Study Help

Study Skills: Using mnemonics to improve memory

by mickey.geldenhuys

Have you ever had that feeling in an exam when you can't remember that ONE point. You know you learnt it and you can see it on your study notes but you just can't remember what it is! You've written down al the ones you can remember but the one has slipped your mind.

Don't dispair, when studying, try using a mnemonic, a learning technique that will help you remember large amounts of information and not loose marks for that one point you can't remember. There are different types of mnemonics but we will look at two examples.

Acronym mnemonics
This is when you take the first letter of each word in your list and make a new word. For example, there are four types of rivers:

Build a new word - PEPE. Remember this word and what each letter is for. When asked, 'What are the four types of rivers?', all you need to remember is PEPE to jog your memory and write down the four types without forgetting one of them.

That was an easy example, now let's look at remembering a longer list where it is difficult to make a new word.

Word mnemonics
The first letter of each word is combined to form a phrase or sentence. For example, there are 7 different drainage patterns of a river system:

The first letter of each word is - D T R R C D P. Let's try make a phrase or sentence using these letters - Donald Trump Rides Rhinos Crossing Desert Plains.

When asked, 'What are the different drainage patterns of a river system?' Say to yourself - Donald Trump Rides Rhinos Crossing Desert Plains. This will help you to remember the first letter of each drainage pattern and you will also remember all 7 of them. Now you just have to write them down on your answer sheet.

There is no need to loose valuable marks anymore!

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