How to Memorize Effectively

How to Memorize Efficiently 

Do you ever need to cram and memorize vocabulary right before class or memorize history facts quickly before the test? Well, this guide will help you memorize in a timely manner rather than simply spending time staring at the information.

1.) Look for Patterns and Associations

When memorizing vocabulary, “associate [them] with synonyms you already know” says Saieesh Rao ’12, a member of the IMSA scholastic bowl team.

2.) Flashcards

Flashcards are a very classic way to memorize vocabulary, structures, and more, especially for visual learners. Test yourself in both ways (meaning -> definition and definition -> meaning). Often times this is very useful for short-term memory.

3.) Writing

“Write stuff down, just the act of writing it down will help you remember” – says an anonymous Princeton graduate.

Writing something down will allow you to associate whatever you are memorizing with the act of writing, thus causing your brain to commit it to memory.

Some people commit things to memory by writing them  repeatedly . In some things, such as amino acid structures for biochemistry, “repetition, repetition, repetition” says Saieesh Rao. Similar to practicing an instrument, one memorizes a piece after playing it many times.

4.) Make a story

Make a story with a series of words or facts to associate individual or collective concepts. This allows for easier association and, as a result, more efficient memorization.

5.) Catchy tunes

Do you remember the Luna phone number? (773-202-LUNA) Or the lyrics to Call Me Maybe? Attempt to adapt concepts into lyrics that fit a catchy, easy to memorize tune.

Current Examples: The ABC song is sung to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. The Quadratic Formula is sung to “Pop goes the weasel.”

6.) Do not waste time

If you are pressed for time and need to memorize something right before a class, try to get through as much material as you can and do not dwell on writing things down all the time.

“I usually review [things] within 30 minutes […] I write down as little as possible so I can get through more information more quickly.” – Zi-Ning Choo ’12.

While memorization may be necessary under certain circumstances, remember that understanding trumps memorization in every subject!


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About the Author

Mack Lee
I am the section editor for the DiY/Guides section. I am from Long Grove and previously attended Adlai E. Stevenson High School. Currently, I am a junior who participates in Basketball, Writing Center, Math Team, and is a wing guide in 1504A. My room number is A26 if you want to find me. Feel free to contact me if you would like to write for this section or have any comments. I love computers and I play the violin at Midwest Young Artists. I hope you enjoy the DiY/Guides section!

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