19 Secrets to Effective Memorization: From Basics to Mastery
We hate to admit it, but some people have a knack for remembering things more easily than others.
But here is the thing:
With the correct memorization technique, you can boost your memory if you struggle to memorize things faster.
It doesn’t matter if you are trying to memorize your grocery list, a movie script, the periodic table of elements, or some notes for an upcoming exam.
You’ve come to the right place, whether an auditory or visual learner.
In this blog article, we’ll unveil memorization techniques you can use to learn more information in less time.
Let’s dive right in! Shall we?
The APA Dictionary of Psychology defines chunking as the mental act of breaking up vast amounts of knowledge into manageable chunks that are simpler to store in short-term memory. Chunking enables you to combine related items for more accessible memory.
But how many things can we memorize by grouping them?
George A. Miller, a psychologist, examined the limits of the brain’s ability to comprehend information back in 1956.
He found that we can typically only remember seven information items at once. “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two” was coined.
Therefore, ensure that the chunk you wish to recall has seven things or more (plus or minus two), whether words, numbers, or locations.
For instance, chunking might be an excellent technique to help you recall if you’re juggling several jobs or projects.
You can arrange them according to due dates or topics; whatever makes sense will work.
2. Memory palace technique
The Memory Palace, which is well-known and popular with memory champions, is another method among visual memorization techniques on our list.
It is most helpful when recalling lengthy lists of words or numbers, such as the pi decimal place or a grocery list.
The key here is to visualize a familiar setting, such as your home or apartment. Then, you place each item on the list inside the house. Here’s a simple illustration:
Consider the following words: broom, bear, window, dream, slimy, and fridge.
Divide the list into two groups of three entries each.
Place the first three objects on the porch of a house in your mind:
- On the railing, the bear is dozing off.
- You may see aquarium fish swimming inside the home’s windows.
- The bear dreams of honey while a dream bubble is above his head.
We proceed inside the home for the second group:
- You notice the doorknob is slimy and covered in green gunk when you grab it.
- A refrigerator with its doors open in the corridor lets snow into the space.
- A broom is hitting a spider in the area close to the stairway.
Now try to relax and don’t look at the list above. Can you recreate the house in your mind, retrace your steps, and remember every item?
By conjuring bizarre visuals, you challenge the brain’s understanding of how the real world functions. These things are easy to recall since the visuals stand out.
3. Spaced repetition
The spaced repetition strategy often works for better memorization, particularly with exams and learning a new language.
Hermann Ebbinghaus coined the phrase “the forgetting curve.” It visually illustrates how our brain gradually forgets information unless repeated at predetermined intervals.
There must be a pause of a day or two or longer between each evaluation. The longer the interval, the more likely you will retain the knowledge in your working memory.
So, how do you put it to use?
Use your favorite learning style as a guide. For instance:
- Visual learners can sketch their memory palaces or create a storyboard.
- Auditory learners could read aloud their story or explain going through their memory palace.
- Kinesthetic learners could wander through their memory palaces or act out real-life scenarios.
You should also examine the content before going to bed.
Why? According to research, those studying before bed tend to recall more of what they learn the next day. Additionally, they felt more assured in their responses.
Think of nursery rhymes to get an idea of how simple rhymes are to memorize. They are so simple that even young children can remember them.
It will undoubtedly help you recall the information more effectively, whether you use a rhyme to relate a product name to a product line or to remember someone’s name at a networking event (Example Clinton from Clickup).
It may not always be possible to make something rhyme, but when it does, it will make recalling information much more straightforward.
Generally speaking, writing helps you memorize information better. Using laptops instead of taking notes is likely preventing you from remembering lectures or meetings more clearly.
We force our minds to determine whether some information is more crucial than others while transcribing lectures or any other spoken or dictated material.
We transition from passively receiving information to engaging and participating actively.
Studies suggest that people who type down their course content do it word-for-word. On the other hand, writing compels us to express what we have learned in our own terms, which makes it much simpler to remember it later.
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6. Storytelling or linking
This method is fantastic if you have a creative mind and must remember a lengthy list of things. Because you connect one thing to the next to build a narrative that will help you recall the entire list, this is also known as the “linking technique.”
What’s its appeal? You only need to remember the first item because linking will allow you to connect it to all the others.
Remember that your story will be simpler to remember if you exaggerate more.
Barry Reitman, an actor, provides a fantastic video illustration of how to use the link or story method to recall a to-do list.
You can better visualize knowledge by writing it down. To increase the information’s recallability, utilize diverse fonts, titles, and subtitles. Use flashcards to divide it into manageable portions.
They work well in conjunction with spaced repetition. Studying challenging or novel content more frequently than content that is simple to recall to strengthen your weaker knowledge areas is ideal.
Flashcards are a terrific tool for preparing for a pitch or a speech. They may also serve as your security blanket because they are easy to grasp covertly and look through when you get lost.
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8. Acting it out
Have you ever wondered how theater performers can memorize countless pages of text for a two-hour performance without stuttering?
According to a study, the key is to assign emotions to each dialogue sequence. Actors put a lot of effort into comprehending the motivation behind a character’s actions and attempting to capture that emotion.
You can adopt a storytelling approach to memorize your study material. This is particularly beneficial for teaching history or recalling historical events. Consider the information as a movie’s narrative and the people as characters with distinct objectives.
Spelling mnemonics are excellent tools among verbal memorization techniques to aid in list or group memory, much like chunking. Simply build an acronym that is simpler to remember than the individual words by using the first letter of each term.
Do you know what SMART goals are?
The acronym (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based) makes it much simpler to recall the steps.
You likely work with abbreviations if you’re in the accounting, logistics, or human resources fields; knowing what they mean will make things much more straightforward.
Try an acrostic if you can’t think of an acronym! The concept is quite similar, but you write a short poem. Let’s illustrate this using Asana:
- Always available to you
- Small things to significant things
- Automate your daily tasks
- Not simply your task lists
- Any process you use for your project
In the above poem, the first letter of the word in each sentence represents the letters in “Asana.”
To recall information, you can also use alliteration. This is especially beneficial if you have trouble remembering names.
Suppose a new colleague introduces himself as Andrew. In that case, you are more likely to remember it the next time you run into them in the cafeteria if you use an alliteration such as “analytical Andrew” or “amazing Andrew” upon meeting them for the first time.
10. Mind map
Mind maps are a fantastic memorization method that facilitates idea generation and helps you later picture pertinent information.
The following are only a few advantages of the mind-mapping method:
- Enables you to gain more valuable knowledge.
- Fosters the growth of your cerebral capabilities.
- Allows you to comprehend difficult situations with far greater ease.
- Increases your output.
- Makes learning new information more enjoyable.
Hazel Wagner, a lifelong student with a Ph.D. in mathematics, claims that mind mapping is a memorizing method that aids in taking notes and improving memory.
In one of her TED Talks, Wagner goes into great detail about the benefits of mind mapping for comprehension, memorization, and recall.
She focuses, in particular, on the significance of customizing our mental maps so that we can quickly go back and retrace our actions when we review them later.
Therefore, the next time you create a mind map, be sure to do it in a unique, relatable style, and you’ll succeed.
11. Medication association (for medical students)
Shiv Gaglani mentioned an intriguing method he discovered in an article about his difficulties with memorization in medical school.
He believes that learning the side effects of various medications is one of the most challenging things for medical students and professionals.
But one day, he heard about the cyclist Lance Armstrong’s battle with cancer. He learned that the man had rejected a specific treatment due to concerns about its impact on his lungs.
The treatment included bleomycin, an active component with lung-related side effects. Being an avid athlete, Armstrong was concerned that bleomycin could worsen lung conditions.
Armstrong’s decision to prioritize his athletic career permanently etched the memory of bleomycin in Gaglani’s mind.
It influenced him so profoundly that Armstrong developed Osmosis, a personalized learning platform for medical students, and advocated for the association technique as a valuable mnemonic tool that is not only for medical school students but for everyone else.
If you’re having trouble remembering the name of a historical figure, a periodic table element, or a location, link it to a fun fact.
12. Understanding what you learn
You’re probably familiar with the sensation of learning something that you don’t fully comprehend. The information frequently becomes a nightmare since it resembles memorizing an unrhymed poem.
Learning something you don’t grasp has an additional drawback.
You can only proceed if you remember a portion of it. This is because you have retained the word order in your memory, not its meaning. Read the complete piece of material instead, then identify the essential point or points.
Make an effort to summarize what you have read in your own words. Be as straightforward as you can. If you are successful, it signifies that you understood the material, making it much simpler for you to remember the specifics.
13. Learning the essential knowledge
Set the right priorities if you have too much on your plate. Determine what you must know and what you can get by without.
Concentrate on the essential components of what you need to memorize. You can still cover the less significant stuff later if you can find the time.
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14. Serial position effect
The key thing to know about this technique is that the easiest things to memorize are those at the beginning and the conclusion.
Utilize this effect to your advantage. Organize the information in a way that places the most crucial information at the beginning and the end.
15. Pomodoro technique
Change the focus of your attention between different activities and topics. You might be preparing for a public speech, for instance. You’ve spent 15 minutes studying the text.
Now, every 15 to 20 minutes, take a break and relax.
The best action is to switch to something entirely different, like playing guitar.
We recommend taking a lengthy break before starting something new if you are about to learn something similar to what you have already learned.
Imagine traveling home from work when a song you haven’t heard in years comes on the radio. You pump up the volume and sing along while remembering every word. If this occasionally occurs, music is stored well in your long-term memory!
You can benefit from the memorization abilities of lyrics and melodies by using them. Turn dull or challenging situations into enjoyable tunes by creating a catchy jingle or song in your head.
This can be useful for recalling your company’s growth statistics before a meeting; just be careful not to start singing during a crucial conversation.
17. Teaching others
Teaching others is a gratifying pastime as well as a fantastic memorization tool. Re-examining acquired knowledge aids memorization when teaching.
You often become considerably more involved in the content when you know you are going to impart the knowledge you are learning to others.
Teaching aids in the systematic and rational memorization of information. As a result, you can systematically deliver and retrieve information when it is appropriate to recall.
18. The 3 Rs of memorization practice
The 3 Rs technique, as its name suggests, entails three steps: record, retain, and retrieve. Here is a breakdown of each action:
- The first phase involves recording the information that you need to memorize. Taking notes or simply repeating the information aloud can be the recording method.
- Retaining the recorded data is the second stage. In this stage, you interact with the data by looking at the notes. Alternatively, you could connect the fresh knowledge with the data you already possess.
- The ability to obtain the data when needed is the final step.
Keep the significant points in mind when recording the content.
Memorizing words or things will be easier if you concentrate on the essential details. Another fantastic technique to keep the information brief is to store it in symbols and abbreviations.
You can improve the recording process by organizing your notes according to dates. Test yourself to try and retrieve the information.
Even though it may seem simple, the 3 Rs technique may only be effective for some people.
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19. Memory games
Memory games are a fun way to practice active recall with friends or family, and you can play alone or with others. Simon Says, Concentration, and Memory Match are a few examples of memory games.
Your goal in Simon Says is to recall challenging instructions like “Simon says jump” or “Simon says touch your nose.” As you play this enjoyable and captivating game, you maintain your memory and reflexes.
Your goal in the game of Concentration is to locate hidden cards and expertly match them up. Find the elusive matching pair by taking turns exposing two cards simultaneously on a grid while competing against an opponent.
Memory Match challenges you to remember a more complex sequence of colors or objects with each turn.
Memory Match offers countless hours of brain-teasing pleasure, whether you want to practice concentration alone or play against friends.
Takeaway: Boost your memory like a pro with these secrets to effective memorization
It takes time and effort to develop your memory. You must invest several hours daily honing your memorization abilities and techniques to become a memory master. You can boost your memory with lots of practice.
Need help unlocking your memory’s potential? Sign up for our memory improvement course!
Start your journey toward being a memory champion today.