1) “brute force” memorization; 2) relate a thing or idea to other things and ideas; 3) put some words or ideas to a song; 4 put some words or ideas to a sentence or story; 5) code words by color and animals or something. Suggestions #2-5 are all based on the idea that the mind functions by integration, by making associations. (Well, it functions by integration and contrast.) We can remember something better if it is connected to other things we know. Using a song or story plays off this idea, and lets us “make sense” even of some words or ideas that might not make sense to us yet. Notice that we can remember what “median” is (a line segment that goes through the midpoint of a side of a triangle) by remembering that “med” sounds like “mid,” that “median” means middle, that “median” is also the name of the “islands” in the middle of roads. We can remember the order of the planets by the sentence “My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nachos” or “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas,” which are in the order: Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune. We can remember the quadratic formula by putting it to the song “Pop Goes the Weasel.” (There is a good violin version of the song on YouTube, too.) Some ancient Romans developed an astounding memory by using the “Roman Room” mnemonic technique, that is, by relating things they learned to rooms and objects in a house. You just need to find what works for you. And you should use all these things, not pick one because you think you have some “learning style” or other. We are more flexible and have a broader repertoire of “learning styles” than some would have us believe!!
Ideas for remembering things: