Mnemonics can be an excellent way to help your revision. Whether you’re breaking down complicated lists using rhymes and numbers, of if you need to create a useful acrostic to remember a set of symptoms or scientific ideas, mnemonics work as a memory aid that can allow you to take a different approach to your revision – having a few mnemonics prepared for a test can allow you remember important information under pressure, and with practice can be used with different subjects.
Rhyming mnemonics with numbers can work best when you use distinctive or funny images, and then make their words rhyme with what you need to remember. In this context, if you were revising the names of Greek philosophers, you’d start off by counting from 1 to 10, and putting a rhyming image next to each number – 1 could be a bun, 3 a tree, and 10 a hen; from here, you can then match up the rhyming word with a name – for example, the philosopher could be 10. The egg gets mixed with an epileptic’s cure, making ‘e’ for egg with epileptic and cure.
Alternatively, you can use mnemonics where the first letter of each word in a list spells out a memorable or funny phrase. For example, Happy Henry Likes Beer But Could Not Obtain Four Nuts could be used to make a list of the first ten letters of the periodic table – Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, Beryllium, Boron, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Fluorine, and Neon. Numbers and rhymes can also be a good idea if you want to use anything from animals to shapes, with the list and the rhyme making it easier to create connections and associations with the information that you want to learn.
To return to numbers and rhyming shapes, you might want to associate each number with an object shaped like it; this might involve 1 being a stick, 4 being a yacht sail, or 9 a balloon, and 10 a hole. When making the link to a name, in this case a list of philosophers, Darwin might be remembered by using the 9 as a balloon being blown far by wind. Or you could remember Marx through the number 10 as a golf hole with marks around its edges.
Mnemonics where every word makes up a sentence also works well for remembering a sequence of important points for an essay. For example, Red Violent Parrots Love Me could be used when revising politics, with each word reminding you of representation, verdict, policies, leaders, and mandate if you’re trying to describe the processes of an election. Generally speaking, the more outrageous or memorable the image the better – with a language, however, you could just make a simple soundalike image the verb ‘estar’ can be linked to a star.
Other approaches to remembering important information using mnemonics and memory techniques might involve creating a mind map; this involves visualizing a walk or a drive you take regularly, which might be to school or college, or into town. Along the route, associate images and words with objects – a lamp post might have a picture hanging from it, or there may be a billboard with information on it.
A good example might be the wives of Henry VIII – Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr can be memorized by their appearance or extra image – Anne Boleyn may be carrying a bow, Catherine Parr a parrot, and then placed in order along the route doing different things. This might involve seeing them driving a car, putting up signs, or having an argument. When used in this way, mnemonics can be very effective for remembering information.
About the Author:
RP is an avid advocate of education and ways of making it approachable to different people. Everyone learns differently and finding the most appropriate way to achieve the best results is by far in a way the best option if it’s open to you!