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How to boost your memory

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Have you heard of mnemonics? It is a way to boost your memory and make sure you don’t forget your friend’s birthday or the important meeting at work.

All memory systems, other than rote, rely on mnemonics. A mnemonic is a device, such as a jingle or rhyme or acronym used to aid memory. For example, most people will know what ASAP means because they have heard it and used it so often. Yet those letters could stand for almost anything. They could stand for “All students are people” or “Approach silently as possible.” But once we hear the real meaning of something and review it a few times, the letters alone will make it possible to recall it. Our natural memories only need a hint to bring the memory out of mental storage.


Rhymes, jingles and other devices that aid recall Jingles, rhymes, and catchy tunes are memorable and easy to memorize. Sometimes you can’t get them out of your head. I still recall a commercial that starts something like “Pepsi Cola hits the spot, 12 big ounces, that’s a lot…” And from about 60 years ago, “Mary, Mary quite contrary didn’t seem to grow, because when asked to drink her milk, she’d always answer no…”


How were you taught to remember the date that Christopher Columbus discovered America ?

How about

“In fourteen ninety-two

Columbus sailed the view (or ocean blue)”

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How did you memorize which months have 30 days and which ones have 31?

How about “30 days has September April, June and November.”
Were you taught how to remember the placement of i and e in words such as receipt, believe, weigh receive, sieve as follows? “I before E Except after C Or when sounded as A As in neighbor and weigh.”

Even remembering the value of pi to 13 decimal places is helped by rhyme.

“How I wish I could determine of circle round The exact relation Archimedes found.”
Here you simply count the number of letters in each word – 3, 1, 9, 3 5, etc. – to get the answer.
The highest digit is nine, so any word with more than nine letters is simply nine.
And your natural memory will tell you where to put the decimal place. (When I refer to your “natural memory” I simply mean that you have to study the material enough to at least be familiar with it. The “gimmicks” simply makes the memorizing easier (and fun) and helps immensely with the recall.)

Many people still use the expression “spring forward and fall back” to remember to put the clocks ahead in the spring and back in the fall when changing to and from standard daylight saving time. Some people have trouble remembering the difference between stalagmites and stalactites. Which ones hang from the ceiling of caves and which ones form from the ground up?

An easy way to remember is to look at the ending of the second syllable of each word. The stalagmites has a ‘g’ standing for “ground” while the stalactites has a ‘c’, standing for “ceiling”. My niece, Lauri, distinguishes between the two by thinking the stalagmites are mighty and grow up from the ground and the stalactites have to hang on tightly so they don’t fall off the ceiling.

Maybe you can now think of a rhyme yourself to improve your memory. We hope you enjoyed this article and it will motivate you to work on your memory and come up with many creative memory aids. If you would like to find out more ways to boost your memory, we recommend the eBook “Boost your memory – and sharpen your mind” by Harold L. Taylor.


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