Many of us use mnemonic devices without even realizing it. This is in part because mnemonic devices can be an extremely helpful tool when attempting to make information more relatable and interesting, and therefore easier to memorize. If you’re wondering which mnemonic devices work best for your learning style, here are several that you can try that suit visual, auditory, verbal, and kinesthetic learners. Here are tips to help you figure out your best study style.
As a visual learner, you’re likely to best remember concepts by connecting them with mental images. You can do this by physically drawing a picture, or imagining a scene that you can associate with a key fact. If you’re sketching an image, try doing so in the notebook where you take lecture notes. These tips may help you organize your notes.
You can also create a 2D or 3D model to help you recall information. Use pie charts and pyramids, for example, to divide information into more manageable parts. Lastly, experiment with the Method of Loci. This involves picturing a place that you are familiar with, like the route to school from home, or the rooms in your house. Then match words or concepts with landmarks along the route or rooms in the house. If you practice often enough, you will be able to recall the associated concept when you think of each part of the route or the house.
If you are an auditory learner, consider using songs and lyrics to help you remember important information. Write a song or jingle using the information you would like to memorize. Use melodies from your childhood, as they are easy to improvise to.
You may even be able to find existing songs, jingles, or rhymes related to your topic online. If you are the musical type, consider posting the song online – with or without video – so others can benefit from it, too.
If you are a learner who tends toward reading and writing, you will be able to utilize many different mnemonic devices. Acronyms, in which the first letter of each item in a list are arranged to make an easy-to-remember word, are very popular. Some common ones are Roy G. Biv for the colors of the spectrum; the order of operations as PEMDAS (Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally); and the method of multiplying two binomials, FOIL (First Outer Inner Last). There are other sayings like, “I before e, except after c,” or, “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” Use alliteration to make your own – for example, “Memorial Day is in May; Labor Day happens later in the year.” You can even think of these mnemonic devices as acrostic poems!
As a kinesthetic learner, these devices might not seem as intuitive to you. You learn through doing, so science experiments, sports, and acting may make more sense to you. However, you can still use mnemonic devices by translating them into physical movement. Trace them with your finger, rewrite them, or re-type them. Use physical flashcards – the act of writing these flashcards and flipping them front-to-back may be very helpful.
Regardless of your learning style, you should be able to use some sort of mnemonic device. By trying one or more of the mnemonic devices listed above, you will likely stumble across a method that works for your learning style and can be adapted to different subjects and courses. If you are stuggling with your test prep consider contacting a test prep tutor to help you better grasp your best mnemonic device.