Studying for exams is a time-consuming task that can become even more tedious if you forget everything you read by the time you move on to a new subject. Using mnemonic or memory devices is a great way to help you retain the information you are studying and aid your recall of that information when it comes to test time. Memory devices work by allowing your brain multiple routes to encode information. By having multiple ways to access the same information, your brain is better able to recall important facts. This article will go through a few tried and tested mnemonic devices to help you ace your next exam.
Chunking is a common memory device that involves breaking down large words or pieces of information into smaller, manageable chunks. According to Psychology, our short-term memory can only hold about seven items, so breaking information into seven or less chunks will make it easier to recall important information.
Organizing related terms or information into chunks is an effective way to use this method. Look for connections in the information you are studying. Are these items similar? How do these pieces of information relate to the main topic? How do these items work together? Once you start finding connections, you’re ready to start chunking.
Acronyms are saying created by matching the first letter of a word to another word starting with the same letter. You’ve probably used acronyms throughout your scholastic career. “ROY G. BIV” is an acronym used to remember the colours of the rainbow and “baby eats candy apples until she explodes” is a popular acronym used to remember how to spell the word because. Acronyms are most useful in science classes to remember phases of events like photosynthesis, the Kreb’s cycle, or the phases in meiosis. Acronyms are also fun to create and in general, the more outrageous the acronym, the easier it is to remember!
If you are a visual learner, this mnemonic might be for you. Start by choosing two related words or ideas from your notes. Next, imagine these two words or ideas standing next to each other in a related location. For example, if you were trying to remember the words “water” and “boat”, you might image these to words standing next to each other on a beach watching cruise ships go by. While this mnemonic may seem a bit strange, it can be very helpful if you struggle to remember endless strings of words.
Words to Remember
If none of these mnemonics work for you, get creative and invent your own! The trick is to come up with creative ways to get information to stick in your mind. Some ideas to experiment with are mind maps, your own unique forms of visualization, and rhyme schemes and songs. There is no right or wrong way to create a mnemonic. As long as your mnemonic helps you to remember, feel free to get as creative as you want.