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Use Your Best Mnemonics
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Do you have a list you have to remember quickly? Take the first letters and form an acronym. For example - you have to remember to send Fred, Lisa, Ethel and Andrew cards. Yes, their first initials form the word FLEA. Imagine itching (your head?) because you have a flea - you know the first letters of their names. Going to the supermarket? Bread, vinegar, ketchup, onions, tuna, olive oil- BVKOTO. Not too promising? Try rearranging them - you have TV BOOK. Think of a book jumping out of a Television and attacking you. Silly? Yes. But remember - the sillier the better, it will force it to stay in your head. Now you have all the letters. If you don't have enough letters to form a word - try to find one that comes close. PROMPT for PRMT, FAULT for FLT and so on. You already know the items you have to remember. What you are trying to do is create a reminder - once your memory is jogged, the words will come back. When you are devising the acronym, remember to picture the items visually in your head, visualization is a strong memory technique.
Forming A Story
If you have a longer list of seemingly unrelated items, that automatically becomes a good candidate for a story. For example:
Glass, Horn, Cat, Onion, Melon
These words may be unrelated, but that is the point - you can combine them easily with a story that will be outrageous enough, it will stay in you head - change the order if necessary - A cat is playing with a melon and all of a sudden it's repelled by the smell of an onion that was used to season the melon. The cat got all excited and ran away - racing through a glass window and landing inside a big French horn. It's silly and childish - but that's the point, it's silly enough to be remembered. Think the story through and the key words - cat - melon - onion - glass - horn - come to mind. Of course, it's unlikely that you'll ever have to remember a list of words such as this, but the point is not to be afraid to create the absurd. It works.
What if you have an extremely long list of items to remember? Try breaking it down into more suitable sub-chains and apply the same rules as above. Better still - see if you can organize the list better. Put similar or like items together. Are you able to form acronyms from any of the items? Can you separate the list in such a way that the acronyms form words and then you can combine these words? Remember, the more ridiculous the thought - the stronger the impact and the better it will stay in your memory. It helps if either the acronyms or the associations you create can form mental images. What you can see in your mind is very strong and the stronger something is, the better you can play with it and the easier it will be to remember. What may be difficult at first will come with practice.
Relate the Facts
If a piece of information doesn't relate to you, then try finding something about it that does. For example, the human body has 60,000 miles of blood vessels. Kind of hard to believe? Think that means ten round-trip drives between Los Angeles and New York and it will take on meaning. Do you have to remember the physical dimensions for a room or a field? Compare it to something you know already. If you're a sports fan, chances are you can picture the size of the playing field. How does that compare to the space you are trying to remember - bigger smaller, would it fit into a football field - how many times?
Learn how you can instantly start to remember more with greater accuracy. A better memory and more fulfilling life await you!
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