Mnemonics

The term “mnemonic” is another word for memory aide. When you’re trying to remember dates, facts, and processes, mnemonics can make this information easier to commit to memory and recall later on. There are several different types of mnemonics, however, some of which you’ve probably used to prepare for tests and exams. Some of the more popular kinds of mnemonics are:

    • Songs: Have you ever noticed that even a person that doesn’t have the best memory can remember the lyrics to a song? This is because when information is put into music form, it’s simply easier to remember.
  • Words: Let’s say you had to remember the five causes of a war: poverty, inequality, fear, conflict, and imperialism. Instead of trying to remember five words, make one word using the first letters of each key term. In this instance, it could be “cifpi” or “picfi.” The word doesn’t even have to make sense as long as you can remember it.
  • Expressions: If creating a word is too difficult, you can also create an expression to help you remember information. For this type of mnemonic, the first letter of each word corresponds to a key term or point. Some possibilities for the example above would be “cats in Fiji prefer icicles” or “pie is creamy, figs icky.” Again, the sentence doesn’t have to make logical sense; it just has to be something you will be able to remember.
  • Images: For this type of mnemonic, you create an image that you will be able to recall easily. The different parts of the image will be associated with the key points that you have to memorize. Sticking with the example used above, you might picture a crow with indigo feathers perched indoors.
  • Models: Sometimes, you will be asked to memorize statistics or sequential steps in a process. In these instances, effective mnemonics include pie charts, pyramid diagrams, or flow charts.
  • Rhymes: If you have a fairly large amount of information to memorize, constructing a rhyme is a good memorization technique. You can either put the key words directly in the poem or make a short rhyme in which the first letter of each word corresponds to a key point.
  • Flashcards: Flashcards are good memory devices because they reduce concepts to their key points. They also allow you to practice answering the types of questions that will appear on exams.

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