How To Memorize ANYTHING

Posted on 02. Jul, 2007 by in Self Improvement

I recently read a remarkable story of a guy who was at college and his professor said the following two statements:

1) No student had ever aced his introductory exam; and 2) all the answers could be found in the first 7 chapters of the textbook.

So what did he do? He memorized the entire 7 chapters.

In total he had remembered a whopping 23,000 words, and he got 100% on the test. So how did he do it?

He claims to use a technique called stacking, now, I should add that I haven’t tried this, but I suppose it makes sense.

Here is how you stack memories:

  1. “First, use a pencil or word processor (I prefer the latter because it’s faster) to type, in complete sentences, any fact you think might appear on the test. Use short sentences because they’re easier to remember.
  2. Take your printed notes into a quiet room, shut the door, and eliminate all distractions.
  3. Look at the first sentence in your notes and read it out loud. Then, close your eyes and say the sentence without looking at it.
  4. Repeat the step above, this time with the first 2 sentences.
  5. Next, try it with 3 sentences. Then 4. Repeat until you have memorized every sentence in your notes.

After a study session, take a quick nap. New memories are very vulnerable, but studies have shown that sleep helps your new memories stick. After your nap, repeat the memory technique once more for maximum retention.”

Now I should add that I have tried similar techniques to learn languages, and at first they can seem futile, but with time and effort you really can store huge amounts of information.

One final point I feel I should make… there is a difference between remembering and understanding. ;-)

Dean

13 Responses to “How To Memorize ANYTHING”

  1. Ian Potter

    06. Jul, 2007

    I’ve found that doing this in the opposite direction has very beneficial effects: you start at the end of the list and work your way backwards. This way, you practice the newest information (the most recent line of notes first) first and the parts you know well after.

    I’ve used this many times in memorizing music passages to great effect.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Abbe Lougee

    06. Jul, 2007

    Even better, start memorizing from the BOTTOM of the stack (memorize the last item in your stack, then the two last items, the three last items). This way, you always know what comes next.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Terry Stanfield

    24. Jul, 2007

    That was great.
    This is how I got through my last two years of college. I took a sociology class and the first day we sat in a circle. There were about 32 people in the class. We started going around the room the first person said his name. The second person said the first person’s name and then theirs and so on. I was number 32. I did not want to look bad so I said repeated in my mind what each person said. By the time it got to me I had the whole class memorized. It took about 6 minutes.
    I could memorize 20 pages of notes in about 2 hours, I memorized 600 Greek vocabulary words in grad school about 10-20 per day on the way to school.

    Keys:
    1. Complete silence no distractions
    2. I would completely read the material that I was going to memorize.
    3. I wrote everything down (the act of writing anchored in my mind)
    a. I wrote each sentence or fact 5 time or until I could do it without looking once.
    b. Then I would write the second fact 5 time or until I could do it without looking once.
    c. Than I would write both facts fact1 fact 2 five time or until I could do it without looking once.
    d. So on

    It seems like a lot but it took less time than traditional studying and I had a lot less stress because I knew it cold. I took it a bit deeper. I converted those 20 pages of notes to 20 letters or numbers. Each one opened the door to the corresponding information, like a file directory.

    The added benefit was that the more I did it the less time it took. I accidently trained my brain to think that way. I did get to the point of not having to write it down.

    It was that sociology class that convinced me that it could work.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Mark Wieczorek

    28. Jul, 2007

    +1 to doing it in the opposite direction – you can practice STOPPING after paragraph 1 just as easily as you can practice going from paragraph 1 to paragraph 2. It’s much better to work up to the memorized parts than to work down from the – though potentially less interesting.

    I also memorized quite a bit for my tests, though I did it by chunking up the information and turning them into flash cards using a program called http://www.supermemo.com/ – the free version is downloadable at http://www.freewarefiles.com/program_16_168_13849.html and you only need the upgraded version if, like I did, you require advanced formatting – bold, italic, superscript, subscript, etc.

    Reply to this comment
  5. rabiah

    06. Jan, 2008

    do we have to recall it after let say bout a week a month or so on??
    coz in that case,im vry lazy

    Reply to this comment
  6. Awais Alam Abro

    04. Feb, 2008

    A good memory is God gifted, we’ve only need some exercises to enhance it, and memorize more and more things, but I still want to know, is there any physical or mental exercise (perticularly for enhencement of memory….?

    Reply to this comment

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  1. The Stacking Method for Memorizing - lifehack.org - July 6, 2007

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