Memorization

Anyone have any suggestions on how to memorize? I have been finding it more difficult to memorize texts.

The inability to visualize something, such as the periodic table, means I need to look to better ways. I am a big list maker. But I can’t visualize a list if I can’t find it.

Share this post

You must be signed in to comment
Total Comments (12)

Are you sure it’s due to lack of visualisation?

I find I had great memorisation abilities when I was younger – as I’ve gotten older (and I mean 30s), my memory has gotten quite bad.

Just wanted to mention, because it might not be just the visual aspect.

Anyway, what I used to do when I was young was lots of mnemonics, I could get some really complex ones going. For text I really just think it was route drilling over and over again. Luckily I never had to remember so many verbatim texts, I’m not really sure what’s the need for that unless your an actor?

I was basically unable to memorise poetry. I was good at languages because I had a good memory for facts.

I amassed a French teacher by reciting the days of the week but not in the normal sequence!

Binging on acronyms before a test is a go to for short term memory 

I can’t remember much. I don’t memorize much. 

However, I did get an Engineering degree and an Engineering License. 

Engineering programs do not rely much on memorization. It is about how to memorize a process, and how to research. 

Eventually, I start remembering some things, mostly random tidbits of stuff… 

I just re-read, talk out loud, listen, and re-read in order to try to memorize. But, I’ve focused on education and career paths that are focused on learning, research, and process. 

Same thing I’ve found. I can remember an absurd amount of random stuff, just not really “forced” memorization. I have to connect it to something (experience, interest, etc.) to remember it long-term, and even then it requires some kind of trigger to reappear. Process based stuff on the other hand (engineering, design, etc.) is super natural and I don’t have to study it at all really. My brain can kind of just “rebuild” the information at any time.

I cannot memorize lists as a visual image. I have to learn the items on the list like vocabulary. Repeat, repeat, repeat. There is no other way for me. But I rather keep the list with me instead of memorizing it. Too exhausting otherwise.

post
It took me years to accept that it’s almost all purely rote memorization. I use flash cards with words/questions on one side and the answers on the other. I read them Out-loud to myself over and over and over again. It always takes hours upon hours over many days. Through that I usually learned it well enough to pass a test no matter how large or small it was. 

Instead of attempting to visualise, have you tried using hearing? Record that which you need to remember – that uses voice then ear – after which play recording while walking/ running and sync item with each step. (As a child, had skipping games to remember complex spellings.

List maker? Put list close to where it will be needed. Full use of calendar which syncs between devices.

I just obsessively write things down. Like you, I make lists. They don’t help with memorizing because like you say, I can’t “see” the list but it help tremendously with the word association. I try to pick key words to associate with whatever the subject is. Doesn’t always work but it has helped

In most cases, I agree with Annika, continuous repetition is the way to go. But, as Isabel states, it can help to find a rhythm or a melody. Reading out loud, talking to yourself – I have memorized whole plays just by the sound. People don’t forget earworms that quickly 😉 Still, it is only another form of repetition.

For sure the way it works for me. I’ve got a couple poems, lots of digits of pi, and some other random stuff automatized through practice. I don’t exactly “remember” them, but if I can start speaking them I can run through the whole thing perfectly after. The hard part is the practice and the reliable trigger to start the remembrance.

Hey, I just said to use songs too, lol.  I mentioned Schoolhouse Rock songs for kids in the 70’s was a great example of doing this.  

I cannot visualize at all so when I was in college I used singing to memorize.  For example if you need to learn the periodic table I would take a popular melody or song and insert the elements.  By using the melody you memorize it differently.  You can then sing it back quietly (lol) when needed for a test.  Look up Schoolhouse Rock songs in youtube to find examples of this same process for kids in the 1970’s.  

https://youtu.be/rz4Dd1I_fX0
If you find rhymes and songs best like many of us, there are several periodic table songs like this one 😆

Albert Einstein: “Never memorize something that you can look up.”

Why would anyone want to memorize the periodic table? 

I know where Hydrogen and Helium are. Carbon, Oxygen, and Nitrogen are in the air and are somewhere in the top right. 

Iron, Gold, Silver, Lead – they are in the middle somewhere. 

Iron is Fe, Gold and Silver are Au and Ag (which is which, I don’t remember nor care), and Lead is Pb. I remember these cause they aren’t based on English. 

Atomic weights, number of protons, isotopes – all stuff to look up. 

If you become a jeweler, you might want to memorize the properties of the metals used in jewelry – which will only be a dozen or so.