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How to Memorize Anything

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How good is your memory? Colin Lowther and Liz Waid share the secrets of memorizing anything!

Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Colin Lowther.

Voice 2

And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Click here to follow along with this program on YouTube.

Voice 1

Think of an event in your life that you remember very well. You can think of any memory, as long as it is clear. Think back. Where were you? Who were you with? What time was it? Can you smell anything? Taste anything? Why do you think you remember this event so well?

Voice 2

Memory is strange. Sometimes, a person might remember something that is extremely important to them. At other times, she may remember a fact that does not matter at all. It may be difficult to learn something she wants to remember, like an English vocabulary word! But this does not always have to be the case. There are actually special methods that you can use to improve your memory. Today’s Spotlight is on how to use your memory to remember anything.

Voice 1

No one’s memory is perfect. What a person remembers can be unreliable. Even the most intelligent people forget things. This does not mean a person has a bad memory. It means he is not using his mind to his advantage.

Voice 2

The brain has two kinds of memory. The first is short term, or working, memory. This kind of memory is useful for a very short time. Experts say you can store four sets of information in your short-term memory at the same time. Information in short term memory will last about 20 to 30 seconds or less. Then it disappears.

Voice 1

The second kind of memory is long-term memory. Long-term memory is what people usually think of when they say they have memorized something. Memories in the long-term memory stay. A person can remember them again and again. These are memories like the names of people you know, how to do a task, or memories from a special event from a long time ago.

Voice 2

The trick of remembering is moving information from short-term to long-term memory. No one knows exactly how this happens. But scientists do have theories. Richard Mohs is a writer at howstuffworks.com. He writes that going from one kind of memory to the other is all about attention. You must focus on particular things.

Voice 3

“To properly create a memory, you must first be paying attention. You cannot pay attention to everything all the time. So, most of what you see every day is filtered out. Only some information passes into your conscious awareness. How you pay attention to information may be the most important part of how much of it you actually remember.”

Voice 1

People also remember things that are similar to what they already know. This is because of the structure of the brain. Most of the brain is made of cells called neurons. When we learn something, different neurons connect to each other. When these neurons stay connected, it forms a memory. The more connections a memory has, the stronger it will be. For example, think of a person you know. When you think of that person, the same neurons become active in your brain – every time!

Voice 2

Memories can also link to other memories, making them stronger still. This is why memories with multiple senses last longer. For example, a memory where you experienced something by hearing, tasting, and smelling, may be very strong because you used more senses in the experience. These memories connect different parts of the brain. Think of the person you just remembered. Do you remember what their laugh sounds like? Do you remember the sound of their voice?

Voice 1

Finally, we make memories when we have repeated experiences. Each time we do the same thing, our brains make new connections. Scientists say our neurons activate, or fire.  Richard Mohs uses practicing music as an example.

Voice 3

“If you play a piece of music over and over, certain cells in your brain fire repeatedly in a certain order. This makes it easier to repeat this firing later on. The result: You get better at playing music. You can play it faster, with fewer mistakes. Practice it long enough, and you will play it perfectly.”

Voice 2

Practicing, or repeating information, is one of the most popular methods of remembering. If a person has vocabulary cards, they are using this method. But this is not always the best way to memorize. There are many methods which use the other ways we remember – or combine them.

Voice 1

Another memorization method is called a mnemonic device. One well known mnemonic device is called an acronym. Acronyms are helpful in memorizing words. To create an acronym, find a list of words you would like to memorize. It is usually helpful if there is something similar about them. Then, take the first letter from each word. Organize those letters into a word or phrase. You have now made an acronym. Each letter in the final word stands in for another word. So, to memorize many words, you only have to remember one. One famous acronym for learning English conjunctions is FANBOYS. The F stands in for the word “for”. A stands for “and”. The rest stand for nor, but, or, yet, and so. Acronyms work because they make the information simple.

Voice 2

Another memorization method is visualization. In visualization, you think of an image or picture that represents the thing you are trying to remember. For example, imagine a person is trying to remember the name Melanie. He might think of a picture. In the picture, a woman is holding a melon fruit. She is crushing the melon with her knee. The sound of the two images will remind him of the name Melanie. The image is also very strange. It is easier for the mind to remember unusual things. Visualization works because it makes the foreign information into something familiar.

Voice 1

One of the most interesting mnemonic devices is called the method of loci. It is also called a memory palace. To create a memory palace, a person must think of a familiar area, like a house, or a street. Then, she must imagine a journey through that space. In the journey, she stops at different, familiar areas. In each of these areas, she places an item. The item must have something to do with the thing she is trying to remember. Melanie Pinola is a writer and mental athlete. She competes with others to remember long lists of numbers or words. She wrote about the memory palace technique for Lifehacker.com.

Voice 4

“For everyday use, the memory palace is helpful for remembering a list of things. Start a journey beginning at a place you know very well, like your home. Begin at your door. If you want to remember a grocery list, imagine the items you need. Imagine a container of milk overflowing on your doorstep. When you get inside, perhaps two giant steaks attack you in your doorway. Continue to your living room to find pretzels dancing on the rug. Again, the more movement, strange experiences, and senses you put into your memory palace, the better for your memorization.”

Voice 2

This may seem like a lot of work, creating more information than the person needs to memorize. But the method of loci is actually a way of “hacking” the brain. To remember something, the brain needs a network of information. Without this network, the memory will fade quickly. The method of loci creates a new network. It uses multiple senses. And then, it attaches the network to something familiar. This way, what you are trying to remember enters the long-term memory.

Voice 1

There are many more mnemonic devices. But most memory methods involve one of these three steps: Make it simple. Visualize it – that is, imagine you can see it in your mind. Connect the information to something you already know. If you can master these simple tips, you will be able to remember huge amounts of information. What will you memorize now?

Voice 2

Do you have any special ways you remember things? What are they? Will you try a new method? You can leave a comment on our website at www.spotlightenglish.com. You can also find us on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Voice 1

The writer of this program was Dan Christmann. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. This program is called: How to Memorize Anything.

Voice 2

Visit our website to download our free official app for Android and Apple devices. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Do you think you are good at memorizing things? Why or why not? What do you think is the best way to memorize something?

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32 comments
  • In fact I’m the worse person to use my memory , but I’m trying to practice to develop it by master your advices…so thank you for these advices

  • Yes. I Have method for remember iny thing this method is focusing in memorize and repeat and practice and practice yah this method i use it in few years ago when i memorize Quran i like it thank you spotlight for this topic Good bay

  • I used my memory by imagining in a pictures so it’s very useful and your tips in this spotlight so helpful..thank you so much ❤️

  • i think the most way to remember is make the info more easier by practice with other people ,if you practice you will be more professional, less mistakes.

    Thank you Spotlight English!

  • Yes , i have a special ways to remember information. First of one i am writing the things i want to be remember and the second one through teaching anything i am carful to remember for someone.

    I agree for the acronym is more suitable technique to remember a list of words because I found the benefits for this method by my friends who used it.

    • Yes,I agree with you, I am also using similar your method.
      Thanks spotlight English ❤️
      Good luck everyone❤️

  • In my case, I have used the remembering method to learn any kind of information but it results really bored if I thinking about in the interesting methods that the podcast talking about. In nowadays, I read for another kind of method to study and also remember information, it calls pomodoro method, it talks about planning your study sessions in the way that you study for 25 or 30 minutes then take a break for five minutes. You repeat the process for three time and in the fourth you take a longer break, 15 to 20 minutes I think. In resume, it’s possible people study for long periods of time with the same energy and the same level of concentration during the study process. But now I will try to research about the acronysm because it’s a good way to learn something new in a funny way.

  • 1-. Yeah, I use to write all the things that I need to learn and for me is the best way to learn better.
    2-. no I don´t want to try another metod, I love mine so…
    3-. Sometimes, I don´t know why, but yeah.
    4-. Just writting and repetting the things.

  • 1.- I make associations with things or objects to remember something
    2.- I have try study while hear music, but it never worked for me
    3.- I don´t think it´s a good learning method because memorization is temporary, it is very unlikely that you will learn something and continue to remember it long after
    4.- I belive that association with objects is useful, but above all repetition. Repeating over and over again isn´t very effiecient but it works

  • 1-. They are very simple, I usually remember things if I am repeating them for several minutes in my head, it is easier for me to remember them, although seeing them for a long time also helps me.
    2-. -. I don’t think I would, since I’m very used to mine and it’s the one that has given me the most results, so no matter how hard I try to change it, I’d always go back to mine.
    3-. Sometimes yes, but sometimes no, it is more the desire or the need to memorize things so that they have relevance in me and that way they stay longer in my mind.
    4-. Mine and not for being self-centered, but because I have already recommended it to many and they have told me that this method of writing helped them a lot to learn things.

  • 1.- Yes I do, writing on a sheet what I practice in my mind.
    2.- Can be.
    3.- Yes I do, because I just repeat them a pair of times and I quickly remember what I studied.
    4.- Studying many times what you want to memorize.

  • 1. I repeat the information and try to explain to someone else and that help me learn better.
    2. I will try associate words with something unusual, because its true is easier remember that things.
    3. I can memorize somethings, but I need repeat a lot for remember.
    4. I think the best way to memorize anything is discussing or teaching.

  • Yes i do. i said yes, but important things for me. the best way to memorize for me is to creat a history in my mind of i want to memorize.

  • I try to memorice with key words that remembers me that thing to remember
    I would try any method that works on me, i don’t have problems with that
    I was good memorizing but not to much anymore, i have less concentration
    I think that repeat on your mind the information several times and associate something with that, helps a lot

  • I usually write the new English words and the read it one time after a few hours and also I try to repeat it many time at the day this but to day I learned a really good methods

  • 1.Yes, i do, When I have to remember something I imagine the scene in my head because it helps me a lot to visualize things. When I’m studying for an exam, for example, I like to make stories with key words to help me remember.

    2. Yes, I would like to try new study techniques, maybe some other will work better for me.

    3. Yes, I do, I think I’m good because when I talk to friends or family and we talk about something that happened a long time ago I’m almost always the only one who remembers it, and finally I was right.

    4. I think the best way would be to repeat things until the brain automatically has that information available.

  • Actually I’m not so good at memorizing about me to memorize anything I used to use image in my mind to remember the things. Thank you spotlight for this topic.

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