Remember More: 7 Types of Mnemonic Devices
Mnemonic devices are techniques that allow you to memorise everything you need fast and later on, recall it offhand.
The best part about the different types of mnemonic devices is that they come naturally, almost effortlessly, to everyone. Actually, you may be using different types of mnemonic devices in your everyday life without even being aware you do.
The Method of Loci
This is one of the oldest types of mnemonic devices. Dating back to Ancient times, it’s also known as “the journey method” or the "memory palace method".
Well, to practice the Method of Loci, you have to imagine an already familiar location that you’ll “journey” throughout and often times, that location is a house.
Close your eyes and imagine a familiar location – let’s say, the house you grew up in. Now, start walking around the rooms and associate pieces of new information you’re trying to memorize with familiar objects or locations.
This can be applied for the most basic of things. For example – your grocery shopping list! The vase in the hall can be eggs, the mirror can be milk, the flowers can be vegetables and so on.
Then, when you’re trying to recall a certain information, simply talk a walk through your memory palace. There – everything’s there, right where you “placed it”!
An acronym is a word formed from the first letters of a group of words. Actually, one of the types of mnemonic devices best known to students is this because it’s easy to remember and fun!
The goal here is to use – or create – words or sentences that will help you remember whatever you need to remember faster.
For example, FANBOYS – the 7 coordinating conjunctions in English.
For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So = FANBOYS
You can also do the same to remember the order of operations in math with this popular sentence – Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.
Parentheses, Exponents, Multiply, Divide, Add, and Subtract = Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.
Easy and fun – and quite unforgettable, right?
Musical mnemonic devices
You know how you often remember song lyrics without even trying? You’re capable of using music to boost your memory skills. Use that to your advantage!
You can apply the same when learning something new and trying to remember it as fast as possible. Simply sing it as a song!
You can use the rhythm of an already familiar song or pick your own jingle – or even come up with a whole song. Then repeat it – or sing it – as many times aloud until you’re comfortable with your knowledge.
Did you always wonder how school teachers manage to remember all names? They probably had a few tricks up their sleeve – imagery being one of them!
Imagery works by associating new information with old knowledge using visual clues.
For example, let’s say someone’s name is Harry. Harry wears glasses and has thick, dark hair. Does Harry remind you of Harry Potter? Well, now you’ll never forget what his name is!
That girl Sally who’s always smiling? She could be Smiling Sally!
This mnemonic device is particularly useful if you have to remember a lot of names at once – think large classes, meetings, and networking events.
The rhyme mnemonics is also one of the most widely used types of mnemonic devices. There’s not much to it – you memorize things by using rhyme.
One of the most popular rhyme mnemonics is this – you probably remember it yourself.
30 days hath September, April, June, and November.
All the rest have 31
Except February my dear son.
It has 28 and that is fine
But in Leap Year it has 29.
The best part about rhyme mnemonics is that they stick long term – there’s literally no way you can forget them!
The keyword method is one of the easiest types of mnemonic devices – and the secret to why it works so well maybe its simplicity.
The keyword method helps you memorize the meaning behind words quickly by associating the pronunciation of a word with an image. This method may be especially helpful when learning new vocabulary or a foreign language!
If you’re a student trying to memorize the meaning of the word aplomb – meaning composure under strain or in other words, staying cool – you’ll notice it sounds similar to a plum.
Then, imagine a plum left in the fridge, being left in the cool. Next time you see the word aplomb, you’ll know what it means right away!
Chunking information together
Have you noticed how phone numbers are always chunked into groups?
That’s because you couldn’t possibly remember a 9 or a 10-digit number – the human brain can't handle that much information at once! However, if you chunk it into smaller pieces of information, things change.
For example, if you were to remember this (a totally random mix of numbers): 5672789504 you’d probably struggle a lot.
But chunk it likes this: 567 2789 504 and voila! It instantly feels easier to remember!
Which of these types of mnemonic devices have you used? Which ones are you planning on giving a try?