Mneumonic memory techniques from magnetic memory method
1. Memory Palaces
The Memory Palace is the most powerful mnemonic device ever formulated. If you are a fan of ‘Sherlock’ – the BBC series, you have seen Sherlock Holmes use his ‘mind palace’ to remember practically everything. This memorization method isn’t just used by fictional detectives. Memory champions swear by the memory palace. The mnemonic device, also referred to as the ‘Method of Loci’ or ‘Cicero Method’ was developed in Ancient Greece. How does it work?
The fundamental concept of the Memory Palace Technique is to associate pieces of information that you wish to remember with parts of a location that you are very familiar with. This location can be your home. This memorization method begins by visualizing yourself walking through your home and remembering every single detail that you can. It’s also a great mental exercise. However, you necessarily do not need to visualize, and can physically walk through your home too. In fact, the idea of the memory palace is to make use of all your senses – auditory, kinesthetic (touch) and so on. Associate each item that you wish to remember with a specific object or space in your home. For example, if you are trying to remember a new language, you might want to store all the words related to weather in your wardrobe. Associating items within your mind with a real physical space helps your brain ‘file’ important things to remember more easily. Memory Palaces can be used to remember names, faces, languages, lists, academic material and pretty much anything under the sun. I talk about the Memory Palace in more detail in this article.
2. Spaced Repetition
It’s easier to remember something that you read yesterday than a paragraph you have read a year back. Hermann Ebbinghaus referred to this as the forgetting curve. His research into the psychology of memory observed that we forget most newly acquired information within a few hours or at the most a couple of days. However, if you reinforce what you learn at regular intervals, it’s easier to retain that piece of information from the long-term storage areas of your brain. The spaced repetition method is all about practicing remembering at the right time.
You do that by reinforcing a bit of information in your mind just when you are about to forget it. A simple way of applying this technique is to use flashcards. You can organize your flashcards into three batches depending on how easy it is for you to remember. If you remember something clearly, test yourself with the same flashcard within ten minutes, but if you do remember, test yourself at a longer interval. There are several tools out there which claim to be spaced repetition software, but which are actually not. If you wish to try out spaced repetition, the best approach is to make your own flashcards.
3. Use Chunking to Remember
Chunking is the process of clubbing things together into groups. For instance, you could try remembering your grocery list according to each shelf in the store. Or when you are learning a new language, learn words that are related by a strong context, such as breakfast food items, winter clothing and so on. The human brain naturally tends to look for patterns, and chunking allows the brain to store information in easy-to-remember packets. Here are 21 more study tips related to chunking, some of which are a bit unconventional.
4. Expression Mnemonics or Acronyms
You have probably come across this method in school. You create an acronym of the different things that you wish to remember. If you have taken music lessons, you would remember EGBDF (the treble clef) with the acronym, “Every Good Boy Does Fine.” Another common expression mnemonic you might remember from your school days is HOMES – for the Great Lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior). Acronyms are difficult to forget! There are similar Expression Mnemonics which involve rhymes, songs and so on.
5. Remembering Numbers with The Major System
The Major System is also called the Major Method or is sometimes referred to as Harry Lorayne’s Number Mnemonics. It works by associating a number with a sound. Like this: 0 = soft c, s or z 1 = d, t 2 = n 3 = m 4 = r … and so on (see diagram for the full list.)
You use this simple formula by forming words with these numbers. For instance 22 could be nun (formed by combining n and n). You combine these words to visualize an animated sequence of activities, which makes it difficult for you to forget! The method can be used to memorize long digits, multiplication tables, phone numbers, number-based passwords and so on. Yours Free: A Private Course With Cheat Sheets For Becoming A Memory Master, Starting From Scratch.
6. Using the NAME Acronym to Remember Things
The NAME acronym is a process used to remember names. However, you can use it to remember other things too. This is based on an interesting book I read recently – Boost Your Memory by Darren Bridger. For those of you who are seriously into memorization and mastering how to remember something you forgot, it’s a worthy read. Even if you’re already well establish, I suggest reading it for a quick review of the major principles that support how to remember things.
Notice Notice is the first word in the name acronym. In this case, the author is talking about not only about how to remember things like names by noticing the person’s hair, eye color and other distinct features of the face. He’s also talking about noticing the sound the sound of the name as part of learning how to remembering things better. Seriously. Notice how the names you want to remember sound. Even a seemingly pedestrian name like “Bill” becomes quite interesting if you think about it.
You can even go so far as to pretend in your mind that you’ve never heard the word before. Just as we want to pay close attention to the sound of the words we are memorizing using the Magnetic Memory Method, when we learn a person’s name, we want to swirl it around a bit. It’s almost like testing wine. That’s kind of a weird way to think about learning someone’s name, but I’ve tried it out many times, and it actually does bring an interesting quality to the memorization process.
Ask And You Shall Remember Ask is the second word in this powerful acronym that teaches you how to remember names or even how to remember things for a test. In the case of names, Bridger is suggesting that we ask for the name to be repeated if we haven’t heard it the first time. When it comes to how to memorize things for a test, it’s really the same process. For example, I’m sure you’ve had this experience: You hear someone’s name, but don’t quite catch it. Instead of asking for it to be repeated, you let the name issue drop and hope it will come up again …
But It Never Does! And so, as Bridger suggests, there’s no shame in asking for a name to be repeated. Likewise when you study: there’s nothing wrong with going back and repeating the information. And then add the act of asking with this quick tip: If you want to know how to remembering things better, start asking people about their names. Like this: “That’s an interesting name. Where does it come from?” These are perfect questions to ask a person. Questions like these will not only increase your rapport with the person, but also cause you to pay more attention to the name in the first place. It’s the same thing with any information, and you can always ask questions about any information using this formula:
What is interesting about this?
Why is it like this?
How did it come to be this way?
What if it was different?
Remember: a great deal of what knowing how to remember things boils down to is noticing and paying attention to the target material. It also comes down to “rotating” the information in your mind by examining it from different angles.
Mention to Help Remember Things The author uses the word “mention” for the purposes of his acronym, but usually tips on memorizing names tell us to repeat the name we’ve just heard. Memory experts are actually divided on this point. Yes, it helps the name you want to remember sink into your memory. And yes, it tells the person that you’ve heard their name and that you care about knowing them. But it can still come off as rather corny. Still, I spend a lot of time in places where the language is not my native tongue, and have found repeating the names of people I meet to be an essential habit. Pronunciations of names vary widely, and there are often subtle sounds that people will gladly correct for you once they’ve heard you mispronounce their name. It’s only polite to make sure you can pronounce a person’s name right. Plus, pronunciation is one of the weakest points for me. I’m always working on improving it in my own memory improvement journey – largely due to being 80% deaf in my left ear. Even though it can be a bit corny to repeat the names of people you’ve just met, just do it. Taking that simple step when it comes to how to remember things like names is worth it in the end. Envision Here Bridger finally shows us how to bring it all together. Envisioning is simple. It’s the part of the mnemonic process where we take the visual characteristics of a face and associate the name of the person with some distinct feature. To use Bridger’s teaching, which seems pulled straight out of Harry Lorayne, let’s say I meet someone named Jacob and he has rather bird-like features. All I would need to do is imagine him having the face of a Blue Jay and then imagine him puffing on a corn cob pipe. (Jay + Cob = Jacob). Simple stuff. The only problem is … I don’t like doing it this way. I find that it makes me look at the person strangely later as I’m going through the recall process. I prefer seeing the images I create either behind the person, on their shoulder or above their head. That way, when recalling their name, I’m not looking all screwy eyed at them. The Missing Memory Step Plus, there’s a missing step when it comes to truly knowing how to remember things. “Envisioning” is one thing. Having a place to find what you envisioned quite another. That’s why I’ve had at times dedicated Memory Palaces just for names. If I meet a person named Jacob and see him as a Blue Jay smoking a corn cob pipe. But I don’t want to let the association just float around in the void. I want to Magnetize it somewhere. To do that, I put the Magnetic Imagery in a Memory Palace. Later, when I want to recall his name, the association will come much faster than it would have otherwise. Why? Because memory no longer needs to hunt for the association or “envisioned” information. When we associate without placing our associations somewhere, we often have an “uhhhhhhm” moment where we’re searching for the association we know that we’ve created. Plus, without a Memory Palace, we have no means of performing Recall Rehearsal. We will find the imagery in our Memory Palace later, but still have to reverse-engineer it in order to get the target material. If you want to know how to remember things, that’s the key: always locate your material somewhere and then use that Memory Palace to rehearse the information into long term memory
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