Thursday, 3 September 2015

M 'n' M // Part 111 // Memorising Information

Whether it's long lists of information, Scripture, poems or phone numbers, we all have things we want to remember. Some things come naturally to our memories. Others do not.

So how do we memorise information? And what are some of the best ways?

Idea 1:  Repeat it over and over
This works best for things like phone numbers. Phone numbers are things that just can't be memorised any other way, in most cases! Just plain ol' repeating. Scripture memory can also be memorised this way (well actually most things can be!) although of course there are other ways to memorise Scripture. (I highly recommend a great blog, The Indwelling Word Ministries. It has lots of great ways to memorise Scripture, plus a ton of other encouraging things. Check it out!)

Idea 2: Think up something cool
This may seem complicated to start with, but trust me, it does work. The best way to explain this method is to use an example of memorising something using it.
I have to memorise some random things for my law course. One of the things I was memorising this morning was the information needed to draft a statutory demand.
The info needed to draft a statutory demand is:
- The full details of the debt
- How the debt was incurred and interest claimed at the date of the demand
- Correct  name and description of the creditor
- Correct name and registered office of the debtor

In memorising this, I decided to use letters to aid my memory. So I assigned some letters to each bulletpoint as follows.

- The full details of the debt (D D - details and debt)
- How the debt was incurred and interest claimed at the date of the demand (H I - how and interest)
- Correct  name and description of the creditor (N D C - name, description, creditor)
- Correct name and registered office of the debtor (N O D - name, office, debtor)

Then I repeated the letters over and over, visualizing their placement on the page.

And every time I read them, I think:
Details of debt
How debt incurred, interest
Name and description of creditor
Name and office of debtor

Because those letters are my little memory joggers. When I'm trying to remember the information needed to draft a statutory demand, I'll see those letters in my mind's eye and remember the words they stand for. The words are my memory joggers for the phrases the words belong in. And so on. This method works well for random bits of information and lists.

Idea 3: Writing, Reading and Listening
Some more ways to memorise things are to write them over and over. Then read them over and over. Say them aloud to yourself, stressing particular words to help them stick in your mind. Listen to someone else reading them. If it's a particularly big thing, break it down. If possible, record yourself reading it and play it back. Put the recording on as often as possible and listen to it. Write it. Read. Listen. These are all good ways to stick things in your mind.

Idea 4: Make a Chant and Sing It!
This method is best used for phone numbers, although I've used it for Scripture memory in the past.
Phone numbers are funny things. If you happen to hit on a phone number that uses lots of repeating digits (say, for example, 03 334 4343), then you're in luck. Because your chant is going to be super easy to remember. You could put it to a little tune and sing it to yourself. I find it easier to memorise songs than poems, because they have a tune to them. I don't know if you find the same, but it works for me! :)
Another way to do it if you don't like to sing is to make the repetition catchy. Phone numbers can be memorised easily by pairing the digits into pairs then saying them like they are numbers. For example, the one above I'd put like this to remember: Oh thirty-three, thirty-four, forty-three, forty-three. That seems to make it easier to remember than a list of numbers for me.
If your phone number is a pretty random one, this still works (for example, 03 634 8945). Although you don't have many repeating digits, you can still do it in a sing-songy way. You can go oh thirty-six, thirty-four, eighty-nine, forty-five. Put it to a little tune. The weirder it is, the  more likely you are to remember it.

Idea 5: Teach and Be Tested
One of the ways I use to memorise my law stuff is to teach it to someone else. They say that to teach it, you have to know it pretty well! Sit down with a useful sibling and try to explain to them what it is you are memorising. If you botch it up or the person doesn't understand, go back, study a bit more, then try again.
Another way is to have someone test you on it. Make a bunch of flashcards and get another useful sibling to test you. This can be helpful, only, if you're getting someone to test you on law stuff, make sure they can pronounce all the words so you know what they're asking! :)

And that, my friends, is the end of the third and final post in the memorising series.

Which post was your favourite / the most helpful?
What are your favourite memorising techniques? Do share!

Have a fantastic day!
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  1. Ha ha, "Sit down with a useful sibling". Yes, when you have plenty it's easy to secure one when you have the need. :)


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