Memorization Techniques

Getting Started

  • Have an interest and desire to learn.
  • Give the material your full attention and concentration.
  • Set realistic study goals.
  • Study at times when you are most alert.
  • Use your prime time to study difficult material.
  • Take breaks during your study time.
  • Reward yourself for studying efforts.
  • Minimize distractions.
  • Put small blocks of time to good use.
  • Divide and conquer large projects.
  • Be selective about what you memorize.

Understand the Information

The preliminary work to any type of memorization is to work on understanding the information. The more you understand the information, the easier it is to memorize.

Organize the Information

  • An organized list of items is easier to recall than an unorganized list.
  • The simplest kind of organization is numbering. If you recall that there are 8 items on a list of information, your brain will keep searching until you recall all 8 items.
  • Another type of organization is classifying information into groups or categories. It is easier to memorize material that has been organized into a pattern rather than random information.

Make Connections and Associations

The more connections and associations you can make between new information and information already stored in your memory, the better the chance for recall. The more associations that surround a particular fact, the more retrieval cues you have to bring that fact to mind.

Visualize the Information

Create a visual picture of the material you wish to memorize. This can be done either on paper or in your mind. Tables, charts, maps, and graphs arrange information visually. Do not skip over them in your textbooks. Create visual study tools such as visual maps, hierarchies, matrixes, cartoons, pictures, and time lines. Create study tools for vocabulary such as flash cards and vocabulary sheets.

Use Story Lines

Create a story to include the list of words or ideas that you wish to memorize.

Use Mnemonic Aids to Memorize


A word formed by taking the first letter of key words in a list of items. The following are good examples of acronyms:

  • BASIC is an acronym for Beginner's All-Purpose Symbolic Instructional Code
  • HOMES in an acronym to memorize the names of the 5 Great Lakes - Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior.
  • FOIL is an acronym used in mathematics for multiplying binomials. F for firsts, O for outers, I for inners, and L for lasts.
  • ROYGBIV is an acronym used to memorize the colors as they come through the spectrum.
  • BAR is an acronym used to memorize the "big three" allies during World War II - Britain, America, and Russia.


A sentence formed by taking the first letter of key words in a list of items. The following are good examples of acrostics:

  • The sentence "A cow eats grass" can be used to memorize the spaces in the base clef for the left hand on the piano. The spaces are A C E G.
  • The sentence "Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally" can be used to memorize the order of operations in mathematics. The order of operations is parenthesis, exponents, multiplication and division (from left to right), and addition and subtraction (from left to right).
  • The sentence "King Philip can only find green snakes" can be used to memorize the hierarchy for the classification of organisms which is kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species.
  • Use rhythms, rhymes, and jingles. Formed by listening for words that rhyme or by attaching a catchy tune to a saying, i.e. the jingle to memorize the number of days in each month.

Rehearse to memorize

  • The actual work of memorizing is repeating information over and over until it is stored in our mind.
  • Recite the information to yourself out loud, from memory, and in your own words. Recitation is an important step in committing information to memory.


  • Create study sheets, summary sheets, and outlines for review.
  • Create questions and write down the answers to those questions.