Memorizing anything by heart requires a lot of concentration and time for the average person. If you do not have a photographic memory, there are a handful of tips that will make memorization much easier for you.
A piece of information may be memorized through to various strategies. The following tips are proven to be effective for a majority of people :
- Write it down over and over. The process of writing something, again and again, helps to ingrain it in the brain. You might start out copying, but you will gain more benefits in reorganizing the concepts in different ways. This method is more or less efficient depending on your apprenticeship style : some need to write the information only a dozen times while others might require a 100. Despite this variation, repeated writing is still an effective memorization method, even more when writing by hand.
- Create a rhyme or a song. Adding rhythm to some catchy words is a great way to memorize information differently. If you are a creative person, this might be the easiest way for you to memorize.
- Use acronyms. Many students learn a variety of acronyms throughout their educational careers to help them memorize. Most children were taught in school ‘Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally’ or ‘PEMDAS’ (parentheses, exponents, divide, multiply, add, subtract). Making up your own acronyms allow long-term memorization just as well!
- Think visually. Create a relation between the information you are learning and an image (representative or not). This might be a chart or a simple drawing. For example, if you need to memorize the the 50 states capital cities, you might envision Columbus, Ohio as a bus on a phone saying : “Oh, hi!”. The phone would make you think of a call (“Col”), plus the other items would remind you that Columbus is the capital city of Ohio. Set free your imagination!
- Use flash cards prior to sleeping. Studies show that memorization mostly takes place during sleep. Sleep time represents brain’s consolidation of everything it had learned during the day. By going over simple flash cards (summary) an hour or so before bed will allow your brain to absorb the recently seen information. Always stop the study at least 30 minutes before planning to fall asleep.
Surely, these tips will help you to learn information by heart for your tests, but also for a prolonged time period. By memorizing information using a creative method, your brain is more likely to allow a life-long information retain. These creative methods are also a protection factor in case of later cognitive dysfunction.