Tips on Memorization

Memorization is necessary not only for school, but also for things like big presentations at work, not forgetting your wife’s birthday and remembering the phone number of an old friend. According to California Polytechnic State University, a person cannot necessarily develop his memory, but instead can improve the ways he remembers. When it comes to memory, the best ways to recall information involve associating it with something else–from a photo to a familiar item.

Use Memory Anchors

Think of setting up a tent: you place several stakes down to anchor the tent to the ground in order for it to serve its purpose. The same can be true for memory anchors. When trying to remember a key element, think through the face of a person–where you were when you saw him, facts about what he told you, etc. If you are trying to remember a person’s name, associate him with a distinctive object from where you met him. For example, if his name is Michael and he was drinking a martini, this will help you to better remember the name.

Visual Cues

Visual cues help you link a series of memories together. For example, when trying to remember a key person in history for a big test, turn the visual image of the person into a sentence about him. gives the example of a person trying to remember Humphrey. Because the man had a bald head, he said the man’s head was a hump that broke free from a camel–resulting in the name Humphrey.

Remember With a Purpose

Although you may think you are intending to remember something when studying, distractions or other factors may result in memory lapses. According to California Polytechnic State University, if you get into the mindset of actively trying to remember a fact, you will recall anywhere from 20 to 60 percent more facts than if you hadn’t actively tried to remember them.

Create Mnemonic Devices

Remember “My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas”? That’s the device for remembering the planets in order. Another is ROY G. BIV, an acronym for red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet–the colors of the rainbow and the visible spectrum. So for better recall, link memory cues together with words and numbers that stand out.

About this Author

Rachel Nelson is currently a managing editor for custom health publications, including physician journals. A writer for more than six years, she has written for the Associated Press and “Charleston,” “Chatter” and “Reach” magazines. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in public administration from the University of Tennessee.