How Can I Memorize Faster? | Iris Reading
How Can I Memorize Faster?

How Can I Memorize Faster?

How Can I Memorize Faster?

You can memorize information faster by sleeping to consolidate it, using mnemonics, linking it to past information, consciously reviewing it, using memory palace technique, and seeking expert guidance. 

Because we live in an age where people can simply “google it” and get the information they need, you may think committing information to memory is not important.

However, memorizing information is essential because memory lapses could be embarrassing and even costly. If as a student, you are in an examination hall, or as a working professional, you are making a presentation to your company’s board, you cannot stop to “google it.” You’ll work from information you’ve committed to memory.

This article will discuss why memorization is important and practical ways to memorize information faster. At the end of this article, you’ll learn how to retain information in your memory for easy recall when you need it.

Is memorization good for learning?

Memorization is simply committing something to memory, so it is the foundation of learning. All other skills like critical thinking and problem solving are possible because of information you already have in your memory.

In the not too distant past, there were no arguments about the importance of memorization to learning. It was an essential part of education at all levels. For example, elementary school students had to memorize things like multiplication tables, while high school students had to learn things like famous speeches by heart.

But in recent times, memorization has received a lot of flak. Many, including some educators, now see memorization as less important to critical thinking and problem-solving skills. That is why it is often prefixed with the dismissive adjective “rote.”

However, committing things to memory (which memorization is) is the foundation of learning.

There’s no doubt that it is the foundation of early cognitive development. It is why young children start out by memorizing nursery rhymes, even without grasping the meaning.

Including much-praised skills like critical thinking and problem-solving draw on facts and information that you have stored in memory.

Tips and tricks to memorize faster

You don’t need to be born with a photographic memory to be able to memorize faster and remember more.

With the following tips, you’ll be able to memorize faster, whether it is for a test, to remember facts for work, or just to avoid embarrassing memory lapses.

1. Sleep on it

Sleep optimizes memory consolidation, so always get a good night’s sleep and try to take naps when learning something you need to remember.

There are three stages in memory processing – encoding, storage, and retrieval.

After introducing information to the brain, it needs to be consolidated to remain in the brain’s “storehouse.” Only when you later recall the information you’ll be dubbed someone with a good memory.

Sleep plays a vital role in the consolidation of memory. Different studies have demonstrated this. In one such study, people were better at remembering face-name associations after a nighttime sleep opportunity, proving that a good night’s sleep helped consolidate the memory.

In another study, people who napped for about 46 – 60 minutes were better at remembering unrelated word pairs than those who did not. The short daytime nap consolidated the memory after the presentation, and they performed five times better.

Thus, to memorize faster: 

  • Take at least a 30-minute nap within 4 hours of learning something
  • Always have a good night’s sleep of about 8 hours 
  • Try reviewing (more on review later) what you want to commit to memory before the sleep/ nap.

2. Use Mnemonics

Mnemonic techniques help you memorize faster by transforming abstract information that is difficult to commit to memory into more meaningful patterns or by helping you associate it with something more meaningful.

Mnemonics devices are aptly called memory devices. They can come in the form of a rhyme, song, acronym, image, or more.

To understand how mnemonics work, you should understand that when information is abstract or when you cannot relate to a piece of information, it is difficult to commit it to memory. 

Mnemonic devices break that barrier. They fashion a meaningful pattern to abstract information and help you form relatable associations with it. Thus, the details are easier to commit to memory.  

There are different types of mnemonics. Some of the most commonly used are:

  • Music mnemonics

This involves composing a song or a jingle with the information you want to commit to memory. You’ll agree that it’s easier to remember a fun song than an otherwise endless list of words.

Music mnemonics also encourage repetition, which consolidates the information even more. A popular use of music mnemonics is the “ABC song” in learning the alphabets of the English language. 

  • Rhyming mnemonics

Rhyming mnemonics are similar to music mnemonics. They involve using the information to form a catchy poem where most lines rhyme.  

A popular use of this is learning how many days are there in each month of the year. Remember the “30 days hath September…” rhyme? 

  • Acronym mnemonics

This involves creating a new word using the first letters of each word you want to commit to memory.

A perfect example is how people learn the sequence of the colors of a rainbow, where ROYGBIV is used to remember Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet.

3. Link it

A piece of isolated information is more difficult to commit to memory. So to memorize something faster, link it to something else that is easily accessible to you.

This is also known as “connection mnemonics.” Simply connect the information you are trying to memorize to information you are already familiar with.

I remember trying to commit “the anomalous expansion of water” to memory – the concept that water behaves abnormally when it expands instead of contracting as the temperature drops from 40C to 00C.

It was already clear to me that a family that loses a member becomes smaller. But here, a family (water) is losing 4 members (temperature drops from 40C to 00C), but it gets bigger (expands) instead of getting smaller (thinner). So, water is very abnormal!

Crazy, right? But the concept stuck. Anytime I hear “anomalous expansion of water,” I immediately remember that family losing 4 members but behaving abnormally by getting bigger instead of smaller. 

When linking new information to something you already know, take note of the following:  

  • Make the connections visual. Our brains latch on to images faster than abstract words and numbers. 
  • The crazier the visualization, the better. If you saw a mouse chasing a cat and a cat chasing a mouse, which of the two are you likely to remember in 20 years?

4. Review it

Actively work to retain the information by bringing it to your memory again and again via spaced repetition and self-testing.

According to the “forgetting curve” hypothesized by Hermann Ebbinghaus, information is lost over time when there is no attempt to retain it.

Immediately after learning, you have 100% of the information in your memory. But if you do nothing, you’ll remember less and less every day.

So, to retain information, it is important to reinforce the information regularly by consciously reviewing it.

Spaced repetition

This is one way to reinforce information that you are trying to commit to memory. That is, after learning the facts, wait for a while, and review the information again. Memory experts say that 24 hours is the optimum time for each repetition that should help you memorize information faster. 

Each repetition of the information does two things:

  • Resets the forgetting curve. Every time you review the information, you’ll have 100% of it in your memory again.
  • Reduces the decline. You’ll forget less than you forgot before each repetition. 

Self Testing

Self-testing is more than simply bringing the information back to your brain by re-reading the material or checking your notes. It involves quizzing yourself and actively trying to recall the information without reference to any material.

Quizzing yourself in self-tests will help you identify areas you are struggling with. After challenging yourself to recall the information, you can proceed to check your notes to bring it back to your memory. Because of the challenge, the information will stick better.

5. Use Memory Palaces

Associating new information with places that you are very familiar with helps you memorize it faster.

The memory palace simply means assigning each piece of information that you want to commit to memory to a part of your house.

The memory palace technique (which is also called the method of loci) has helped people memorize loads of information since antiquity. Ancient Greek and Roman orators used it, and memory champions today are using it.

To use the memory palace, simply peg each piece of information that you want to commit to memory to a part of your house that you have strong memories of. Once your mind goes to that part of your house, you’ll remember the information you pegged to it. 

For example, say you want to remember a long shopping list which has meat, eggs, milk, fruits, etc. You can think of a goat sitting at your door, a bushel of fruits hanging from the ceiling where your chandelier will be, the living room flooded with creamy milk, and a pillar of eggs sitting on the dining table. 

6. Seek Expert Guidance 

Expert guidance flattens the learning curve, helping you achieve more in less time.

While you can learn to memorize information on your own, having an expert to guide you will help you memorize faster.

Memory experts, who better understand how memory works, have developed special courses to help people in different aspects of memory improvement.

For example, a course like Mind Mapping will help you improve your ability to commit things to memory. It’ll teach you how to use visualization to retain information, helping you excel no matter your objective.

Talking of excelling, the Personal Productivity course is one that’ll help you do more in less time (whether it is in memorizing information, reading, learning, or your secular work).

Other memory courses worth taking include:

Final Thoughts

Committing things to memory (memorization) is the foundation of learning. Sadly, people do not have photographic memories.

However, there are different ways to memorize information faster. These include: sleeping to consolidate information, using mnemonics, linking new information to existing one, reviewing new information, using memory palace technique, and seeking expert guidance.

Talking of expert guidance, Irish Reading is a tested and trusted memory expert. Thousands of people, including students in Ivy League schools and professionals in Fortune 500 companies, take our specialized courses to improve their memory and productivity.

If you want to remember what you read and memorize key information with ease, register for the maximizing memory course today.

​​5 Ways to Improve Your Law School Reading & Comprehension Skills
How Do I Know If I Have an Inner Monologue?