5 Memory Techniques to Learn Faster

Effectively memorize and recall information – 5 memory techniques.

Image of memory techniques for those who are self-educating.

The Roman philosopher Cicero once said,

“Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things.”

Even though Cicero is no longer with us, his words about the importance of memory still hold strong and relevant today.

Importance – Memory is an indispensable part of our lives. It allows us to both store and retrieve information. Memories help us understand the past, so we can work in both the present and future. Without memory, we wouldn’t remember or learn anything—it’s an integral ability for a functioning life.

Benefits – A countless number of memory techniques have been created to strengthen and expand our memory. In this post, we have compiled a list of 5 effective memorization techniques for those who are self-educating, starting a business, or who simply want to read more, while improving their ability to recall content.

WE REMEMBER
10% of what we read
20% of what we hear
30% of what we see
50% of what we see and hear
70% of what we discuss with others
80% of what we personally experience
95% or what we teach others
– Edgar Dale

Tip 1 – When practicing the techniques listed or trying to come up with an effective method on your own, take into consideration the quote above. Reading, hearing, and seeing are important elements of learning and remembering, but the most effective methods come through a combination of them, discussion, and teaching.

Tip 2 – The most effective memory techniques are both simple, yet strong. By using mental imagery, you can transform ordinary information into unforgettable material.

Tip 3 – Memory techniques help memorize and recall information that could benefit people to remember facts and knowledge more easily and faster, and reach their full potential or increase their career prospects.

Five Memory Techniques

1. The Link Method

image of memory techniques - link method

This is one of the simplest techniques to memorize information quickly. When remembering a list of words, create a link between the different objects with simple associations.

For example, if your list contains radio, apples, perfume, pillow, envision a radio playing an ad about apples. The squished apples create a potent perfume. You pick up the perfume from a delicate pillow.

Basically, you are creating an image and then forging a connection between it and the next object, and then you continue on through your list. You can picture the items being smashed together, on top of, or next to as long as they link.

2. The Peg System

image of memory techniques - the peg system

To create new memories refer back to information that you have previously learned. The “peg” in this memory technique is a mental hook to put new information on. This peg will always be there, and you can return back to it when necessary.

You can use letters or numbers to join ideas with each other. For instance, the numbers of 1-10 can be used like: one-fun, two-you, three-me, four-door, etc. For letters, you could write: A-day, B-knee, C-sea, D-dog, etc.

This may seem complicated, but your brain is able to “hang” many pieces of information using the same peg. It can help you memorize lists, words, definitions, and much more.

3. Mnemonic Devices

image of memory techniques - Mnemonic Devices

Most memory methods come with mnemonic devices, or patterns using ideas, letters, or associations to help remember. These clever devices normally come in the form of a rhyme, song, or sequence of letters to trigger your memory. Those who have exceptional memory abilities use typically mnemonics.

Remember the color spectrum
One of the most frequently used mnemonic devices in school is:
ROY G. BIV. = (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet)
or the colors of the spectrum.

Remember the planets
To remember the planets orbiting the sun in order you could use:
My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas
for Mars, Venus, Earth, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto (now, minus Pluto).

By using an already established device or creating your own, you will improve your ability to memorize and make links between information. The neural pathways in your brain will strengthen the more you think about the material, so you become more skilled at remembering.

4. The Story or Journey Method

image of memory techniques - journey-story method

Similar to the Link Memory Technique, the Story Method links images together in order to better recall information. Instead of simple connections between the objects, you create a vivid story to encourage remembering.

In order to remember radio, apples, perfume, and pillows, use the following short story: the radio was blasting a cheery tune, while the crisp scent of apples perfumed the air. I gazed up at the pillow-like clouds.

This method is helpful for recalling groups of material by connecting them all. Imagine crazy scenarios—expressly when dealing with unlike objects—to remember their purpose and importance.

5. Recalling

image of memory techniques - recalling method

The recalling memorization method can be accomplished in different ways. Look at the material you want to remember, and then put it away. Try to paraphrase what you know in your own words. This will not only strengthen your reading abilities and understanding, but it will also better your text comprehension.

Additionally, to both improve your memory and understanding, try to exercise your mind with active reading. Write annotations while reading to note important areas, passages you are confused about, or any questions you may have such as: What is going on? Why is this passage or quote important? What questions do I have?

Other ways to approach active reading are through, reading the information out loud, rewriting a summary in your own words, physically copying down the text (not on the computer), and having someone else read to you.

Other Memorization Tips

The aforementioned methods are effective when it comes to memorizing information and expanding your (speed) reading skills. Despite their success, there are other factors you should take into consideration when practicing memory techniques. These tips will ensure that your mind and body are in top condition for memorizing.

Teach others or grab a study buddy!

Learning and memorizing with another person increases your chances of succeeding as opposed to working on your own. Teaching others, or the protégé effect is when peer interaction helps you remember the material. You are more driven to memorize and understand the material when helping someone else. By teaching another person, you typically simplify the ideas and put them in your own words. This action effectively solidifies the information in your memory.

Sleep!

In order for your brain to be fully functional, you need to stay well-rested. If you are sleep deprived, it will limit your recall ability and interfere with your memory. Try taking breaks, which will allow more time for your brain to encode the knowledge into your long-term memory.

Be active!

Break up a monotonous routine by taking a walk or do some physical activity out in the fresh air. Both your body and brain need time to relax in order to stay refreshed and ready to learn.

Organize!

Set goals for what information you want to remember. Additionally, create a plan based on the time frame you have to meet your goal. Gather all the necessary materials you need and remove any unnecessary information that might distract you from the important content.

Take your time!

Everyone has been guilty of procrastinating. While cramming information can help you before a quiz or a business meeting, it’s best to avoid this scenario. Time can allow you to practice or find new methods to remember information. Plan ahead of time what you want to memorize and work on it gradually to avoid being overwhelmed.

Find the best environment.

While a busy coffee shop might be suitable for some to work in, it may not be the most conducive for memorizing information. Find the best area to meet your needs such as a library, study room, or anywhere quiet. When you are trying to concentrate, having surrounding distractions will only hinder your memorizing abilities.

Memory Techniques – Summary

Wrapping up our tutorial of the best memory techniques. Memory is the key to the processes of learning, storing, and retrieving information. These methods can help you succeed in a range of areas from the classroom to the business world.

They will improve your confidence by allowing you to remember facts and knowledge easier and faster, so you can reach your full potential or increase your career prospects.

Everybody has a different learning style. The memory techniques that best work for you may not work for someone else. Think of your past learning experiences, and try to recall what tactics were effective for you.

By considering your learning style and applying the methods provided, you will strengthen your abilities to memorize and improve your learning skills.

 5 Memory Techniques

  1. The Link Method
  2. The Peg System
  3. Mnemonic Devices
  4. The Story or Journey Method
  5. Recalling

Further reading: ASL- Learn American Sign Language | Become a SuperLearner – Boost Memory

Image credits: Creative Commons 2.0 | Cate Storymoon | pslee99 | Peter Shanks | Oisin Patenall | Victor Semionov

5 Comments

  1. Regarding mnemonic devices, I’ve read that sometimes they can create more confusion than clarification especially with complex information. What do you think? I’m curious about the balance between usefulness and potential misapplication.

  2. sleep being crucial for memory haha. guess it’s my excuse to nap more. gonna tell my boss it’s part of my study plan

  3. Hm, these methods like the Peg System seem good on paper but how well do they actually hold up in practical, real-world situations? I find that under pressure, simpler recall methods work best. Maybe it’s just me.

  4. Interesting read, I’m always on the lookout for ways to boost my memory, especially with juggling projects left and right. I’ve tried something similar like the Story or Journey Method before, and it’s surprising how much more I recall when there’s a narrative involved. The only downside is when the stories start blending together.

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