Study Tips  |  August 08, 2017

Best Practices to Memorize Anything

Did your English teacher just ask you to memorize and perform an impossibly long Shakespeare sonnet? Is a big chemistry test coming up and you just can’t remember the difference between ionic and covalent bonds, no matter how many times you read the assigned chapters? Have no fear. We can help you find better ways to memorize the information you need to get through your tests, quizzes, presentations, and speeches!

Here are some of our favorite memorization tips:

  • Read the text aloud and copy it down.

Often times when you review text silently, you lose focus. Your mind starts drifting and before you know it, you’ve read three pages and have no idea what was on them. Both of the suggested strategies force you to go through every word, meaning it’s easier to pay attention to what you’re reading and absorb some of the content.

  • Have someone read to you.

We all learn differently. If reading aloud isn’t working, try asking someone to read to you. If you need to do more than memorizing, ask this person to also explain some of the concepts. Hearing another perspective on the material can really help it stick and sink in.

  • Have a friend or parent quiz you on the material

So you read the assigned chapters three times before the test and still got a C, huh? Reading and remembering are two different things. Teachers usually ask questions differently than how material appears in textbooks, meaning you can’t just memorize it, but you need to see if you can remember it out of context. Get someone to ask you questions from every chapter—not just definitions, and in their own words. You’ll be amazed how much it helps.

  • Create devices that reduce the length of what you have to memorize

Once you read through the material, try to shorten it and find ways to remember the shorter version. For instance, remember the first letter of every word in a speech instead of every word. Try acronyms, rhymes, silly phrases. Whatever jogs your memory.

  • Visualization

A lot of us are visual learners. Instead of remembering the words or equations, try to picture what they mean or represent. Close your eyes, imagine the ideas and stories as images. Draw them out afterward. It can only help, and drawing helps reduce stress so it’s a win-win.