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What is Mnemonics?

Mnemonics are memory devices that help learners recall larger pieces of information, especially in the form of lists like characteristics, steps, stages, parts, phases, etc. We knew back in 1967 from a study by Gerald R. Miller that mnemonics increased recall. He found that students who regularly used mnemonic devices increased test scores up to 77%!

Many types of Mnemonics exist and which type works best is limited only by the imagination of each individual learner. The 9 basic types of mnemonics presented in this handout includes

1. Music Mnemonics

Songs and jingles can be used as a mnemonic. A common example is how children remember the

alphabet by singing the ABC’s.

2. Name Mnemonics

The first letter of each word is combined into a a new word. For example: VIBGYOR (or ROY G BIV) for the colors of the rainbow or HOMES for the Great Lakes.

3. Expression or word Mnemonics

The first letter of each word is combined to form a phrase or sentence –

4. Model Mnemonics

A model is used to help recall information.

5. Ode Mnemonics

The information is placed into a poem or doggerel, — e.g. ‘Note soccer, genre, liberi, and Liber god of revelry, like pure these retain the ‘e (most Latin nouns of the second declension ending in -er drop the -e in all of the oblique cases except the vocative, these are the exceptions).

6. Note organisation Mnemonics

The method of note organisation can be used as a memorisation technique.

7. Image Mnemonics

The information is constructed into a picture — e.g. the German weak declension can be remembered as five ‘-e’s’, looking rather like the state of Oklahoma in America, in a sea of ‘-en’s’.

8. Connection Mnemonics

New knowledge is connected to knowledge already known.

9. Spelling Mnemonics

An example is “i before e except after c or when sounding like a in neighbor and weigh”.

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