Memorizing Important Facts

Memorizing facts such as names, dates, vocabulary words or lists can be difficult. Here are several suggestions that can make memorizing a bit easier.
  1. To remember a list of facts, try turning them into an acronym or mnemonic.

    • An acronym is a word formed from the initial letters or groups of letters of words in a set phrase or series of words. For instance: WAC stands for Women's Army Corps, OPEC for Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or LORAN for long-range navigation.

    • A mnemonic is something intended to assist the memory, like a verse or formula. For instance, in order to remember the planets (in order) one mnemonic is the sentence: Mark's Very Extravagant Mother Just Sent Us Ninety Parakeets. The first letter in each word stands for a planet: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto.

  2. Make flashcards to remember math facts, vocabulary words and their definitions, or events and historical dates.

  3. Create a rhyming poem to help remember names and dates.
    • An old favorite is: In fourteen hundred and ninety two Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

  4. Draw a dramatic or silly picture of the fact to make it particularly memorable.

  5. In order to remember a larger number of facts, play the game of "Memory".

    • To play, you need index cards, a pen or pencil, and 2 or more players.
    • Make the first card by putting a question on one side of it such as "Who is the current President of the United States?"
    • Make a second card with the answer to the question on it: "President William Jefferson Clinton".
    • Make enough pairs of cards to keep the game interesting.
    • Shuffle the cards and place them face down on a table or floor.
    • In order to play, each contestant picks up a card and tries to match it with its correct counterpart. If successful, the contestant keeps the pair of cards and continues taking turns until he/she can no longer make any matches.
    • The player that has the most cards in his/her possession at the end of the game wins.
    • This game works well with cards that match by event and date, facts from the periodic chart, or vocabulary words and definitions.

The key to improving memory is to make it fun and to practice, practice, practice.

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