1. To memorize lists, use acronyms. For instance, to remember the names of the Great Lakes, think of HOMES: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior. NEVER EAT SOUR WATERMELON will help you remember the four directions: north, east, south, west. ROY G. BIV will help you remember the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
2. To memorize long numbers, divide them. Divide them into a series of smaller numbers and try to crate associations for that number. For instance, 183,332,310 becomes 18 (the “legal” age), 333 (3 three’s!), 23 (Ryne Sandberg’s #), and 10 (your curfew?).
3. To remember dates, associate them. Associate them with dates you already know. For instance, November 30th might be four days after your birthday; November 25 is Christmas Day except a month earlier. The year 1519 can be remembered as the ages of two people you know. (of course, this will only work for a year!)
More GG Memorizing Tips →
~ Rhyme it!! “Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492.”
~ Speak it!! To memorize my Human Anatomy notes back in college, I used to read them aloud. It worked – I earned some of the highest scores in the class (and the class was full of pre-meds!)
~ Hear it!! Record yourself reading your notes and listen to them before you go to sleep.
~ Type it!! Type all your notes on your smart phone or computer. Just typing will cause you to think about them, and you’ll remember the material longer.
~ Post it!! Put everything on Post-It notes and stick them where you’ll see them ALL the time.
Have several days to prepare for a test? Try this method to break up the study tasks:
Three Days Before the Test: Reread the key textbook chapters and class notes.
Two Days Before the Test: Recite key points out loud – to someone you know or even a pet/favorite toy – without looking at the notes or textbook. Refer back to them and see how much you remembered correctly.
The Day Before the Test: Take a practice test or complete a new study guide (online can be a great source for this) if you have one. On the questions that you miss, reread key points. Want some added insurance? Look over your notes right before bed!
The Day of the Test: Skim notes over breakfast. OR skip the last minute studying and relax with deep breaths or tension-breaking exercise.
AT THE TEST:
~ Do a brain dump. If you can, immediately write in the margins of the test or on a scrap paper any key events, characters, concepts, dates, etc. That way, you won’t have to worry about forgetting the important details. You will be able to refer back to this as you take the test.
~ Scan and skip. Look over the whole test, then start with the questions you’re sure of. Answering familiar questions first will boost your confidence and save time for tougher questions to come.
~ Manage Multiple Choice. In general, with a four-choice question, you should be able to eliminate two possible answers right away. Then you can choose your final answer from the remaining options.
~ Review and Regroup. After a test, review it. Don’t just throw it away or toss it in a folder. Look at the responses you answered incorrectly. Why did you?
More “At-Home” Study Strategies
- Go “old school:” Flash cards are a tried-and-true way to help remember complex facts. Write key words/concepts on the front and jot definitions on the back. Have someone quiz you.
- Make up mnemonics: I’m a fan of acronyms (words formed by using the first letter of each word in a list) and phrases to help kids memorize long lists (formulas, sequences, groups, etc).
i. e. Taxonomic Order ~ King Phillip Came Over For Good Soup (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species)
- Get Artsy: Draw simple diagrams of hard-to-remember relationships, concepts, plot points, etc. Silly pictures also help recollection of challenging vocabulary words.
i.e. To remember the difference between “dominant” and “recessive,” draw a picture of a big dog barking at a tiny dog. The name on the big dog’s collar could by “Dom” and the little one could by “Recess.”
- Embrace your inner American Idol: Admit it . . . You still remember most of the Preamble to the Constitution or the function of conjunctions thanks to the “Schoolhouse Rock” songs from Saturday-morning cartoons. Tunes and rhythm seem to cement new information into memory unlike anything else. Put facts to songs!!
- Play online: Many textbooks offer practice tests available for access from home. As a bonus, practice tests often foreshadow the actual exam.
Improve Reading and Writing Skills at Home
- Read and circle: Preview questions ahead of time. Circle key words like “main character” or “make a list.” Then, as you read the passage, circle the answers.
- Talk it out: Don’t be afraid to read aloud in the comfort of your own home. Reading a difficult text aloud can help the information stick in your memory more effectively.
- Play detective: Find the “five W’s and H’ in every passage. This may seem elementary but finding these main clues helps one make inferences and deeper analysis later on.
- Ace the essays: Create a mind map for the answer. OR, if you do not know what the essay question is, anticipate what the essay questions will be and write out answers to those questions that you anticipate.
Do you find yourself forgetting names? Do you forget what you need from the grocery store once you actually get to the store? Are you about to take your driver’s license renewal test and can’t seem to get those nit-picky rules straight in your head? Well, the trusty rope around the finger only goes so far. There are a few tricks to help you “cheat” your way down memory lane. Here are Grading Girls’s two favorite, sure-fire brain-boosting tricks. These tricks help pertinent details transcend from your short term memory to your long term recall:
Memory Mastery Tip #1 ~
Use acronyms to help remember names, sequence, spelling definitions, the possibilities are endless with this trick.
An acronym is a word or sentence formed from the initial letters of a name, such as TLC for Tender Loving Critic; or, by combining initial letters or parts of a series of words, such as radar for radio detecting and ranging. Acronyms can be great for remembering names, sequences, details, you name it . . .
“A Rat in The House Might Eat the Ice Cream” is a sentence that can be used to remember how to spell arithmetic.
“Every good boy does fine” is a sentence that can be used to recall the lines of a musical staff – e, g, b, d, g.
Memory Mastery Tip #2 ~
Organize information so that details are brought together under one main idea or concept that connects them. This can help diminish the all too frequent times you come home from the grocery store only to discover you forgot item.
For instance, it’s much harder to memorize this group of words . . .
than this group of words:
Now you too can wow your friends at your next party while rapidly rambling the names of the 50 states, the signs of the horoscope, the first paragraph of the Constitution . . . use that brain matter!