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How to Memorize Using Mnemonic Devices

A mnemonic device is a tool used by students and teachers to aid in the memorization of facts.

Webster's Dictionary: mnemonic: assisting or intended to assist memory.

So, a mnemonic device is a method for enhancing memory. When using the term mnemonic device, most people are referring to a trick that one uses to help memorize something. Such tricks are typically alliterative or have some sort of rhyme that helps a person memorize easily.

Here are the most popular types of mnemonic devices:

  • Alliteration
  • Acronym
  • Rhymes
  • Groups
  • Numbers
  • Pictures
  • Poem/jingle (tune)

When people think of mnemonic devices, they typically think of little rhymes popular among youth. However, they can stretch to all types of the above tools for memorization. Some popular mnemonic devices from youth are those which help people remember the order of the planets in our solar system as well as the colors of the rainbow.

A mnemonic device used as a jingle and phrase.

Milky Way Galaxy order of planets (from first to last):

  1. My (Mercury)
  2. Very (Venus)
  3. Educated (Earth)
  4. Mother (Mars)
  5. Just (Jupiter)
  6. Served (Saturn)
  7. Us (Uranus)
  8. Nine (Neptune)
  9. Pizza pies (Pluto)

A mnemonic device used as an acronym.

Order of the Colors of the Spectrum (from first to last):

The name Roy G. Biv, a constant comparison to colors.

  • R (Red)
  • O (Orange)
  • Y (Yellow)
  • G. (Green)
  • B (Blue)
  • I (Indigo)
  • V (Violet)

Mnemonic devices are used not only to memorize facts for education. They also help when people are learning their surroundings. It helps putting faces with names or names with voices. It also helps when traveling in a foreign country with location and language. People with especially strong language skills will use these devices constantly, as they are extreme aid in the process of information acquisition to the brain. However, it is important not to become too dependent on these devices. You don't want to have to sing a jingle every time you say hello to your boss's spouse or have to present information in a meeting.