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Memory Lane sign

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[wc_testimonial by=”” url=”” position=”left”]Memory Techniques[/wc_testimonial]

1. Mnemonic Acronyms

Suppose on an exam you are required to recall each of the cities Paul writes to on this map, and where they are located.

map of Paul's journey

Make a short phrase using the first letter of each city from left to right.

Call                                      Corinth
The                                      Thessalonica
Police,                                  Philippi
Elmo’s                                  Ephesus
Coming                                Colossae

police on phone

elmo walking






Make a mental picture of your mnemonic device, the stranger the better.  When you get to the exam, you will be able to recall the strange story you made up and therefore have the location and starting letter of each city Paul wrote to.  For longer lists, try putting your acronym to a tune that is easy to remember, such as  “Old McDonald.”

Your brain will remember things that are uncommon and not habitual.  Think about it: try to remember what you had for breakfast this morning.

breakfast plate
Can you remember your breakfast meal?
i dont know reaction
It took longer than you expected, right?

For most, it is not easy to quickly come up with that information because it is all part of a daily routine.  The brain has automated this task; therefore, it does not require extra power to remember.

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2. Mind Palace

This technique plays off of something you already know very well—your house.

house from street
Picture your house











Suppose you are tasked in an education course to recall in order the elements of Bloom’s Taxonomy, a way to classify what type of learning is happening in the classroom.  Traditionally, they are identified top to bottom as the following:

Bloom’s Taxonomy

blueprint of the path you walk in your house
Your normal path through your house will help you remember information

Using your precise knowledge of your house’s layout, we will be able to remember each element using these two steps:

1. Visualize the moment you arrive at your house and the path you typically take walking to each room.  This will solidify the order to recall.

2. Each room will contain an “object” that will trigger your memory of each element to recall. Remember, the stranger the imagery, the better you’ll be able to recall it.


    • Evaluation – As you exit your car, you see a judge with colonial hair sitting quietly on your porch chair.  As you walk past, you notice he’s sending an electronic valentine on his laptop. (Both the image of the judge, and the “E-val” should help you trigger the term).
    • Synthesis – You quickly turn left inside to your living room to notice your favorite house cactus is turning brown.  The cactus is pouring water on itself, but it needs to be closer to the window for more sunlight.  (Photosynthesis is missing, so the plant is dying despite it having plenty of water).
    • Analysis – When you enter the dining room, your sister is at the table inspecting a paper with a magnifying glass.  She proceeds to tell you a story about how much smarter she is, but her nose keeps growing as she tells more lies.  (Using the combination of the magnifying glass to analyze, along with “sis,” and “lies/lyze”).
    • Application – The next room you always visit is the kitchen.  Your brother has dropped a bucket of apples, and they are covering the entire floor.  He is busy using an app on his phone, and he doesn’t seem to care about the mess.  (Apples, and “app” should remind you of Application).
    • Comprehension – As you stumble over the apples to the bathroom, you open the door and see a giant egg with legs standing at the mirror brushing its teeth. (What comes before a hen, or “pre-hen”?  An egg, of course).
    • Knowledge – Your last stop is your bedroom.  On the ledge above your bed, there is a worm reading the US Constitution.  (Worms reading symbolize the knowledge being adding, along with “ledge” as its location).


This video shows how you can harness your memory using a similar “association” strategy.




Quizlet is a great app for memorization and test-taking help!

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