Organization

Humans can keep about 9 things in our heads- but here's a huge study secret: it almost doesn't matter how big those things are. Organizing techniques take lots of pieces of information, and groups them together so they can be more easily memorized.

Try to memorize this string of letters:

TwauSAibMUniCeF

Not so easy!  Ok, now try to memorize the same string of letters:

TWA USA IBM UNICEF

Much better!  The memory load was reduced from 16 to 4.

 

 

 Try these organization techniques:

1.  Categorizing:  To memorize a list of vocabulary words, categorize them into three groups:  take three pieces of paper and make up any three categories that make you laugh!  Such as: "words I would use on a vacation," "words I would use if my car broke down," " words I would use if I was in a jungle trying to vaccinate a local tribe against a deadly disease." Now use the words in a sentence relating to the category it is in.  You will have to come up with some pretty unusual sentences to make them fit into the categories- but- gaurenteed- you will remember them forever! 

For example if three words on your vocabulary list were:  entice, elevate, evaporate.  Evaporate could go in the Jungle category: " I must wait for the swamp to evaporate before I can find my medical kit which sunk yesterday..."

 

Diagraming:

To memorize a large amount of information, that comes to you in the form of a story, for example events at the battle of bunker hill, draw a flow chart. 

1. Depending on how detailed the information is, you might want to draw two or three flow charts- one colored red for the brittish troop's story; one blue for the colonists, and maybe one green for events unfolding that neither knew about at the time but which effected the overall picture.  This strategy also works well for book plots.

2. Heres a variation:  you can use the color of the flow chart segments to help you remember the order of events.  Say you were trying to recall the colonist's events.  The first node on the chart could be colored red "not enough ammo."  the second node could be colored white "order: don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes"  the third node could be blue: generals retreated to..."  The sequence red, white, and blue can be repeated, but you will always recall what the order is, because we always think of the colors in a specific order red, then white, then blue..

 

First Letter technique: 

If  you have a long list of things to memorize, like states and their capitals, take the first letter of each thing ( "California- Sacramento, Massachusetts- Boston" would be CSMB ) and make up a sentence about it.  Anyone who has learned to read music will recall the sentence "Every good boy does fine"  for EGBDF, the musical notes.