What is Mnemonic

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Mnemonic devices are simply techniques or tricks that a person can use to help them improve their ability to remember something. Since our memory operates by connection/association, mnemonic helps to your brain better encode and retrieve important information with certain keys (e.g. image, keywords).

Mnemonic devices are not new, with some dating back to ancient Greek times. Virtually everybody uses them, consciously or unconsciously. But in WikiMnemonic, we are going to apply it to every possible subject so we can tap into the most benefits of it.

Mnemonics in WikiMnemonic[edit]

Basic mnemonic memory techniques are employed in WikiMnemonic to help you associate easy-to-remember shortcuts (such as spatial, images, color, structure, or other meaningful information) to the study contents. The techniques are not new. They have been taught in many memory books, seminars, etc. worldwide and practiced by many memory champions. See Types of Mnemonics for more information.

These techniques in fact work particularly well for public exam for its standardized structure of multiple-choice tests, which do not require special writing prowess, superior phonetic ability, or lengthy memorization. Before jumping into the content, you need to have a basic understanding of how they work with our brains. Below are the common techniques that you will see a lot throughout WikiMnemonic:

1. Association - this is the fundamental memory rule. All memory, whether trained or untrained, is based on association. Therefore, to purposely remember a new piece of information, the best way is to associate it to something you already know or remember.

2. Meaningfulness - concepts and principles alike are abstractions that are difficult to remember. There’s practically no way for most people to picture a concept or a principle without associate with other concrete objects. Therefore, the key is to make an intangible concept into tangible, meaningful, definite and concrete object. Once that’s accomplished you’ll be able to picture the item and it can be associated to the concept.

3. Absurd images - as the old saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words”. But not many people are aware of the fact that the more absurd/striking the images, the more stimulating they are to our memory “tracks”. Think of the last time you come out a cinema, the scenes most vividly left with you in your mind are always those scenes with illogical/striking imagines. To even further maximize the memory “tracks”, enlarge the images in your mind with rapid animated actions and colors.

4. Acronym - a lot of materials cover a list of items. A linking technique that comes in very useful is the acronym for memorizing a list of items. For example,

Example 1: Five Great Lakes[edit]

To remember the names of the five great lakes, picture (imagine) many HOMES on a lake. HOMES will remind you of Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior.


Five Great Lakes

Example 2: Prison Break Mnemonic Tattoos[edit]

If you have watched American TV serial drama Prison Break, you may have noticed that the famous tattoo on the main character Michael Scofield. It contains numerous memory tools and mnemonics. For example, Cute POison helps Scofield to remember a chemical formula of a corrosive substance to destroy the infirmary’s drainage as part of his escape plan.

Copper (II) Sulfate (CuSO4) + Phosphoric Acid (H3PO4)

Cute POison

Cute CuSO4 Copper (II) sulfate
POison H3PO4 Phosphoric acid
Prison Break Tattoo

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