Useful Memory Techniques

Wouldn’t it be great to have a photographic memory? You could recall every single image, every single event you’ve ever seen or had happened to you. What you may not realize is that we all have photographic memories. Our brains never forget a thing. But some people just have an easier time of recollecting some of those memories than others, but it is possible to “hack” and “trick” your brain into remembering. Here are just a few of them.

1. Remember a long string of information into lists

Three is a good number to start out with. Say you need to remember someone’s phone number, what do you do? You can write it down on a sheet of paper, or maybe you don’t have a pen, maybe you just want to look impressive. Don’t frantically try and memorize the entire string of digits at once, you won’t recall anything but the first few letters if you do that. Instead, break the information into “chunks,” and the more information there is, the more chunks you break it into.

For example, take the phone number 800-630-9013. What do you do? Break it into chunks. Repeat to yourself the first three digits, then the second three digits, and then the last digits over and over again until you can remember it easily.

You could use this for many things, like memorizing the nations of the world or the name of the states in the United States.

2. Use mnemonic devices

Mnemonic devices are especially popular among medical students. The most common device uses a simple word that stands for a much larger list of information. For example, say you want to remember the names of the great lakes. You can go and memorize all the names by themselves, or you can make a mnemonic device. How about the word homes? H-O-M-E-S. Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior. Now isn’t that a lot easier?

3. Link the information to a picture

It is much easier to something if you can picture it in your head. Imagine the word or phrase you want to remember as a picture. Don’t just remember the word “apples” if you want to buy some apples at the grocery store, imagine an entire bushel of apples that you’re holding while at the checkout line of the grocery store. You’ll remember to buy apples much easier this way.

4. Associate

Things that are familiar to you are a lot easier to remember than things that are not. So make the unfamiliar things familiar. How can you do this? By the process of association. Link an unfamiliar thing with a familiar thing. There are a lot of easy ways to do this. Say you want to remember the name of a US president, Abraham Lincoln and that he was the 16th president of the United States. Why not imagine Abraham Lincoln sitting on the 16th step on the stairs of your own home? Paint a large and conspicuous 16 on the step if you’d like, in your mind of course.

These few tips can get you through a lot of trouble in real life.


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