In December 2011, Wang Feng won the World Memory Championships 2011 for the second time. He memorized a random series of 2660 numbers in an hour, breaking a world record. Wouldn’t it be awesome to borrow his brain for at least 48 hours leading up to your exams? Lists, sequences, numbers, and new terms are some of the biggest enemies of your cram session. Here’s a few smart techniques to tackle them instead of highlighting and reading them over and over again:
1. Connect & Link (The Link Method)
As the name suggests, this method involves creating associations between items in a list and assigning images to each connection to help you memorize better. For instance, your accounting exam is tomorrow and you need to memorize which items fall under the Current Asset section of a balance sheet (Cash, Inventories, Accounts receivable, Prepaid expenses). You can create associations as below:
- I currently don’t have any cash to buy any inventory
- To buy the inventory, I shall collect my “accounts receivable” that my friends owe me
- If I collect the accounts receivable, it should be enough because I already have prepaid expenses from last year to count towards the purchase
Photo Credit: dskley
2. Make a Story (The Story Method)
This approach is really similar to the Link Method. While you create a bunch of different images between each two items using the Link Method, you combine everything into one big picture with the Story Method. This helps you remember the sequence of the images and hence the order of the items. Using the accounting example, it would look like this:
I currently don’t have any cash to buy any inventory. Maybe I should collect my “accounts receivable” that my friends owe me. After I get my money back, it should be enough because I already have prepaid expenses from last year to count towards the purchase.
Photo Credit: qmnonic
3. Associate Objects with Familiar Locations (The Loci Method)
You can use this method by associating terms or list items with familiar locations. Let’s say, for your Greek myth exam, you have to memorize a list of symbols of each of the Olympian deities. Take Aphrodite’s symbols/characteristics for example: Eros/winged cupid, myrrh tree, apple tree, and goose.
First, pick a place that you’re very familiar with, say your house. Imagine that you walk into your front yard, and find a winged cupid sitting perched on top of a ginormous myrrh tree. As you enter the house and into the kitchen, you see a five-feet-tall goose devouring your dinner leftovers from the fridge. Aghast, you run out of the kitchen into the living room, only to find that an apple tree is planted in the middle of it, and apples strewn all over your couch…
Get the idea right? Make these images as absurd, comical, sensory (e.g. can incorporate sounds, smells, tastes), and vivid as possible for best results. This is a centuries-old method started by ancient Romans and is still used today by many World Memory Champions.
Photo Credit: smartfat
4. Peg Objects to a Number (The Peg System)
This is useful for memorizing lists in a particular order. There are two steps:
Step 1 requires you to memorize words that are easy to associate with numbers (e.g. 1 to 5). You can use words that rhyme with the number, or shapes that resemble the number. For example:
- 1 – sun or bun
- 2 – zoo
- 3 – free
- 4 – more
- 5 – hive…
Once this peglist is memorized, you can now associate the words with the list of objects you need to memorize. For example, you need to memorize the five successive stages of history as identified by Marx and Engel: Primitive Communism, Slave Society, Feudalism, Capitalism, Socialism
- 1 – In the primitive times only a little after the sun was created, people shared their buns (food) in a communal setting.
- 2 – Slaves were treated worse than animals in the zoo
- 3- It was not free to become a feudal lord. The price was to own some land.
- 4 – Those capitalist pigs want more and more money!
- 5 – Bees are social insects, so they live together in a hive.
If you need to know what the fourth stage on the list was, all you need to remember is ‘more’, and then you’ll remember ‘capitalism’. Another advantage to this method is that once you memorize the peglist, you can use it repeatedly for other lists.
Photo credit: onegoodbumblebee
5. Draw a Mind Map
For memorizing any structured concepts or information, mind maps works well by laying out the structure and making the flow of information more clear. If you are struggling in memorizing the whole decision making process in the correct order for the short answer section on your upcoming Psychology exam, or anything similar, you should try this out!
Photo credit: mythoughtsformac
Some of these techniques may work for you, and some may not. Next time you have to regurgitate a textbook for an exam, try these out! Stay tuned for more helpful study tips from Notesolution.
By the way, 95% of university students improved their grades after using Notesolution for course notes and study contents. Click here to study smarter
Latest posts by Sung Ryu (see all)
- Notesolution “Gives Wings” to 5000 Students Across Canada - 01/06/2013
- Tips to Save Money on Your Textbooks This Semester - 01/01/2013
- 5 Tips for Finding Scholarships - 10/07/2012