ALTERNATIVE LEARNING

MNEMONICS


marks-beyound

What is a mnemonic?

One of the best tried-and-tested tactics for memorizing a great deal of material is the use of mnemonics: patterns of letters, ideas, sounds, or other associations that assist in learning something. Probably the simplest example is the alphabet song. All of us probably learned to sing the ABCs in kindergarten, and we’re willing to bet you still remember that song today. It’s ingrained in your brain through the use of a mnemonic.

A mnemonic is a memory aid. Mnemonic aids rely on both repetition and association. The associations are between easy-to-remember constructs and lists of data. These aids are based on the principle that the human mind remembers insignificant data when it is attached to spatial, personal, or otherwise meaningful information more than when it occurs in meaningless sequences.

The word mnemonic is derived from the ancient Greek word mnemonikos (“of memory”) It is related to Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory in Greek mythology. The first known reference to mnemonics is the method of loci described in Cicero’s De Oratore.

Memory Techniques

It is assumed that there are two types of memory: the natural memory and the artificial memory. Natural memory is inborn. It is the memory that is used for everyday living. Artificial memory is memory that is trained through learning and the practice of a variety of mnemonic techniques.

Some of these techniques include:

  1. First letter mnemonics

One common mnemonic for remembering lists consists of an easily remembered word, phrase, or rhyme whose first letters are associated with the list items. Using VIBGYOR, the acronym for the colours in the rainbow (violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, is an example of this.

  1. Mnemonic link system

This is a method of remembering lists by creating an association between the elements of that list. If you wanted to remember the words dog, envelope, thirteen, yarn, and window you would link them together by telling a story about a dog stuck in an envelope, mailed to an unlucky black cat playing with yarn by the window. It is believed that the story may be easier to remember than the list itself. Another method is to link items with an image. To expand on the example above, you would imagine a dog inside of a giant envelope, and then one would “see” an unlucky black cat or something else that reminds you of the number thirteen eating a huge envelope. You would continue to add images until your list is complete. Using absurd images as a mnemonic device is known as the Von Restorff effect.

  1. Loci system or The Mind Palace

It’s a process that gained some notoriety in recent years due to the BBC show Sherlock, which features a young savant Sherlock Holmes using the mind palace technique to recall vast quantities of information that assist him in solving complex and diabolical crimes.

To build a mind palace, a person begins with the blueprint of a physical location (which could be a room, building, or even town or landscape). The larger or more detailed the location, the more data can be stored there. Then, they create a path through the location that they can follow during every “visit,” and begin to associate objects or landmarks in the mind palace with specific pieces of information.

This method was taught for centuries as a part of the curriculum in schools. The first step is to memorize a series of familiar locations in a particular order. You may choose to do a virtual walkthrough of your house. You then take each item you are trying to memorize and associate it with a location using a vivid mental image. Mentally walk through the location several times in the same order. After a few repetitions, you should be able to remember and visualize each of the places. This is a helpful technique to recall information that needs to be remembered in a particular order.

  1. Goroawase

Goroawase is a Japanese linguistic technique where homophonous (homonyms that share the same pronunciation) words are associated with a given series of letters, numbers or symbols. This method is often used to remember dates, scientific constants, and phone numbers.

  1. Herigone’s system

Pierre Herigone was a French mathematician and astronomer and devised a system for substituting numbers for letters which can be combined to form words and associated together in a sentence or a narrative. This system is based on phonemes (sounds which have similar sounds and which are used to form words).

  1. Rhyming

A rhyme is a saying that has similar terminal sounds at the end of each line. Rhymes are easier to remember because they can be stored using acoustic encoding. An example of using a rhyme as a mnemonic device is 30 Days has September, April, June, and November. All the rest have 31, except February.

 

  1. Chunking

Chunking involves learning something in chunks. The human brain is capable of remembering only a limited number of arbitrary items. Grouping these items into chunks permits the brain to hold more of them in memory.

How are mnemonics helpful?

For people who have to memorize and store a huge amount of new information, like people studying for medical school, law, or a new language, the techniques of mnemonics can be invaluable. As the alphabet song demonstrates, even the simplest lessons can benefit from these methods. It’s important to remember, however, that mnemonics can only take you so far. You still have to put in the work of memorization in other ways, such as flashcards, as well.

While helpful, mnemonics are adjuncts to learning. They have their place and they can be extremely effective. You must remember though, that their purpose is very limited. You have to be able to plug in the actual information. You cannot develop expertise in a subject without knowing the core facts. Mnemonics can be a great help in the early stages of developing your knowledge. They facilitate learning in the beginning. If the information you want to memorize has any meaning, you need to combine the use of mnemonic strategies with the use of strategies appropriate for meaningful learning. Never forget that the main purpose of mnemonic devices is to help with arbitrary information, facts that have no meaningful connection with each other.

  • Using Mnemonic Devices for Learning

The roots of mnemonic devices for memorization stretch back into antiquity. It is well documented that the ancient Romans and Greeks knew and valued mnemonic techniques, practicing them to ease the demands of poetry recitations, public speaking, and other tasks.

  • Learning a foreign language

Best of all, mnemonics can be used to help you remember many different elements of a language such as, the pronunciation and meaning of new vocabulary, the genders of words, verb or case endings, grammar  etc.

Creating mnemonics for words you want to learn can be time-consuming at first, especially when creating images instead of just simple word associations. Just keep at it and you’ll find that you become faster at it the more you practice.

Your key to success lies in your basic skill to grasp and memorise facts and concepts.

The better you are at retaining knowledge the closer you are to success.

Our Awesome Counsellors

Nitin Kumar
DMIT Counsellor

Location : Delhi-NCR

Nitin Kumar

Certified DMIT Counsellor
Experience : 1 Year

Dermatoglyphics, Career Advice, Course and College selection, Career Path Selection

Mrinalini T. Nathaniel
Clinical Psychologist

Location : Noida

Mrinalini T. Nathaniel

M.A. Clinical Psychology
Experience : 2 Years

Education, Career, Marriage, Sleep Disorder, Stress, Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, OCD, Childhood Disorders, Body Image Issues

Madhura Saha
Psychologist

Location : Ghaziabad

Madhura Saha

M.Sc. Psychology
Experience : 3 Years

Adolescent issues, Self-esteem, Love and Relationship, Anger, Body Image, LGBTQ, Parenting, Bullying, Sexual Wellness

Jasmine Tahir
Psychologist

Location : New Delhi

Jasmine Tahir

Phd. in Psychology
Experience : 5 Years

CBT, REBT, Hypnotherapy, Work Life Balance Sessions, Stress Management, Premarital and Marital, Geriatric, Terminally ill Counselling

Priyanka Yadav
Psychologist

Location : New Delhi

Priyanka Yadav

M.Phil. Child and Adolescent Psychology
Experience : 3 Years

Career, Parental, OCD, CBT, Anger Management, Premarital, Marriage/Marital, Stress Management, Child and Adolescent Problems

Himani Sharma
Career Counsellor

Location : New Delhi

Himani Sharma

PGD in Guidance and Counselling, MA Counselling Psychology
Experience : 1 year

Career Counseling, Parenting advice, Adolescent issues, Self esteem

Gita Setya
Clinical Psychologist

Location : New Delhi

Gita Setya

M.A. in Psychology Majors at Cleveland State University, Ohio
Experience : 9 Years

Substance Abuse, Depression, PTSD, Panic and Anxiety Attacks

Dr. Seema Sharma
Career Counsellor

Location : New Delhi

Dr. Seema Sharma

PhD in Education
Experience : 24 Years

Career Counselling, Life Skills Training , EQ, IQ, Career Assessment Tests

Gayatri Mehra
Clinical Psychologist

Location : New Delhi

Gayatri Mehra

MA Clinical Psychology
Experience : 5 Years

DMIT, Psychoanalysis, CBT, Personality Testing, Graphology

Dr. Abhilasha Gautam
Academic Counsellor

Location : New Delhi

Dr. Abhilasha Gautam

PhD and JRF-NET in Education
Experience : 12 Years

Exam Preparation, Stress Management, Examination Tips, Courses and Colleges, Admission Procedure, Curriculum Development

Dr. Preeti Bakhshi
Psychologist

Location : Gurgaon

Dr. Preeti Bakhshi

PHD from Pittsford University, USA – Distinction & Award of Excellence
Experience : 15 Years

Marital Discord, Child Abuse, Depression, Terminally ill Counselling

Free Demo
Book Now
Enquiry