Mnemonic Devices & Memory Aids

I can still remember the first mnemonic device I ever invented. It was in junior science and my science teacher insisted that for homework we must come up with a mnemonic to help us remember all of the planets in order of their distance from the sun. Here was mine...

Many Various Eels Munch Jumping Socks Underneath Number Plates.

Hey, I was only 13. What did you expect? And yes, I know Pluto is no longer classified as a planet, but thanks for mentioning it ;-)

Anyway, the fact that I can still recall this memory aid after all these years gives you some idea of the power of mnemonic devices. Especially mnemonics that you have invented yourself.

Tips for Creating Mnemonic Devices

  • Make memory aids vivid. (i.e. picturesque and active)
  • Make each mnemonic device your own. (i.e. connect them to your own experiences, possessions, friends and relatives, etc.)
  • Make the mnemonic relevant. When you only have one mnemonic, this doesn't really matter, but when you are trying to learn dozens of them, you'll get them all mixed up.
  • Use rhyme and rhythm. (e.g. a poem or a song)
  • Use mnemonics sparingly. Often it's more efficient to just learn a list of words than to create and memorize a mnemonic, as mnemonic devices carry a lot of overhead. Therefore you should reserve memory aids for situations where you really have trouble remembering a particular word or word list.
  • Mnemonic Devices for Scrabble

    Mnemonic Devices for Spelling

    Mnemonic Devices for Vocabulary

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