giving you. This last type of
paraphrasing is most useful with friends or family members because it lets you get to the
emotions behind what the person is telling you. While you could use a feelings paraphrasing
statement in the workplace, it may not be very effective if your coworker is simply giving you
instructions for a project.
Although asking questions and making paraphrasing statements is a great way to gain
understanding in a conversation with someone you know, what about when you are in a lecture
hall in college or if you are in a big business meeting with people who do not want to be
interrupted? Then, you should outsource your auditory memorization skills to technology. Since
not all auditory learners can understand and memorize information the first time they hear it, it is
to your advantage to bring some sort of recording device with you to important business
meetings or college classes so that you can hear everything that was said again in a situation that
you are more comfortable with – like your desk or your favorite easy chair. Recording the
meeting will allow you to better retain and remember all of the information that was given to
you so that you can memorize it on your own time.
5. Exercising Your Extra Senses
Most people find that they are able to memorize information best depending on whether or not
they are auditory learners or kinesthetic based learners. While the two senses involved, sound
and touch respectively, leave our other senses ripe for the taking if you want to become the best
memorizer you can possibly be. Unlike listening or participating, you do not have to be a special
learning type in order to take advantage of the rest of the memorization techniques that will be
presented to you – all you have to do is learn a few tips and techniques and you will find that
you can quickly and effectively memorize just about anything you put your mind to. From
formulas to tax filing, you will be able to remember how to do or solve just about any problem
given to you.
So, you are probably wondering what the remaining memorization techniques involve. To begin
with, visual memorization is probably the best of the upcoming topics, as it gives you a way to
remember things that people tell you visually by creating your own images in your head. This is,
of course similar to one of the mnemonic device topics discussed earlier except it takes
memorization to a whole new level beyond what we previously covered. We will also go into
depth discussing how you can use smell, one of your most powerful senses, to remember some
truly obscure information.
Are You Keen to Visual Memorization?
Do you have trouble when you are forced to examine a piece of text and then point out facts,
errors and other bits of information pertaining to that text? Are formulas and equations a recipe
for disaster when you come across them during a test or a business conference? If you answered
yes to both of those questions, then you are in need of some serious help working on your visual
memory skills. Most people who can easily memorize things using their sense of sight find that
they are wizards when it comes to answering questions that require the use of a formula are able
to score high points on tests which require that you exhibit some reading comprehension skills
and are better map readers than the average person. Although some people may believe that
these skills are all dependant on the person, evidence has shown that even if you currently have
problems with your visual memorization techniques, you can still enhance your skills and
become as good as those who were born with the innate skill to visualize what they need to
In an attempt to get your visual memory skills up to par, the first thing that you need to
concentrate on is your ability to look at graphs, diagrams, maps, and formulas. This first step
entails that you learn how to actually read graphs and maps so that you can become more
familiar with them and in turn become a better visual memorizer. By familiarizing yourself with
the general structure of the common road map, pie chart, or algebraic formula, you will be well
on your way to handling just about any visual cue that someone throws your way. One good way
to go about the familiarization process is to actually sit and look at a drawing for quite some time
and then close your eyes and try to visualize the drawing in your head. If you have someone
around while you are practicing your visualization skills, you can tell them things about the
drawing while you sit there with your eyes closed. You will know you have reached a higher
state of memorization when you can visualize a drawing with over eighty-five to ninety percent
Another way to help you gain in strength when it comes to visual memorization techniques is to
use a combination of visualization with repetition. However, when it comes to memorizing a
drawing or a picture of some kind, it is rather hard to repeat something in your head, so you
should consider making smaller versions of what you have to memorize and then post these
copies around your home or apartment. For example, suppose you are studying for a physics test
that requires you to know a specific formula. This formula is too long and too complex for you
to memorize by the repetitive style, so instead you draft up a few note cards that have the
formula on them. Then, post these notes around the house in different places such as next to your
computer, in the bathroom and even next to your bed. Every time you see a note card with the
formula, all you have to do is go over it in your head and try to visualize how that formula can
interact with the rest of the information that you have already studied for your physics exam.
Smell is a Valuable Tool for Those Looking to Memorize Difficult Information
There have been times when we have been walking down the street and we suddenly smell a
scent that reminds us of times gone by. Perhaps a woman walks by who wears the same perfume
that an old girlfriend did or maybe we stop to smell the roses and their luxurious scent conjures
up memories of when your husband gave you a beautiful bouquet of roses after your first date.
The sense of smell is one of our most powerful when it comes to memorization. For some
reason, our brains have tied together the act of memorization with scent better than any other
sense that we possess. Better than sight, better than sound, better than taste, and even better than
touch. So, if you know how to harness the memorization potential of smell, then you will be able
to memorize practically anything – even if the information you need to know is so abstract or so
obscure that you may think you will never need to know it.
When I was in college, one of my roommates while I was living in the dorm taught me the
power of smell when it came to memorizing difficult formulas. I was taking a math class and I
had to remember this complex formula that was sure to be on the final because of its extreme
difficulty. After telling my woes to my roommate, he informed me that he had recently heard on
the news how powerful the sense of smell was when it came to memorizing things. Apparently
the newscaster had recommended that you use some foul smell that you would not smell
anywhere else, and then take a sample of that smell with you during a test for maximum
effectiveness. Furthermore, taking something to a test setting to smell was not cheating. There
were no answers written on my scent – just the scent and nothing else. While this seemed like a
cunning plan, the scent that my roommate recommended was atrociously putrid. The
recommended scent required me to spit in a straw and then let it dry for a couple of days until it
became foul enough for me to always remember and associate with the math formula. Needless
to say, I was in such a desperate situation that I had to try it – and amazingly enough, it worked
flawlessly (except for the horrible smell that I had to inhale when it finally came time for me to
use the formula).
Even though it was recommended that you use a putrid or powerful smell to best remember what
you need to know, you can use other types of scents as well. One of the most popular methods is
to use scented markers as your designated smelling device. Make sure they are non toxic,
because you obviously do not want to risk losing precious memory cells while you are smelling
markers, but take them everywhere with you to help you memorize certain things such as names,
dates, places or things that you are supposed to do. Most markers come in packages with at least
eight different scents and colors, so be sure to take advantage of all of them unless you find that
you simply cannot tolerate the smell of one particular marker in comparison to the rest.
There are two different ways that you can maximize the memorization power of your scented
markers. The first way is that you can carry them with you in your briefcase or backpack and,
when something important comes up that you have to remember all you have to do is break out
one marker and smell it. If the memory does not stick on the first sniff, try it again later using a
technique similar to repetition that was outlined earlier. Alternatively, if something that you need
to memorize is written down on a piece of paper or on a business card, you can highlight that
information (or make a mark near it if your markers are too dark to see through) and then smell
it. This way, much like smelling the marker itself, you will be able to retain that piece of
information. If you need to remember something from that paper or business card and you do not
happen to have the printout with you, all you have to do is smell the marker that corresponded to
it and you should be able to bring up that memory. At this point, you also have color recognition
to go by as well, which can also be a relatively powerful tool in memorization.
6. Putting Your Memorization Techniques into Action
After reading through this eBook, there should be no doubt in your mind that memorization
techniques flourish in the confines of the classroom, but you may think that you will never get
the chance to use these techniques when you are out in the real world. In the world after high
school or college there are no more tests that are necessary for you to get an “A” on, and you can
look up anything and everything you ever wanted to know on the computer or in a book that sits
next to your desk at your job, so why should you even think about memorizing anything? The
simple answer is because there will be times that you will need to memorize something simple
like a grocery list or a friend’s phone number, and if you have no idea how to use any
memorization techniques you could end up missing items you need for your meal or you could
dial the wrong number and lose contact with your friend forever. Also, when it comes to your
mind, like most other things in this world, if you don’t use it – you could risk losing it. People
who memorize lots of information and keep their minds active are more likely to live longer than
people who let others do all of the thinking for them. So the next time you find yourself in a
situation where you have the choice to write something down or to memorize it, maybe you will
think twice and choose to use your memory instead of taking the easy way out.