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How To Use Mnemonics To Help You Memorize Better

Standardized exams are mostly about having a sharp memory to help you recall what you have studied.

However, when you are short on time, you get anxious, and your brain has trouble retrieving what you studied. If you face this problem, then you can use mnemonics to save time and remember better.

These devices are strategies that make memorization easier.

If you are studying for your exams and you need to know how to memorize better, you are in the right place. Here is a guide to using mnemonics to help you memorize with ease.

Mnemonic Strategies Explained

Before we move on to using this technique, you need to understand what it is. Mnemonic strategies are techniques that will help you detect a pattern to memorize an idea or a phrase. You can use many strategies, such as acronyms, songs, rhymes, and more.

The secret is to give meaning to something mundane so that it can become memorable for you. The best part is that you can use this strategy for short and long-term memory. You can also tweak the strategy, depending on what works for you in the best way possible.

The Top Mnemonic Strategies For Effective Studying

Now that you understand what a mnemonic strategy is, you might be wondering how you can apply it to your studying strategies. Here are all the top strategies that will make your studying effective in no time:

1. Acrostics And Acronyms

This is perhaps one of the most common strategies you can use, no matter what subject you are studying. Acronyms are letters that represent a specific phrase word you need to remember. For example, the acronym USA stands for the United States of America.

If you are trying to remember difficult terms, especially in science, geography, or history, then you can use the power of acronyms. For example, let's say that you are trying to remember the four types of dementia; then, you can use the acronym of FLAV.

This would represent all four types, such as:

  • Frontotemporal
  • Lewy body
  • Alzheimer
  • Vascular

So, you take the first letter of each word and create an acronym to help you memorize it in no time. On the other hand, you can also use the strategy of an acrostic, which utilizes almost the same concept as acronyms. However, such a strategy helps you create a sentence to remember information.

For example, the most common acrostic strategy used in math is “Some people have curly brown hair through proper brushing.” This is used to represent the trigonometric rations, which include:

  • Sin (S): Perpendicular (P) / Hypotenuse (H)
  • Cos (C): Base (B) / Hypotenuse (H)
  • Tan (T): Perpendicular (P) / Base (B)

In the same way, you can create your own acrostic poem to help you remember what you like. Regardless of the subject you are studying, you can use these strategies to enhance your memorization skills in no time. Just make it easy to remember for the best results.

2. Grouping Or Chunking

Another popular mnemonic strategy you can use is chunking or grouping. As the name suggests, this strategy works by organizing information in numbers, groups, words, or even phrases. Such a strategy works best when you are trying to remember numbers.

For example, let’s say you are trying to remember a long number, which is as follows: 894356320966. You can group this number into three parts, such as 8943 5632 0966.

Doing this will help you break down the numbers and sort them into groups to make them easy to remember. You can even use it to improve your verbal memory in no time. So, if something is too long to remember, you can use this technique for better memorization.

3. Rhymes

There is a reason why rhymes are used to make children study from an early age. This is because they are highly effective at remembering things. You might have trouble remembering what you had for dinner yesterday, but you can remember a song from a few years ago with ease, which is all thanks to rhyming.

The secret behind rhyming is that you use repetition and rhymes to remember information effectively. You can even rearrange words or use different ones to create a rhyme that will help you recall. Let's say you are taking a history lesson and you need to remember important dates; then you can use this device.

For example, a rhyming mnemonic strategy can be: “In 1492, Columbus sailed the sea blue.” You have to remember the date, which is why you rhymed it with blue to ensure you remember it.

In the same way, you can apply this technique to anything you want to remember. Just remain creative and use easy words to make the most of your mnemonic strategy.

4. Music

Yes, using music is one of the best ways to learn anything new, as it will help your brain retain information. Of course, one of the best examples of this is the ABC song we are taught in childhood to remember the alphabet from A to Z. You can learn anything with this technique, such as math equations, countries in a continent, and much more.

The best part is that when you search online for songs about things you want to learn, you will find many already created by other people. Keep in mind that you don’t have to create certain musical notes or tunes to remember what you need.

Instead, you just have to be able to sing it to ensure that it works as a mnemonic device for you. Even people with mild cognitive impairment will find this to be a useful memorization tool.

5. Association

The association technique works well because it is an easy technique to use for memorization. For example, you remember what you are studying by associating it with something you already know. Let’s say you are trying to remember the name of Isaac Newton for your science exam.

Then you can associate your friend Isaac with the same name, dropping a fig newton to remember the full name. Of course, this is a basic example of this technique, but you can make it as strange or silly as you like. The absurd the scenario is, the more likely it will be that you remember it.

6. Loci Method

Another mnemonic strategy is the loci method, which is also known as the memory palace technique. You use this strategy to remember what you need based on the location. Here is how this strategy works:

  • You must visualize a path or room you are familiar with through a building
  • You have to mentally associate the information you learn with the objects and locations you find in the building as you go
  • When you need to recall, you must visualize moving through the building again
  • As you keep stopping on the way, the object or place will trigger the piece of information that you learned

The best part is that this method works for any comprehensive subject that you are studying. You can create a path as long as you like with different pieces of information throughout that will help you remember what you need in no time.

How You Can Use Mnemonics To Help You Memorize Better

Now that you know the different mnemonic strategies, you must know how to use them effectively for the best results. Here are some top ways that help you use them in the best way possible:

1. Select The Right Mnemonic For What You Need To Study

The most important thing you need to do is select the right mnemonic strategy for what you need to study. That is because not all of these strategies will work on every subject, as some are suited better for specific things. For example, the association technique will work best for you if you are trying to memorize names.

You can try out the different techniques on what you need to study and then see which one works the best for the situation you are in. It is a process of trial and error that will help you learn in no time. Once you get the hang of it, you know what strategy to use for which subject.

2. Keep Practicing

Practice makes perfect, which is why you need to keep on practicing your mnemonic strategies to boost your memorization. The more you practice, the easier it will become for you to remember what you have studied. Practice will also help you recall the information much more easily.

You can also practice different mnemonic strategies on what you need to learn and see what works best. Doing this will help you identify the devices that work best for different situations. So, be sure to keep practicing for as long as you need to memorize efficiently.

3. Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Repetition

One of the best ways we learn is through repetition. That is why you need to keep repeating the strategy you have created to memorize it with ease. For example, many people find it easy to remember things when they keep repeating them to themselves.

So, you can also use this to your advantage and keep repeating the device till you remember everything perfectly. You can keep repeating it in front of the mirror, to other people, or just to yourself. The key is to find what works best for you and repeat it till there is no way you will forget what you are memorizing.

Benefits Of Using Mnemonic Strategies

Now that you know almost everything about using mnemonic devices, you might be wondering how they can help you. Here are the top benefits you will reap if you use these strategies for exams:

1. Personalize Information

Many times, we can't recall information because it doesn't connect with us. That is where mnemonic strategies can help you learn in the best way. You use them to personalize information so that you can recall the information better.

Without the personal element, it can be challenging to remember many things you have learned. That is why no matter what type of mnemonic device you are using, you must add a custom element. It will help you take charge of your learning as you will become a much more active learner.

2. Spend Less Time Retrieving Information

As a student, you might find it intimidating to retrieve information during an exam as you get nervous and forget many things. Taking time to retrieve information can waste precious time when you are giving a test. That is why a mnemonic device is the best way for you to retrieve information.

It will help you save time because you will have a set way to recall the information and use it for your exam. So, if you are on a time limit, then be sure to use mnemonic devices to manage your time better.

3. New Ways Of Working With Information

Finally, a mnemonic device gives you a new way to work with information. Because of this, it can help you boost your interest in studying. If you find a subject boring to study, you can use mnemonic strategies to make it more interesting.

So, be sure to use it to see information in a new light and remember it better. Once you do, you will be able to memorize what you like without a problem.

Final Thoughts

That was your complete guide on how to use mnemonics to help you memorize better. Keep in mind that not all strategies will work best for every subject, which is why you need to go through a period of trial and error to see what works best for you. You will get the hang of using these techniques as you keep practicing.

So, if you want to save time and ace exams, then be sure to use the various strategies today. You will find them incredibly useful for a long time to come.


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Tutor City's blog focuses on balancing informative and relevant content, never at the expense of providing an enriching read. 

We want our readers to expand their horizons by learning more and find meaning to what they learn.

Resident author - Mr Wee Ben Sen, has a wealth of experience in crafting articles to provide valuable insights in the field of private education.

Ben Sen has also been running Tutor City, a leading home tuition agency in Singapore since 2010.