As I mentioned in Mnemonics for Memorization, our brains are wired to remember things that are different. It’s all part of being a functioning human who doesn’t overload on the amount of data coming at our senses. Think about all of the input coming at you right now: sights, sounds, smells, even tastes. It’s a lot!
Why does this matter? Mnemonics are a great tool, but if you have 20 mnemonics, they are going to work less effectively. Today we’ll add a new strategy to your arsenal: sketches!
This strategy works really well for visual learners and those with a good visual memory. This is one of my memory strengths and I love this strategy! How do you know if you are a visual learner? During a test when you and trying to remember a detail, can you close your eyes and “see” where it was in the book or your notes? If so, then you likely have a visual memory where your memory is connecting to a visual of how the notes were organized (p.s. this works for me because I take great notes).
If you are also a visual learner, try connecting each word in a list with a simple graphic. You can sketch something out on paper, or use clipart if you don’t want to draw. I get frustrated with my own drawing abilities, so instead, I hop into a Google image search, look for the specific visual I have in mind, and borrow it for study purposes. Just stick to simple graphics. The busier and more complex they are, the more distracting and less memorable they will be.
A Sketch for Memorization
Using the same example we covered previously for the Four Parts of Web Site Specification, this is what the visual “sketch” might look like:
I used one of PowerPoint’s built-in graphics to give me the lovely boxes/colors/layout and then dropped in my found clip art. Easy-peasy!
To make this really powerful, combine it with the Four Steps to Master Memorization to work on the actual words you need to know. While reading them on paper, also associate words with the graphics. When test time comes and you are trying to remember this process, just close your eyes and picture these graphics to connect me back to the terms.
This is part 4 of the memorization series:
- The Most Important Factor to Successful Memorization
- Four Steps to Master Memorization
- Using Mnemonics to Remember Lists and Processes
- Sketch Your Way to an A with This Visual Strategy
- Using Quizlet for Memorization
Try It Yourself: 10-minute Challenge
- Identify one list you need to memorize.
- For each term, think of a visual concept to represent it.
- Do a Google image search and find a simple graphic for your visuals.
- Work through the Four Steps to Master Memorization and commit your visuals and list items to memory.