A Conversation for Mnemonics and Other Learning Devices

Ordered lists

Post 1

Candi - now 42!

I learned this handy memory aid from a very good book about studying techniques - can't remember the name or author offhand...I will find out if any interest is expressed......(or if this posting is moderated for copyright reasons smiley - yikes).

To remember a list of ten things in order:

Each item on the list numbered one to ten has a word associated with it which rhymes with the number, as listed below:

1 - bun
2 - shoe
3 - tree
4 - door
5 - hive
6 - sticks
7 - heaven
8 - gate
9 - line (eg, washing line)
10 - hen

All you do then is use your imagination to use the item corresponding with the number in a mental picture with the thing the number rhymes with, for example, if the list was (off the top of my head)

1. coffee
2. sugar
3. bread
4. baked beans
5. milk
6. apples
7. potatoes
8. cheese
9. washing powder
10. toilet paper

you could imagine a bun (whatever kind is your favourite) on a plate with a hot steaming cup of coffee beside it (1 - bun)

then, a shoe filled with sugar (2 - shoe)

then, a tree with loaves of bread growing on its branches instead of fruit ( 3 - tree)

etcetera. (try the rest and see what mental pictures you come up with!)

The best thing to do to make sure you remember each item is spend a couple of minutes conjuring up a vivid image of the picture, getting lots of detail in so it's really memorable.....often, the more bizarre the image the more you're likely to remember it!

I used this to brilliant effect in countless exams....and of course it works just as well for lists that don't have to be in any particular order. You can also use it to impress your friends with your brilliant memory! smiley - winkeye

Ordered lists

Post 2


that book sounds like "use your head" by tony buzan.

a lot of his books are well worth reading about this subject, as is the entire subject area of mindmapping.

Ordered lists

Post 3

Candi - now 42!

That's the one - thank you, Xyroth!! Saved me the trouble of digging it out! Yes, it is a very useful book - I haven't read any of his others - maybe I will search them out, they sound interesting.

BTW - is mindmapping that other technique of his where instead of making linear notes, you draw a kind of diagram where each different aspect of the subject branches out from the centre? That was also absolutely brilliant for exam revision. smiley - smiley

Ordered lists

Post 4


yes, that is exactly what mindmapping is.

it is covered quite extensively in "the mindmap book" by tony buzan.

(do you think I seem to read a lot of his stuff smiley - silly )

Ordered lists

Post 5

The Researcher formally known as Dr St Justin

I'm sure LightHouseGirl could add a lot about Tony Buzan!

Ordered lists

Post 6


similarly you can associate each number with a"peg" to hang the item you wish to remember on, based loosely on the shape of the number i.e.
1 a pencil
2 a swan
3 in my case a loaf (3 turned on its side)
4 a sail boat
5 a hook
6 a golf club
7 a cliff
8 a curvy lady
9 used to be a tennis raquet but now I find a hot air ballon works better

so you would imagine the item you wish to remember interacting with the peg....if it was potatoes the pencil might be stabbed through it and you are trying to write with it. The more action, sounds and even smells you can include the better you remember.
To remember longer lists simply make the numbers "look" different, for example 10 to 19 are 1 to 9 but encased in ice.
You can remember lists of things even backwards or at random numbers using this method.

Personally I find the journey method best for remembering lists. For example I have a journey through my home where I peg things to remember. I always find that once I have used that particular list the new list over rides-the old.

Tony Buzan and Domonic O'Brian write brilliant books on various memory systems, including The Major system which facilitates remembering over 10,000 pieces of information

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