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Proven Strategies to Memorize Efficiently


Study Skills & Tools All Ages Strategy


Auditory Processing Working Memory Verbal Memory Visual Memory

Proven Strategies to Memorize Efficiently

If your student needs strategies to memorize more efficiently and effectively

Teach It!

  1. Objective: Students will learn and apply effective memorization strategies that work for them when memorizing learning material and studying for tests.
  2. Teacher Takeaways: Teach and model for students a variety of memorization techniques (next slides). Students should not expect to use all the strategies. Expose them to a few strategies so you are sure they are using strategies that are proven to work and that they find a few that are a good fit with their needs and preferences. Students might find that a strategy is good in one subject but a different strategy would be better for another subject or lesson so exposure to multiple strategies is important.

*print* Guide: Memorization Techniques

  1. Note that these strategies are often better for students whose verbal memory is stronger than their visual memory
  2. Spaced Repetition: Cramming is ineffective for long-term retention but spacing out your studying over days is VERY effective. If you have 60 minutes to spend studying, it is almost always better to study 15 minutes a day over 4 days rather than 60 minutes the night before. Best for students with weaker verbal or visual memory.
  3. Elaborative Rehearsal: Associate new information with prior knowledge rather than just trying to memorize definitions, words, dates, etc. This is especially effective if you have a solid understanding in the subject. Best for students with stronger reasoning skills.
  4. Mnemonic Devices: These are single words or acronyms that help you remember longer lists of information. If you remember the acronym then you have the first letter of each item you need to know to get you started.
  5. Chunking: This common technique is also known as pairing, clustering, or grouping. Rather than trying to review everything at once, break down material in small chunks. Learn one manageable new chunk at a time. Best for students with weaker working memory, attention or anxiety.
  6. Restate in your Own Words:If you use your own words you are more likely to remember the information and you know you really understand it. Best for students with stronger verbal reasoning.
  7. Retrieval: Use flashcards or make a quiz for yourself so you are recalling the information rather than simply re-reading it. If you can retrieve the information you know it is committed to long-term memory.

*print* Guide: Multi-modal Memorization Techniques

  1. Note that these strategies are often better for students whose visual memory is stronger than their verbal memory
  2. Multi-Modal Reinforcement: Don't just read the information. Speak it. View a picture of it. Touch an object that reminds you of it. The more senses you use the more likely you will recall it. Best for students with weaker verbal memory.
  3. Repetition and rhythm: Repeating information to a steady rhythm, putting the information to a tune, or creating rhymes makes it easier to remember. Best for students who enjoy music or have stronger verbal memory.
  4. Draw it or act it out: These multi-sensory techniques are fun and are more effective in helping you remember than just by reading or speaking to yourself. Best for students with weaker attention or verbal memory or strong visual memory.
  5. Say it Out Loud: Repeating and hearing information helps you remember it. Best for students with weaker verbal memory.
  6. Play Catch: Combing physical activities with memorizing helps reinforce the material and can keep you focused. Best for students with weaker attention.
  7. Mental Imagery: You don't always need to draw a picture. Create a mental image of what you read or an abstract concept. The more details in your mental image, the more likely you are to remember.
  8. Method of the Loci: Stories are an effective way to remember details. This technique encourages you to tell a story, associating what you need to memorize with familiar locations. Best for students with stronger visual memory or visual reasoning.
  9. Graphic Organizers/Visual Timelines: These tools help you remember sequential or related information through visualizations and associations. Best for students with stronger reasoning.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

You need to have automaticity with certain information in every subject. It is important to find the most efficient strategies that work for you based on your strengths, needs and interests. The strategies above are all found to be far more effective than other techniques such as re-reading the textbook, reviewing notes, or cramming the night before.