When you know something, is it because you have
assimilated a chunk of knowledge. As long as
you can retrieve the information stored, you
remember it. Over time, experiences encountered
may overlay a memory causing difficulty in retrieval
and perhaps an inability to remember. In most cases
the memory is still there, but is no longer easily
returned to. The following sections contain several
memorization techniques you can use to develop a
pattern which is easy to return to.
The Keyword Method
Tests require us to remember large amounts of
information. Often though, all you need to actually
memorize is one key word. This is the essence of the
keyword approach. Read the entire article or
explanation. Then reread. While rereading look
for a single word that summarizes or denotes the
main idea. Highlight or write this word down.
Develop a list of these keywords. Then either
directly memorize the list by frequent recital, or
use one of the techniques described below.
The Pegword Method
Pegwords are used to remember short lists
of up to ten items, especially when the list must be
learned in a particular order. The technique utilizes
a number such as "one" represented by the pegword
"bun." You visualize the item you are trying to
memorize in a picture with a bun. Once you have the
picture memorized, you would know where the item
was in a list because the pegword is linked to a number.
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One of the strengths of this technique is that the same pegwords are used for different lists. It is like hanging a bunch of different jackets or ballcaps on ten pegs in your closet.
The actual pegwords are standard (although they could be personalized). Some researchers have developed pegwords for numbers past ten, but that makes a rather long list and decreases its effectiveness,
Here are the first ten pegwords:
one is bun
two is shoe
three is tree
four is door
five is hive
six is sticks
seven is heaven
eight is gate
nine is vine
ten is hen
Choose your own pegwords for the numbers if you wish. Your pegwords should create a catchy phrase as the rhyming example above. Memorize the list before proceeding.
Remember that the picture is the memory you will use, not the word. The picture should be detailed like a snapshot. Take each item on the list you are memorizing and associate a pegword with it. When you try to memorize the list, recall just the pictures each time. This will give your memory a visual aid in recalling not only the item but also its place on the list.
For example: Here is a list of the principal types of accidental death (in order):
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To use pegwords, develop pictures. For instance:
to the bun than the road.
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An acronym is a word where the letters stand for the first letter of each item on the list. For an acronym to work, the list must be of familiar things so the letter will prompt the correct word or item. Probably you already have been exposed to acronyms through geography or music class.
A common geographical acronym is the word HOMES used for the Great Lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior). If you did not already know or have a familiarity with the Great Lakes, the acronym would not help. However, with the first letter known you can often guess, particularly with a multiple choice test.
Another acronym is Roy G. Biv. Although it is not a real name, practice saying it about 20 times and you have the colors of the spectrum of visible light in order (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet).
Another acronym is the name of this class – PASS, which stands for Practical Academic Study Skills.
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Just as an acronym takes the first letters and makes a word,
An acrostic makes
For example, "Every
Good Boy Deserves
Fudge" is an acrostic
for the notes on the
line of a treble clef
(as FACE is an acronym for the notes in the spaces). The
technique is to write the first letters down and then
to find words that make a sentence.
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Here's a 3 step process from Dartmouth.