How To Remember What You Read Using Mnemonic Devices

How To Remember What You Read Using Mnemonic Devices

A huge exam is coming up, and you’re studying and reading the material carefully. For some reason, the next day at your study group, you have trouble thinking back to what you read the night before. Are you frustrated and nervous about having difficulty remembering what you read? By learning the different mnemonic devices, you can feel less anxious about retaining text.

Keep reading to find out more about mnemonic techniques and how they can help you ace that test.

Read when you’re relaxed

Before diving into reading and using mnemonic devices, take a deep breath. Studying for an exam is not the most relaxing activity! Multiple factors influence your ability to stay focused and concentrate on the task at hand. Dr. Julie Schwartzbard, MD explains that lack of sleep, stress, hunger, and your overall health can contribute to remembering what you read. Be sure to take care of yourself.


When remembering a lengthy piece of text, breaking it down into little chunks can better organize the information. This mnemonic device works by assigning these chunks of information to images or objects. Think of this subjectively. It may not seem like assigning information from your textbook to a tree is helpful, but you’d be surprised at how well it works.


You don’t even know it, but you are a poet! Creating a rhyme out of the information you’ve read in a piece of text is another mnemonic device that increases your chances of retaining the information you’ve just read. 


Merriam-Webster defines an acronym as, “a word (such as NATO, radar, or laser) formed from the initial letter or letters of each of the successive parts or major parts of a compound term.” A common way you see this is with students studying music. The bass staff notes are ACEG. If quizzed, a student would create a sentence using those letters. It could be something like All Cows Eat Grass. Acronyms can also be a word you make up that makes memorizing a piece of text easier. 

Create a memory palace

One of the oldest mnemonics is the Method of Loci. Briefly put, you walk through a familiar route you take while associating information to items within that route. For example, say you need to remember a list of authors in order of their first published book. You walk to the door of your house, and that is the first published author. Next is a photograph in your hallway, that is the next author and so on. A large population reports the success they have using the Method of Loci.

What about rereading?

One of the most misconceptions about memory is that rereading a text multiple times will help you to remember it better. This idea could not be further from the truth. What rereading does is cause the “illusion of knowing.” The illusion of knowing occurs when a person believes that they’ve achieved comprehension when instead, they have not. Rather than rereading, speed reading is a proven technique that increases comprehension. Not to mention how much time you’ll save by retaining that information.

Reading more, and reading more of the same content, will strengthen your memory so that when it comes time to take something like the BAR exam, you are ready. Reading more to help your memory may seem impossible with your schedule. Our Maximizing Memory course is ideal for students and well worth investing your time in. In the course, you’ll learn practical techniques to help you remember what you read and memorize essential information. Click to find out more.

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