The following techniques use associations with letters,
images, maps, etc to help you remember. As you proceed
through this list of techniques, try to think of strategies
that would be useful to you! Some people use letters,
some images, some songs. Each depends on how comfortable
you are with, or how useful they are to, your way of
An acronym is an invented combination of letters. Each
letter is a cue to, or suggests, an item you need to
- PEMDAS, sequence in solving or evaluating math
Parenthesis | Exponents | Multiplication | Division
| Addition | Subtraction
- ROY G. BIV, the colors of the visible spectrum Red,
Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet
- IPMAT, the stages of cell division
Interphase, Prophase, Metaphase, Anaphase, Telephase
acrostic is an invented sentence or
poem with a first letter cue: The first letter of each
word is a cue to an idea you need to remember.
- Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally (PEMDAS, above)
Sequence in solving or evaluating math equations Parenthesis
| Exponents | Multiplication | Division | Addition
- Every Good Boy Deserves Fun An acrostic for remembering
a sequence of musical notes (G-clef notes on sheet
music)--E, G, B, D, F
(for ordered or unordered lists). First, memorize key
words that can be associated with numbers.
- Example: bun = one; shoe = two, tree = three, door
= four, hive = five, etc.
Create an image of the items you need to remember
with key words.
- Four basic food groups-- diary products; meat, fish,
and poultry; grains; and fruit and vegetables. Think
of cheese on a bun (one), livestock with shoes on
(two), a sack of grain suspended in a tree (three),
a door to a room stocked with fruits and vegetables
Method of Loci: (for approximately
twenty items). Select any location that you have spent
a lot of time in and know well. Good for kinesthetic
- Imagine yourself walking through the location, selecting
clearly defined places--the door, sofa, refrigerator,
shelf, etc. Imagine yourself putting objects that
you need to remember into each of these places by
walking through this location in a direct path.
- Again, you need a standard direct path and clearly
defined locations for objects to facilitate the retrieval
of these objects.
- George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Richard
Nixon, you could imagine walking up to the door of
your location and seeing a dollar bill stuck in the
door; when you open the door Jefferson is reclining
on the sofa and Nixon is eating out of the refrigerator.
Keyword Method: (for
foreign language vocabulary). First, after considering
the foreign word you need to remember, select a key word
in English that sounds like the foreign word.
Next, imagine an image which involves the key word with
the English meaning of the foreign word.
- For example, consider the Spanish word "cabina"
which means "phone booth." For the English
keyword, you might think of "cab in a ... ."
You could then invent an image of a cab trying to
fit in a phone booth. When you see the word "cabina"
on the test, you should be able to recall the image
of the cab and you should be able to retrieve the
definition "phone booth."
Image-Name Technique: (for remembering
names). Simply invent any relationship between the name
and the physical characteristics of the person.
- For example, if you had to remember Shirley Temple's
name, you might ingrain the name in memory by noticing
that she has "curly" (rhymes with Shirley)
hair around her temples.
(for ordered or unordered lists). Create a story where
each word or idea you have to remember cues the next idea
you need to recall.
- If you had to remember the words Napoleon, ear,
door, and Germany, you could invent a story of Napoleon
with his ear to a door listening to people speak in