Learning is a process that includes the development of new understanding and knowledge. Remembering is storing understanding, experiences, and knowledge (information) into long-term memory. Without memory, learning does not have any meaning. Memory techniques in this article help you memorize things easily.
Most people forget 80% of what they learn within 24 hours if they do not make a conscious effort to remember it. That’s means about 80% of the effort and hard work is lost—a big loss. Specific memory techniques can minimize this loss.
Storing information into long-term memory can be done by rote learning, meaningful learning, associative learning, and active learning. If you can’t keep the information, you’ve learned after a few days, then there must be a problem with learning style.
Associative learning is a form of learning that ideas and experiences reinforce each other and be mentally linked. Associative learning is much more reliable than rote learning because. By associative learning, you can easily rehearse and practice information.
Research shows that memory techniques are successful. It is because they train the mind to look for patterns and connections between information. These patterns and connections create meaningful associations with information. They also allow you to cross-reference the information in different parts of your memory.
There are several tested, effective memory techniques mentioned below. All of them work with the principle of actively organizing and associating materials with a memorable trigger.
1. The Connection Mnemonics Technique
The connection mnemonic technique helps encode new information with something else that you already know. Making connections is a type of detailed rehearsal and can be applied to almost any topic or information1.
Example: It’s easier to recall the direction of longitude and latitude when you know that lines are long on a globe running North and south, and that coincides with longitude. Another connection-mnemonic points out that there is an N in longitude, and in the North there is an N. There must be east to west latitude lines, then because there is no N in latitude2.
Figure 1: Example of connection mnemonics
2. Model Mnemonics
Model Mnemonics is a visual organization of concept that is designed to promote understanding and to recall information. This technique is very effective for a visual learner.
Pyramid models, flow charts, circular sequence models, pie charts, concept maps, and mind maps are examples of model mnemonics.
Create your models while taking notes. Instead of writing words, you can draw pictures. This makes your notes more attractive—an example of a model given below. As you see, it is easier to study and memorize the nitrogen cycle by model rather than just reading text.
3.Phrase Mnemonics (memory) Technique
Phrase mnemonics are one of the most effective memory techniques. This technique is also known as crosswords, acrostics, or word mnemonics. To make a phrase mnemonic, just use the first letter of each item in a list to form a phrase or word—some examples are given below.
Color coding order on the electronic resistors:
Bad Boys Ride Our Young Girls, But Violet Gives Welts to Silly Guys
The categories in the classification of life:
(Kings Play Cards On Fairly Good Soft Velvet)
Order of the Planets:
(My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas)
4.Acronym (Name) Mnemonics Technique
The acronym is one of the most widely used memorizing techniques. An acronym is a pronounced word created by the use of the first letters of information. It doesn’t need to be a real term, just one that is memorable.
FOIL: The steps involved in factoring algebra problems (First terms, Outer terms, Inner terms, Last terms)
NEWS: The points of the compass (North, East, West, South)
ROY G. BIV: Colors of the spectrum (Red-Orange-Yellow-Green-Blue-Indigo-Violet)
HOMES: Names of the Great Lakes in America (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior)
P-MAT: Stages of mitosis (Prophase, Metaphase, Anaphase, and Telophase)
5.Rhyme (Ode) Mnemonics Technique
The rhyming mnemonic technique is appropriate for learning an ordered set of information. It puts information in the form of a poem. This technique is effective because it is meaningful, helps students organize information, provides many associations, uses creative thinking skills, and focuses on student attention5.
Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November
All the rest have thirty-one
Excepting February alone
Which hath but twenty-eight, we find,
Till leap year gives it twenty-nine.
6.Music Mnemonics Technique
Music for memorization is a fascinating, powerful technique that anyone can do. Some companies use this technique when advertising on TV and radio to make their products better memorable for potential customers.
Music is a powerful memory technique because associating music with learning makes memorization easier, quicker, and more efficient.
You can make a jingle or song with any form of music you choose. Just give a music tune for any list of items (nursery rhymes work best). I select some links from the YouTube channel as an example of music mnemonics.
FIFTY NIFTY UNITED STATES: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhDrGnjacvA
PERIYODIK TABLO SARKISI: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rz4Dd1I_fX0
NEWTON’S LAWS OF MOTION SONG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUp4W9htmuY
THE LOGARITHM SONG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlEj6P8BhsQ
7.Note Organization Mnemonics Technique
Effective note-taking skills and organizing notes promote active learning. Research has found that to be successful in learning; students need to do something with the content they interact with (writing, reading, writing, solving problems, discussing).
Note-taking significantly configures the comprehension and writing process as it helps to make quick transitions between multiple cognitive processes and images in the working memory. It allows the brain to participate in some serious mental upheaval, and these actions promote awareness and retention.
Note-taking techniques explain in detail in chapter 4. A short description of four examples of organizing note formats as follows:
The Outline Method
An outline method organizes information in a highly structured, logical manner, forming a textbook chapter or lecture subject’s skeleton.
The Cornell Method
The Cornell method offers a systematic format for condensing the organizing and reviewing notes. It has been devised by Professor Walter Pauk of Cornell University in the 1950s.
Concept Map is a graphical tool that organizes, connect, and synthesize information. Concept maps show concepts in circles or boxes, and one can indicate relationships between concepts by connecting lines or linking words.
The Charting Method
The charting note-taking method uses columns to organize information. Each column represents a unique category, making the rows easily comparable.
8.Spelling Mnemonics Technique
Spelling mnemonics are helping us to remember the spelling of words.
- Use the word RAVEN to remember when to use “affect” versus “effect.”
- A principal at a school is your pal, and a principle you follow or believe is a rule.
- GEOGRAPHY: George Edwards Old Grandma Rode A Pig Home Y
9.Image Memory Technique
Visual information and verbal information are stored in a different part of our brain. Storing information in various parts of the brain increases the high probability of retrieval. Besides this, relationships among abstract concepts can be seen and recalled easily if they are visualized.
Take the information you’re trying to remember and create a crazy, memorable picture in your mind. This image may be mental or sketched into text and lecture notes. The sillier the image mnemonic is, the easier it is to recall the related information. This strategy may particularly suit a visual learner.
ANT: Automatic Negative Thoughts
BAT: Barbiturates, Alcohol, and Tranquilizers
10. Memory Palace (Method of Loki) Technique
This technique is also known as the memory journey, memory palace, or mind palace technique. Memory Palace Technique uses visualizations of familiar three-dimensional environments to enhance the recall of information. These environments can be your home or the route you take every day to your school.
This method works with the use of visual association, enabling you to memorize and retrieve an infinite number of objects in a fixed order. The process is easy: Each location serves as a hook, to which you visually connect whatever you want to remember. So, create or take an image or scene in mind in which the location and the to-be memorized item interact. Determine a fixed starting point. Provide the order of information by defining a precise journey with distinct locations along a route9.
Figure 3: Example of Memory Palace Technique
11. The Chunking Memory Technique
Cutting large bits of information into smaller parts allows us to understand. Putting small pieces back together allows us to see the big picture and remember. The chunking technique is called taking individual pieces of information and grouping them into bigger units.
According to a learning expert, Dr. Oakley, short-term memory can hold only four chunks of information at once. So, when new data arrives, it has two ways to pick them up. First, it can overwrite and forget to make space for new information or use mental effort to move junk from the working memory into long-term memory. Therefore, it is almost impossible to recall 11 digits like 07502813535813.
There are several ways to chunk. You can break a larger piece into smaller bits, identify a pattern or group pieces to see the larger picture10.
Figure 4: Example of chunking memory technique
12. Writing Technique
Writing is a type of active learning. While you are writing something as if you are doing it. When you are writing, the brain works to digest, summarize, and capture the core of the information.
Writing boosts the ability to retain information, memory, and understand concepts. According to one psychological test, students who did not take notes recalled the same number of points as students who take notes. Both groups of students remembered approximately 40% of the material covered in the lecture. But the students who had taken notes recalled a higher proportion of key facts with the correct order, while those who did not take notes recalled a random variety of points covered in the lecture.
A study by Professor Karin James of Psychology at Indiana University examined children who had not yet learned to read or write. Her research asked children to replicate a single letter by typing it, drawing it on plain paper, or tracing it over a dotted outline. The researchers then placed the children in a functional MRI brain scanner and had them examine the image again. During the examination of the image, the scans showed that children who drew the letters triggered three different areas of their brains. The brains of children who traced or typed a letter did not have the same effect. The research shows the learning advantages of physical letter writing.
13. The Combination Memory Technique
Combination techniques refer to combining different senses to store information. Different brain regions interact with each other to process data.
When you listen to someone who speaks your native language, you do not need to watch to understand. But if you do not have a good command of the speaker’s language, you look at his mouth to better understand his words. We have all intuitively experienced this multisensory perception when two of our senses work together to understand reality better.
The neuroscientist study shows that if multiple senses are stimulated improves memory more effectively than unisensory context. So, use different senses together to recall information better.
14. The Revision Technique
One of the essential elements of successful and effective learning is revising the subjects learned on the day. Ebbinghaus’s popular memory decay research shows here that 80 percent of what you learn today will be lost within 24 hours if you don’t make a deliberate effort to recall it.
Unfortunately, many students who prepare for exams conceive repetition as a waste of time. They prefer to study a new topic rather than revising a daily topic. They also delay daily revision to the end of the week or month. However, revisions carried out at the end of the week or month are feeble efforts to retain information. Daily revision keeps the information active in mind. Hence, the crucial step of permanent learning is to revise the topic daily.
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- Rule, A. C., 2003, The rhyming peg mnemonic device applied to learn the Mohs scale of hardness, Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 51, p.465-473.
- “Mnemonics- Using Music to Memorize”, la música, 1 May 2013,
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- “Memory Palaces and the Method of Loci.” RememberEverything.org 2011-2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hydCdGLAh00
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- Wax, D. “Writing and Remembering: Why We Remember What We Write.” Lifehack, https://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/writing-and-remembering-why-we-remember-what-we-write.html
- Frisch, S. “3 Scientific Links Between Handwriting Your Notes and Memory.” Redbooth, 3 august 2016, https://redbooth.com/blog/handwriting-and-memory
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