How to Use Mnemonic Devices for Test Preparation
Mnemonic devices are a good memorization tool. They help you remember long lists, phone numbers, names, places, and other information that may be hard to remember. Simply put, mnemonics help students remember important information by connecting new learning with previous knowledge through various cues. Because of its effectiveness, using mnemonic devices for test preparation is common.
Mnemonics use strategies like acronyms, rhyming words, and keywords to help. You can find more about these and how you can use mnemonic devices for your test preparation right here.
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What Are Mnemonic Devices?
Mnemonic devices help many students, including those with learning disabilities. They generally help students retain and recall information. Mnemonic strategies include auditory or visual clues to aid students in making connections between new information and their previous knowledge. The strategies help the brain locate and recall stored data quickly.
Mnemonic devices reorganize or rearrange information, helping you personalize them to work for you. These devices enhance learning by giving you a new way to handle information while spending less time recalling information. This helps you study better and improve your scores during exams.
You can create mnemonics on your own. But, you can also modify existing ones according to your needs, particularly if you are dealing with complex ideas or words. The simplest types of mnemonic strategies depend on using acronyms, rhyming, or keywords.
Examples of Mnemonics
Different Types of Mnemonic Devices
You can use many types of mnemonics. The most common types are the following:
This strategy uses the first letter of each word of a sentence to represent the concepts you are trying to remember. For example, Old People From Texas Eat Spiders can help one remember cranial bones namely the Occipital, Parietal, Frontal, Temporal, Ethmoid, and Sphenoid.
Chunking refers to the breaking down of information into smaller chunks. For example, Social Security numbers are easier to remember if you divide the numbers into three sections like 001 003 221.
The Method of Loci
This refers to remembering data according to the location. This relies on visualizing placing things in a certain location and creating an imaginary journey to remember things in sequential order.
Rhymes and Songs
This uses melody and poetry to retain information: I before E except after C.
Other Examples of Mnemonics
Using mnemonics is not new, and many people employ it as a strategy without sometimes being aware of it.
For example, ROYGBIV or Roy G. Biv stands the colors of the rainbow in the correct order. It stands for Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. Here’s another one that is used to remember how many days each month has.
Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November.
All the rest have thirty-one,
Excepting February alone,
And that has twenty-eight days clear
And twenty-nine in each leap year.
Another example is the knuckle mnemonic which is used to remember the number of days for each month. One has to just close their fist. Each knuckle represents the months with 31 days while the space between the knuckles is for the months with 30 or fewer days. The first knuckle is January.
Creating Mnemonic Devices for Test Prep
Mnemonics use word association to help you recall lists, names, and numbers in various subjects, so it will really be helpful in preparing for a test. The key to a good mnemonic is that it is easy and simple. You should be able to memorize what each letter or word represents without trouble. It’s also important that you know the keywords or the actual concepts you have to remember, in your mnemonics such as in the examples below:
- Astronomy: “My Very Educated Mother Just Serves Us Nachos for the planets.
- Chemistry: “Happy Henry Lives Beside Boron Cottage” for the first chemical elements.
- Geography: “HOMES” to remember the Great Lakes.
- Geology: “The mites go up, and the tites come down” helps differentiate stalagmites and stalactites.
If you’re going to use acrostics as a mnemonic strategy, it’s important that you write the keywords first for all the items before you create a mnemonic device. This means that reading or taking notes is a crucial part of making your mnemonics work.
Choose words that can represent each keyword and formulate a simple sentence. Make sure the sentence is easy to remember too. Then, write the sentence repeatedly while saying it aloud. Then, say the keywords that refer to the concepts that you need to remember. This will ensure that you’ll master what you need to remember in no time.
It’s also important to choose which mnemonic strategy will work best for you. Instead of using acrostics, you can also make your own songs. The process is quite similar too. Identify the concepts you need to remember and compose a rhyme or an ode to help you remember them easily. Write them repeatedly and say them aloud for maximum effect.
Enhacing Information Recall and Retrieval
Mnemonic devices help improve your memory by making it easier for you to associate new information with things you already know. Include mnemonics in your study plan and use them on your practice tests. Regular practice helps you familiarize yourself with the different mnemonic types and how they apply to various subjects.
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.