MNEMONICS for Strengthening Memory

26. BlogHeader_MnemonicsMnemonics – this rather tricky to pronounce word contains the key to unlocking memory strengths. Have you heard of this word? Do you know some interesting mnemonics? What? You have no idea what mnemonics are? Well, you most certainly do. Let’s tell you how!

Mnemonics are one of the most ancient strategies employed to retain complex or lengthy information. For example, a nearly ubiquitous method of remembering the colours of the rainbow, in order, is the simple acronym – VIBGYOR, standing for Violent, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red. So simple! Now think, in the absence of this word ‘VIBGYOR’, how complex would it have been memorize the names of the same colours in the precise order!

Strategy of Associations

Mnemonics help connect new information with prior knowledge. They build a simple system of associations such that complex data can be contained within small or easy to remember reference points. While there are a wide variety of mnemonics, the most fundamental ones employ the use of rhymes, keywords, or acronyms (one example of which, we observed above.)

Advantages

There are several, but let’s list a few –

  1. Mnemonics can deal with a wide variety of information coming from various domains. Do you remember the sentence, ‘My very elderly mother just showed us nine planets’? It was a way to remember the names of planets in order, but this mnemonic may have fell redundant due to the contentious position of Pluto as a planet.
  2. They help hold together complex information in bite sized chunks.
  3. Mnemonics are an exercise in creativity! You don’t know existing mnemonics for a part of your syllabus? Well, create your own. Or modify known mnemonics to include more information within their framework. Hence, not only memory, but the flexibility of the brain may benefit from their use.
  4. Mnemonics help students who may have learning difficulties, or who may find it difficult to recall multiple information points instantly to mind.

Some Examples

Mnemonics have been a part of your learning life ever since you began. Don’t believe us, here are a few examples –

  1. The Alphabet Song! How difficult would it have been to remember the 26 English alphabets had there not been a universally hummed tune for it. (Fun fact – did you know the tunes of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the Alphabet Song are the same!)
  2. HOMES – This is an acronym to remember the names of all the Great Lakes of the US. Try with us
    H – Huron
    O – Ontario
    M – Michigan
    E – Erie
    S – Superior
  3. ‘i before e except after c’ – Though there are many exceptions to this grammar rule, it usually helps in remembering spellings when i and e appear together. According to this rule, i will come before e in ‘sieve’ but it will come after e in ‘deceive’. Simple! (Fun fact – the most common exception quoted here is the word ‘weird’, because it both flouts the rule and alludes to things which flout conventions in general.)

Do you know of any interesting mnemonics? Do share them around in your learning community; they may help make learning so much fun and simple (precisely like Extramarks!)