Mnemonics - Memory Techniques

The following are examples of techniques you can use to memorize important information.

When to Use It:

Technique:

Example:

For information involving key words

Acronym - an invented combination of letters with each letter acting as a cue to an idea you need to remember.

BRASS is an acronym for how to shoot a rifle-- Breath, Relax, Aim, Sight, Squeeze.

For information involving key words

Acrostic - an invented sentence where the first letter of each word is a cue to an idea you need to remember.

EVERY GOOD BOY DESERVES FUN is an acrostic to remember the order of the G-clef notes on sheet music-- E,G,B,D,F.

For ordered or unordered lists

Rhyme-Keys - a 2-step memory process:

  1. Memorize key words that can be associated with numbers (one-bun);
  2. Create an image of the items you need to remember with key words. (A bun with cheese on it will remind me of dairy products.)
Food groups:
  1. Dairy products: one-bun-cheese on a bun.
  2. Meat, fish, and poultry: two-shoe-livestock with shoes.
  3. Grains: three-tree-sack of grain hanging from tree.
  4. Fruit and vegetables: four-door- opening a door and walking into a room stocked with fruits and vegetables.
For approximately twenty items

Loci Method- Imagine placing the items you want to remember in specific locations in a room with which you are familiar.

To remember presidents:
Place a dollar bill (George Washington) on the door. Walk into the room and see Jefferson reclining on a sofa and Nixon eating out of the refrigerator.
For foreign language vocabulary

Keyword Method- Select the foreign words you need to remember, then identify an English word that sounds like the foreign one. Now imagine an image that involves the key word with the English meaning of the foreign word.

In Spanish, the word "cabina" means phone booth. Invent an image of a cab trying to fit in a phone booth. When you see the word "cabina," you should be able to recall this image and thereby retrieve the meaning "phone booth."

For remembering names

Image-Name Technique- invent a relationship between the name and the physical characteristics of the person.

Shirley Temple - her curly (rhymes with "Shirley") hair around her temples.
For ordered or unordered lists

Chaining- Create a story where each word or idea you have to remember will cue the next idea you need to recall.

Napoleon, ear, door, Germany
Story: Napoleon had his ear to the door to listen to the Germans in his beer cellar.

Adapted from web site developed by Bob Nelson.

Download Mnemonics - Memory Techniques as a PDF file.