How to memorize sentences or paragraphs

by Usman

I really like your website and the memory systems that you describe. However, I noticed that many of the memory systems you present, such as the link system, work well for memorizing lists. What if I have sentences or paragraphs of notes that I want to memorize? What memory system, other than rote memorization, would you suggest?

Doug's Reply: There are not many short-cuts for memorizing long material verbatim. I use a combination of the Link method and rote memorization.

The idea with the Link method is to first select one main keyword per sentence. Then use association and visualization to connect the keywords to each other sequentially. As you run through the keywords in your mind, you will be reminded of the associated sentence.

Unfortunately, you must then use rote memorization (repetition) to memorize sentence by sentence. For a speech or something like that, try to really understand why each sentence was included.

Actor Tony Noice has some helpful advice on memorizing scripts. He advises actors to identify the "intentions" and "objectives" in their material. Understanding why a particular sentence was included really does help you remember it.

For quickly reviewing such material, I often make use of index cards. These allow me to reinforce my memory of the material simply by flipping through my stack of cards.

I have used these techniques to memorize reasonably lengthy documents such as the American Declaration of Independence in a fairly short time.

The nice thing about the Link method is there is no set limit on the number of links you can create and connect. So theoretically you could memorize very lengthy material given enough time and persistence.

And, of course, unless you reinforce the material periodically, you will eventually forget it. So if you need to retain it long-term, be sure to pull out your index cards and review them on a regular basis, at first daily, then weekly, then monthly.

Best regards,

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Nov 27, 2015
Utilization for Legal Concepts
by: Anonymous

As a law student, there is a need to memorize large quantities of rules and their application. I typically create "model answers" consisting of pages of each concept and the subsequent sentences describing the rules for that legal concept. I will usually type and retype these pages to memorize the model answers; however, I am curious if the methods in the article can address this.

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