"I worked hard at memorizing lists of facts and figures, and carried with me a book of facts." ~ Charles Van Doren
Well, Charles Van Doren was lucky enough to be able to carry a book of facts with him, but not everybody is! Especially when it comes to memorizing long speeches, essays or complicated formulas for an exam, there is no way you can keep a book! The one and only way you have, is to MEMORIZE these things!!! Though it can be a little challenging and difficult, but how to improve memory is definitely not impossible! We are humans, and learning and memory improvement is what has evolved us from being apes to the present human form. Therefore, learning and memorizing is something that comes naturally to us. We started as kids by learning and remembering to say 'mom' and 'dad', we went to school, learned and memorized the alphabets from A to Z and numbers from 1 to 10, and more. Our capacity to memorize and learn new things grows along with us. Whenever you find it difficult to memorize something, always remember, it is something you have been doing all your life, so you WILL be able to do it successfully in future too!
How to Memorize Anything
Did you know that different people have different learning abilities? And it is based on these abilities that you can adapt techniques to improve your memory! Some are visual learners, some are auditory learners and some are tactile learners. An auditory learner is the one who finds it easier to memorize anything by merely listening to it for sometimes. On the other hand, there are some people who are visual learners which find it easier to memorize things by visualizing them. And then we have the tactile learners who find it easy to memorize things by acting or pretending to be it and understand each and every single detail of it. Based on this fact, there are different memorization techniques that can help you know how to memorize quickly and effectively! Therefore, the first is to identify which type of learner you are and then adapt the following techniques to improve your memory.
Effective Ways of Memorizing Anything
It is very important for you to focus on what you are about to memorize! Make the surroundings supportive by removing things or people that distract you, like your mobile phone, laptop, watch or any other thing that can distract your attention from memorizing. Consider this to be a war just between you and your memorizing material! It is often better to isolate yourself in a room with no distractions and enough light. However, there are different techniques to improve memory. These are discussed as under.
Break it into Parts
Breaking the material into smaller parts always helps in memorizing and co-relating at the same time. This can help you with memorizing long speeches or essays..., or anything for that matter! You can memorize the smaller parts easily as compared to the whole thing at once, so it's better to break it into parts and start one by one, part by part, and then co-relating the whole thing together.
Repeat and Recollect
This of all the memorizing techniques, works best for people who are auditory learners. This memorization trick requires constantly repeating the sentences or formulas again and again. Making yourself listen to it again and again will register the sequence in your memory. Therefore, try to repeat the sentence at least 5 times, concentrate and then try to recollect it without looking at the book. There is limit to the number of times you repeat yourself. Keep repeating and recollecting till it registers in your mind.
This trick works best for memorizing the sequence or points of some factual information. All you need to do is to form acronyms by taking the first letter of the sequence or group of words. An example for the same would be BODMAS, which is an acronym or an abbreviation of 'Bracket of Division Multiplication Addition and Subtraction'. Or LASER, which is an acronym for 'Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation'. I have used this technique to memorize points for my economics notes and it has really worked.
Form Sentences or Acrostics
This technique is very similar to the previous one. The only difference is, instead of forming words, you are forming sentences. This technique helped me in memorizing the order of planets when I was a kid. I always used to get confused in the order and then one day I was just asked to memorize this sentence, 'My Very Educated Mother Just Showed Us the Nine Planets'. How hard was that? Not at all, but then by memorizing this sentence I remember the sequence of the nine planets till this date, which was 'My for Mercury, Very for Venus, Educated for Earth, Mother for Mars, Just for Jupiter, Showed for Saturn, Us for Uranus, Nine for Neptune and Planets for Pluto'. Pluto is not a planet anymore, that's a different story!
Try Grouping Sometimes
The method of grouping helps in case of memorizing long sequence of numbers. An example for the same would be, suppose you want to memorize the number string 21462011. Instead of trying to memorize the whole number altogether, create chunks of these numbers which would be 21, 46, 2011. This way you would remember the numbers 21, which you always want your age to be, 46, which you would never want to be and 2011, which is the year we are looking forward to.
Visualizing and Organizing
This method is the mixture of visualizing, organizing and associating. Also known as the LOCI method, it was used by many orators in the ancient times to learn and memorize long and lengthy speeches. The application of this exercise requires a well-known common path that you will have to take every time you memorize. Start walking on that path, which may be a tour in your house, your garden or the nearby road. The most important thing is to be able to associate the words or material with the visual memory of the path that you walked and the objects you came across while you were memorizing. For example, take your first visual object to be the picture at the hall, second would be the door of your bedroom... and so on. Associating these landmarks to what you were learning while you crossed them will help you register the things in your memory. When it comes to memorizing lines, this technique proves to be very helpful!
Sing it Along!
This technique into transforming the sentences into songs and rhymes works best if you have difficulty concentrating! If you are into music, which most of us are, this technique will make all your learning difficulties disappear! Now you must be wondering how can you sing and memorize? Remember how we learned the alphabets, by singing the rhyme of A,B,C,D,E,F,G...H,I,J,K,L,M,N,O,P...! This technique works best for young students who struggle to memorize those complicated formulas of algebra! Converting these formulas into songs and singing rhymes helps in memorizing them more quickly!
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, it is human to err, and it is human to learn and to memorize. The basic foundation of our communication was by learning and memorizing a series of 26 alphabets, when we weren't even 4 years old. It's commitment, practicing, and application of these memorizing techniques that helps us learn and memorize things which are bigger and complicated. So apply these techniques and you will surely become a successful learner. All the best!