Top 8 Mnemonic Devices for Studying

Studying is not just one task. In fact, it’s a series of interconnected activities aimed at understanding and memorizing information. Put like that, studying sounds terrifying, but it does not have to be. Here are several unorthodox tools to help you with this daunting endeavor.

1) Visualization

No, I don’t mean the sketchy self-development techniques. Before it got hijacked by pseudo-psychologists, it referred to the ability to translate highly abstract concepts into pictures. While absolutely necessary in subjects like geometry and architecture, it also works for computer science, language learning, and even philosophy.

2) Interlinking

People’s minds tend to create connections even when there are none. That’s why conspiracy theories exist. This natural propensity is an easy to use study technique. When trying to memorize a sequence of notions, pick two arbitrary ones and find out how they are linked. Utilize others in the process.

3) Diagram

This technique is related to visualization, but instead of constructing pictures in your mind, just draw them out. Manual activity and visual representation will let you memorize things quicker and force you to regard them in more detail.

4) Acronyms

Yes, acronyms are a little silly. No, they are far from useless. They’ve been used as mnemonic devices since the times of Ancient Greece. Some are universal like HOMES or PEMDAS, but I encourage you to make up new ones that would work for you specifically.

5) Hit and Miss

Most people usually know more than they suspect. This method recommends you to start every study session be glancing through your chapter and only paying attention to things that are new. For example, if you need to read an article on communism, you’ve probably heard and even learned about it before. Look for new information presented in the text, such as names and dates, and skip the rest.

6) Anthropomorphize

Here, you’ll be using a brains natural inclination once again. People tend to see faces and human characteristics in inanimate objects. We’ve all heard about ladies seeing Jesus in their toasts. You can use this to your advantage by anthropomorphizing more complex abstract concepts.

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7) Brainstorming

This helps if you need to complete a project or deal with an especially tricky exercise. Sit down and write down every single idea connected to the issue at hand. It doesn’t matter if ideas seam inappropriate or stupid. You can eliminate them afterwards. Interestingly, some people find that this technique works better if done by a group instead of an individual.

8) The Preschooler Rule

If you have to memorize convoluted ideas, try to imagine that you need to explain them to a five year old. That will lead you to eliminate all the extra information and remember the core of the concept.

These techniques might appear funny at first, but they are really useful. Remember Sherlock with his “brain attic”? Try some new ways of learning and you’ll be surprised at how much your brain is really capable of.


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