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9TypesofMnemonicsforBetterMemory

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9TypesofMnemonicsforBetterMemory

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ByDennisCongos,UniversityofCentralFlorida

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Mnemonicsarememorydevicesthathelplearnersrecalllargerpiecesofinformation,
especiallyintheformoflistslikecharacteristics,steps,stages,parts,phases,etc.Weknew
backin1967fromastudybyGeraldR.Millerthatmnemonicsincreasedrecall.Hefound
thatstudentswhoregularlyusedmnemonicdevicesincreasedtestscoresupto77%!

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Manytypesofmnemonicsexistandwhichtypeworksbestislimitedonlybythe
imaginationofeachindividuallearner.The9basictypesofmnemonicspresentedinthis
handoutincludeMusic,Name,Expression/Word,Model,Ode/Rhyme,NoteOrganization,Image,Connection,and
SpellingMnemonics.

1.MusicMnemonics
Howmanylyricstosongsdoyouremember?Howdidyoucometorememberthem?Thesamemethodyouusedto
recallsonglyricsalsocanworkjustaswellinacademics.Musiccanusedtohelpstudentsrecallimportantdetails
tomainideasandmanylearnershavemadesongsoutofinformationwhenalistofitemsmustbelearned.
AdvertisingonradioandTVusesmusictohelppotentialcustomersremembertheirproductswhenshopping.With
sufficientrepetitionofcommercials,advertisershavediscoveredthatwhenshoppersseetheirproductinthestores
thatoftentheshopperwillstartrecitingaoftrepeatedphrasesfromthecommercialorstartsingingthelyricstothe
promotionmelody.Theresultshasbeenincreasedsalesoftheproduct.

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Youcanmakeasongorjingleusinganytypeofmusicyouchooseforanylistofitems.MusicMnemonicswork
bestwithlonglists.Forexample,somechildrenlearntheABC'sbysingingthe"ABC"song.Otherchildrenlearn
allthestatesinalphabeticalorderusingthe"50NiftyUnitedStates"song.

2.NameMnemonics

InaNameMnemonic,the1stletterofeachwordinalistofitemsisusedtomakeanameofapersonorthing.
Sometimes,theitemscanberearrangedtoformamorerecollectablenamemnemonic.Examples:
ROYG.BIV=colorsofthespectrum(Red,Orange,Yellow,Green,Blue,Indigo,Violet.)
Pvt.TimHall=Essentialaminoacids(Phenylanine,Valine,Threonine,Tryptophan,Isolucine,Histidine,
Arginine,Leucine,Lysine.

3.ExpressionorWordMnemonic
Thisisbyfarthemostpopularlyusedmnemonic.TomakeanExpressionorWordmnemonic,thefirstletterof
eachiteminalistisarrangedtoformaphraseorword.Examples:
Forphysicallawsdealingwithgasses,trythese:
Charles'Law:Foraconstantvolume,pressureisdirectlyproportionaltotemperature.
ThesimplewaytorememberChuckisifthetank'stoohot,you'reblownintomuck.
Henry'sLaw:Thesolubilityofagasincreaseswithpressure.
ToremembergoodoldHank,rememberthebubblesintheshakenCokeyoudrank.
Boyles'Law:Atconstanttemperature,pressureisinverselyproportionaltovolume.
Boyle'slawisbestofallbecauseitpressesgassesawfullysmall.
InEnglish,the7coordinatingconjunctionsareFor,And,Nor,But,Or,Yet,So=FANBOYS.
TheorderofoperationsformathisParentheses,Exponents,Multiply,Divide,Add,andSubtract=PleaseExcuse
MyDearAuntSally.
ThecategoriesintheclassificationoflifeareKingdom,Phylum,Class,Order,Family,
Genus,Species,Variety=KingsPlayCardsOnFairlyGoodSoftVelvet.
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Forthosewhohavetoremembertheorderofcolorcodingonelectronicresistors:Black,Blue,Red,Orange,
Yellow,Green,Brown,Violet,Gray,White,Silver,Gold.
BadBoysRileOurYoungGirls,ButVioletGivesWelts(to)SillyGuys
or
BadBeerRotsOurYoungGutsButVodkaGoesWell(in)SilverGoblets.
Almosteveryanatomyclasshastoremembertheeightsmallbonesinthewrist:
Navicular,Lunate,Triquetrum,Pisiform,Multongular(Greater),Multongular
(Lesser),Capitate,Hamate.
NeverLickTilly'sPopsicle,MotherMightComeHome.
CreateanExpressionMnemonicforrememberingtheorderoftheplanetsfromthesunoutward:Mercury,Venus,
Earth,Mars,Jupiter,Saturn,Uranus,Neptune,andPluto.

4.ModelMnemonics
InaModelMnemonic,sometypeofrepresentationisconstructedtohelpwithunderstandingandrecalling
importantinformation.
Examplesincludeacircularsequencemodel,apyramidmodelofstages,apiechart,anda5boxsequence.Models
shouldbeusedinadditiontowordsandlistsbecausetheymakerecallattesttimemucheasier.Withalargemodel
suchastheKrebsCycle,itiseasiertolearnandrememberifitisdividedintoquartersandlearnedonequarterata
timehence,thecrosshairs.

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5.OdeorRhymeMnemonics
AnOdeorRhymeMnemonicputsinformationintheformofapoem.Examplesinclude:
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A
commonly
used
Rhyme
Mnemonic
forthe
numberof
daysineach
monthis:
30days
hath
September,April,June,andNovember.
Alltheresthave31
ExceptFebruarymydearson.
Ithas28andthatisfine
ButinLeapYearithas29.
You'dprobablypreferyourdoctortoknowthe
differencebetweencyanateandcyanide:Cyanate"I
ate"andCyanide"Idied."Cyanideisalittlefatal.
Rememberthisone?In1492,Columbussailedtheoceanblue.
Howisyourspelling?
Ibeforeeexceptafterc
orwhensoundinglikea
inneighborandweigh
Hereisaneasywaytorememberthenerves:olfactory,optic,oculomotor,trochlear,trigeminal,abducens,facial,
acoustic,glassopharyngeal,vagus,spinalaccessoryandhypoglossal.
OnOldOlympus'ToweringTops,AFinnAndGermanViewedSomeHops

6.NoteOrganizationMnemonics
Thewaytextbookandlecturenotesareorganizedcaninhibitlearningandrecallorpromoteit.Inthesensethatthe
organizationofnotescanpromoterecall,itisamemorydevice.Threeexamplesoforganizingnoteformatsthat
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promoterecallareasfollows:
Notecards
Notecardsareaneasywaytoorganizemainideasandrelevantdetailstoberecalled.Ifmainideasareformatted
intopossibletestquestions,notecardscangivelearnerspracticeinseeingquestionsandrecallinganswersasthey
mustdoonexams.

Front

Back

Outlines
Outlinesclearlyseparatemainideasfromdetails.Thishelpsorganizetheinformationinthemindmakingiteasier
toremember.

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I.PIAGET'STHEORY
A.FourStages
1.Sensorimotor
2.Preoperational
3.ConcreteOperations
4.FormalOperations
B.Definitionofeachstage
1.Sensorimotormeans........etc.
CornellSystem
TheCornellSystemisanotherwaytouseaNoteOrganizationMnemonictopromoterecall.Averticallineis
drawn3inchesfromtheleftmarginofnotebookpaper.Mainideasorquestionsfromthemareplacedtotheleftof
thelineanddetailsoranswersplacedtotheright.
QuestionsAnswers

ThetopicusedhereisfromHowToStudyInCollege(3rdedition)byWalterPauk,pages292300.
7.ImageMnemonics
TheinformationinanImageMnemonicisconstructedintheformofapicturethatpromotesrecallofinformation
whenyouneedit.ThesilliertheImageMnemonicis,theeasieritistorecalltherelatedinformation.These
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imagesmaybementalorsketchedintotextandlecturenotes.Don'tworryaboutyourartisticability.Aslongas
youknowwhatyoursketchmeans,ImageMnemonicswillhelpyoulearnandremember.Examples:

YoucanuseanImageMnemonictorememberBAT(thedepressantdrugs
mentionedaboveBarbiturates,Alcohol,andTranquilizers).Visualizeorsketchinyournotesalimp,depressed
batthattookBarbiturates,Alcohol,andTranquilizers.
PicturemeetingsomeonenewatapartynamedJohnHorsley.UseanImageMnemonictohelpyourememberhis
name.Visualizeahorsesittingonajohn:notprettybuteffectiveinrecall.Noexampleprovidedonthisone.
Whatisanumismatist?Visualizeanewmistrollingontoabeachfromtheoceanand
beachismadeofcoins.Silly?Ofcourse,butsillyographymakesitiseasiertoremember
thatanumismatistisacoincollector.
Howaboutusingabadjoketohelpyouremember?Picturetwonumismatistshavinga
drinkfor"olddime'ssake."Corny?Yes,butcornographyoftenmakesthingseasierto
remember.

8.ConnectionMnemonics
Inthistypeofmnemonic,theinformationtoberememberedisconnectedtosomethingalreadyknown.Examples
include:
Rememberingthedirectionoflongitudeandlatitudeiseasiertodowhenyourealizethatlinesonaglobethatrun
NorthandSoutharelongandthatcoincideswithLONGitude.AnotherConnectionMnemonicpointsoutthatthere
isanNinLONGitudeandanNinNorth.Latitudelinesmustruneasttowest,thenbecausethereisnoNin
latitude.

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AnotherConnectionMnemonicisrelatedtosound.The1stpartofthewordlatitudesoundslikeflatandflatruns

horizontalorEastandWest.

9.

SpellingMnemonics
Hereisanexampleofaspellingmnemonic:Aprincipalataschoolisyourpal,anda
principleyoubelieveorfollowisarule.
AnothercommonlyusedSpellingMnemoniciscombinedwithanOde/RhymeMnemonic.

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Ibeforeeexceptafterc
orwhensoundinglikea
inneighborandweigh
Athirdexampledealswiththeproblemssomelearnershaverememberingthatthereisan"a"inthemiddleof
separateandnotan"e."ASpellingMnemoniccombinedwithanImageMnemonicmaybeusedtospelltheword
seprateusinganexaggerated"a."
TospellMississippi,manylearnerscombineaRhythmMnemonicwithaSpellingmnemonic:Mississippi.
Herearesomemoreexamplesofspellingmnemonics:
Geography:GeorgeEdwards'sOldGrandmaRodeAPigHomeYesterday.
Arithmetic:ARatInTheHouseMayEatTheIceCream.
Saskatchewan:AskAtChewAnwithanSinfrontofit.
Takethe1stletterofeachtypeofmnemoniclistedaboveandprintthembelowonthe
linetohelpyourememberthe9types.

HaveaMnemonicsParty
Wanna'Practice?Youbecomebetteratthatwhichyoupractice.Ifyoupracticenotmaking
mnemonics
Getsomeclassmatesorfriendstogetherandpracticemakingmnemonicsusingthelistsprovidedbelow.Ninetimesoutof
10everyonegetsasideachefromlaughingsohardbeforetheexercisebelowisfinished.
Usingtheitemsbelow,deviseamnemonicforrememberingeachpieceofinformation.Useanyofthe9typesof
mnemonicsasaguideorcombineanyofthetypes.Trymakingamnemonicwithoutchangingtheorderandthenafew
whereyoureorganizetheitemstofityourmnemonic.

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1.9characteristicsthatfacilitatelearningOpenmindedness,selfawareness,tolerance,alertmind,energy,ability
tosetgoals,willingnesstotakerisks,selfdiscipline,andthecapacitytovalue,accept,andundergochange.
__________________________________________________________________________
2.OrderoftheplanetsfromthesunoutMercury,Venus,Earth,Mars,Jupiter,Saturn,Uranus,NeptunePluto
_________________________________________________________________________
3.GoingshoppingEggs,milk,onions,butter,cucumbers,lettuce,Tide
__________________________________________________________________________
4.Blooms7levelsofthinkingabilityrecall,translation,interpretation,application,analysis,synthesis,
evaluation
__________________________________________________________________________
5.TheroyalhousesonEnglandNorman,Plantagenet,Lancaster,York,Tudor,Stuart,Hanover,Windsor
__________________________________________________________________________
6.Body'sexcretoryorgansLiver,kidneys,skin,lungs,intestines
__________________________________________________________________________
7.ReasonswhyrecitingnotesaloudincreasesmemoryGetsyouinvolved,providesfeedbackonwhatyouknow,
suppliesmotivation,usesmanysensesinlearning,andpromotesconcentration.
__________________________________________________________________________
8.6typesofmachineslever,inclinedplane,axleandwheel,jackscrew,pulley,&gear.
__________________________________________________________________________
9.6waystopurifywatersettling,filtration,coagulation,chlorination,aeration,boiling.
__________________________________________________________________________
10.Factorsthataffectwaterevaporationtemperature,areaexposed,wind,andhumidity.
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__________________________________________________________________________
11.Howsoilfertilityisrestoredrotatingcrops,addingfertilizer,restingthesoil,sweeteningthesoil,drainingand
irrigating,undoingdamagedorpollutedsoil.
__________________________________________________________________________
12.Majorfeaturesofsoleproprietorshipeasytostart,canmakedecisionsquickly,nobosses,profitsarenot
shared,lossesarenotshared,andborrowingislimited.
__________________________________________________________________________
13.Fourtypesofchemicalreactionssynthesis,decomposition,singlereplacement,anddoublereplacement.
__________________________________________________________________________
14.Basicstepsinthescientificmethodstatetheproblem,gatherinformationontheproblem,formhypothesis,
experimenttotesthypothesis,recorddata,analyzedate,anddrawconclusions.
__________________________________________________________________________
15.Generalpropertiesofmattermass,weight,volume,anddensity.
__________________________________________________________________________
16.Fivepartsofadeciduousforestupperstratum,lowertreestratum,shrublayer,groundlayer,soillayer.
__________________________________________________________________________
17.FourOceanzonesintertidal,nearshore,edgeofcontinentalshelf,perpetualdarkness
__________________________________________________________________________
Youareonlylimitedbytherestrictionsthatyouplaceonyourowncreativity.

Questionsorcomments?Contacttheauthoratdcongos@mail.ucf.edu.
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