Memory Tips

Knowing More & Remembering it Longer

Remembering Strategies

  1. Select

    • Select what you want to remember.

    • Ask the teacher

    • Examine your class notes

    • Read the text assignments

    • Study the handouts

  2. Remember

    • Choose your techniques that will help you remember.

    • Visualize

    • Associate

    • Apply

    • Repeat

    • Use mnemonic devices

  3. Review, Read, Recite, Rewrite

    • Use these techniques to keep what you want to remember in your memory.

Using Mnemonic Devices to Remember Information

  • Rhyme.  A rhyme is a poem or verse that uses words that end with the same sound.  Example: Thirty days has September, April, June, and November.  All the rest have thirty-one except February which has twenty-eight.

  • Acronym.  An acronym is a word that can be pronounced that is made by using the first letter of other words.  Example: The names of the five Great Lakes in the U.S. form the acronym HOMES (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior).

  • Abbreviation.  An abbreviation is a group of letters made from the first letter of each word to be remembered.  Example: FBI is an abbreviation for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

  • Acrostic.  An acrostic sentence or phrase is formed by words beginning with the first letter of each word to be remembered.  Example: The phrase very active cat might be used to recall the three typed of blood vessels in the human body: veins, arteries, capillaries.

  • Pegwords.  A pegword is a word that helps you remember something by forming a picture in your mind.  Pegwords are used to remember lists of things.  Each pegword helps you remember one thing.  If you memorize 10 pegwords, then you can use them to remember 10 things.  If you memorize 20 pegwords, you can remember 20 things.

Using Repetition to Remember Information

  • You have probably used repetition many times without realizing it.  Anytime you have read, said, or written something a number of times to remember it, you have used repetition.  A good way to remember information when using repetition is to read, say, and write what you want to remember.  For example, if you need to remember a list of words and their definitions, here is how to use repetition to do this:

    • Read aloud the word and its definition.  If you need to, use a dictionary to help you pronounce a word.

    • With your eyes closed, say the word and its definition.

    • Without looking at the word, write the word and its definition.

    • Repeat the steps until you can write the word and its definition from memory three times without an error.

    • Do this for each word on the list.

Four Ways to Forget

  • Disuse. Information not periodically used withers and disappears.  Do you remember all of your previous telephone numbers?

  • Interference.  It is easy to confuse materials that are similar and related.  When confused, we are more likely to forget which is which.  Learning two similar foreign languages at the same time may present some problems.

  • Repression.  We have very strong systems of belief.  Sometimes what we learn doesn't fit with what we believe.  When in conflict, odds are our beliefs will win.  Believing that we are no good at remembering names will make it all that much more difficult to learn new names.

  • Not learning it in the first place.  This is probably the number one culprit in forgetting.  Even if we've been exposed to something, unless we solidify the learning we are not likely to remember it.