Improving Your Memory

Memory Devices

This page is about mnemonics. A mnemonic is a device (such as a rhyme or acronym) used to help your memory. Below are a number of mnemonics to help you remember all sorts of things.

First letter mnemonics

When I was trying to memorize Galatians 5:22, I could not get beyond “love, joy, peace”. So, I memorized the initial letters of the next 6 words: p,k,g,f,g,s. After I while I could memorize “patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self control.”

Who were the crew members of the first flight to the moon? — That’s as simple as ABC: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins.

A medical student might use this sentence to help him remember the bones of the lower limb — “Help five police to find ten missing prisoners.” (hip, femur, patella, tibia, fibula, tarsals, metatarsals, phalanges).

A biology student might use this sentence to help him understand the classification system — “Kindly Place Cover On Fresh Green Spring Vegetables” — Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species, Variety.

A businessman may use this word to help him find the ideal domain name for his website — RAIL, the four main points to think about are Recall, Aesthetics, Impressions & Length.
* Recall: Will the domain name be easy to use/remember? Choose a name that’s easy to recall.
* Aesthetics: How does the name look written on paper? How will it appear alongside other lettering on business cards and company stationery?
* Impressions: First impressions can be crucial. So select a domain name that will give an immediate good impression.
* Length: Typing a short web-address is always preferable to typing a long one. Choose for length.

Name the Great Lakes in order of relative size — “Sam’s Horse Must Eat Oats.” The lakes in order of size are Superior, Huron, Michigan, Erie and Ontario.
What is the order of operations in algebra? — “Bless My Dear Aunt Sally” (Brackets, Multiplications, Divisions, Additions, Subtractions)

First Letters & Complex Topics — If you want to understand a complex topic, you may be able to break it down into several subtopics and use the first letter of each subtopic. For instance, take the word “laser”: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Study each of those five words as they relate to lasers. Then think about each word and all of the laser implications. Soon you will be able to explain how a laser works.

Visual Imagery

When standard time changes to daylight saving or vice versa, we will often hear radio announcers say “Spring forward, fall back”. That is a visual to help people to remember to move their clocks forward in the spring. When memorizing Bible verses, people can break a verse into several parts and create a mental picture for each part.

Unusual Words

When you look at the moon, how can you tell if the moon will soon become full or if it just happened? Just think of the word “DOC”. A filled-in “D” is the shape before the full moon. The “O” represents the full moon and a filled-in “C” looks like a moon after it was full.

Letter Shapes

Which camel has two humps and which has one? Look at the shapes of the “B” and the “D” — A Bactrian camel has two humps and a Dromedary has one hump.

Which Apollo rocket was used for the first moon landing? — Think of the 2 letters “l” in the word “Apollo”. They look like an eleven. So, it was Apollo 11.

Size Associations

Africa is much bigger than India. African elephants have much bigger ears than Indian elephants.

Small Words Within Larger Ones

Which lines are longitude and which are latitude? Longitude lines are longer.

Letters Within Related Words

What is the difference between stalactites and stalagmites? Stalactites come from the ceiling and stalagmites come from the ground.

Geographical Proximity

The Tropic of Cancer is north of the equator and so is Canada.

Simple Rhymes

What year did Columbus first arrive in the Americas? “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”

Who were the six wives of Henry VIII in order of marriage? — “Kate an’ Anne an’ Jane, Anne an’ Kate, again” Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr.


A palindrome (a word or sentence reading the same backwards as forwards): To which island was Napoleon first exiled? “Able was I ere I saw Elba.”

Silly Stories

After you learn to count to three in French, how do you learn to count to six? A French farmer who hated cats put a cat in a bag, went to a river bank and swung the bag around as he counted, “Un.. deux.. trois.. – cat sank!” (oh cease, please!) (un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six…)

Invent Silly Words

How do you remember sine, cosine and tangent for your trigonometry class? “SOH – CAH – TOA” Sin = Opposite/Hypotenuse, Cos = Adjacent/Hypotenuse and Tan = Opposite/Adjacent sides

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