Use your senses
- Write out the information that you need to remember, organizing it as well as you can.
- Read the information out loud.
- Walk around as you read and study.
- In your mind (or on paper), create pictures or charts of the information that you're trying to remember.
- Let your mind wander, if the new information that you're studying reminds you of things that you already know (create a "hook" between the new info and the old info).
Study right before you go to sleep
- Your brain will continue to process information, even as you sleep!
Create a study sheet or flash cards
- Write down all important facts, formulas, dates and details in this one place, so you don't have to go back to other notes and textbooks repeatedly. Review these tools in small sessions, giving yourself plenty of time to prepare for a test.
Study, and study again.
- It's true - most times, you need to hear something multiple times before it sticks. Keep with it.
Mnemonics can help you to remember the details!
Mnemonic strategies are memory aids that help our brains to remember facts. Here are a few to try:
Acronyms - Make up words from the initials of longer words. Examples include:
- PEMDAS - the sequence in solving or evaluating math equations (Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction)
- HOMES - the names of the five Great Lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior)
- ROY G. BIV - the colors of the spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet)
Acrostic - Create a sentence or poem that uses the first letter of each word that you want to remember. Some examples are:
- Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally - the sequence in solving or evaluating math equations (PEMDAS: Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction)
- Every Good Boy Does Fine - the names of the lines on the treble clef (E, G, B, D, F)
Chunking - Arranging information into groups of items that go together. For example:
- To remember the number 946328175, group it: 946 - 328 - 175
- To recall the 50 states, group them by first letter (T = Texas, Tennessee)
Rhymes - Create a rhyme or song to remember information. Examples include:
- Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November
- Days of the week song (to the tune from "The Addams Family")
Pictures - Creating a mental images of the information that needs to be remembered. For example:
- To remember Shirley Temple's name, you might picture her "curly" (rhymes with Shirley) hair around her temples.
Stories - Create a story out of an event or details that you need to memorize. You can even make a story where each word or idea you have to remember cues the next idea you need to recall. Some examples are:
- To remember the words Napoleon, ear, door, and Germany, picture Napoleon with his ear to a door listening to people talk about Germany.
- Think of yourself as being a colonist taking part in the Boston Tea Party. What is happening? Who is there? What do you feel? What has happened to make you feel this way?
- Imagine yourself as a doctor researching diseases, looking at cells under a microscope and identifying each part of the cell.
Familiar Locations - Think of somewhere that you have spent a lot of time in and know well. Imagine yourself walking through the location, selecting clearly defined places--the door, sofa, refrigerator, shelf, etc. Imagine yourself putting the items that you need to remember into each of these places by walking through this location in a direct path. For example:
- If you need to remember George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Richard Nixon, you could imagine walking up to the door of your location and seeing a dollar bill stuck in the door (George Washington); when you open the door, imagine that Thomas Jefferson is reclining on the sofa, and Richard Nixon is eating out of the refrigerator.
Keywords (for foreign language vocabulary) - Think of a key word in English that sounds like the foreign word that you need to remember. Then, think of an image which involves the key word with the English meaning of the foreign word. An example:
- Consider the Spanish word "cabina" which means "phone booth." For the English keyword, you might think of "cab in a ... ." You could then invent an image of a cab trying to fit in a phone booth. When you see the word "cabina" on the test, you should be able to recall the image of the cab and you should be able to retrieve the definition "phone booth."