How to memorise my notes and poems of 20 lines

by Chandan
(New Delhi, Delhi, India )

I have an average memory. It is quite tough for me to remember big notes of 2 pages or even 20 line poems. Second question is can we remember big notes by Loci method or Peg method or Link method? Please help me out.

Doug's Reply. Memory techniques are like tools in a toolbox. You pull out and use the tool that is needed for a particular job. Below are a couple examples to show you what I mean.

A few days ago, I memorized a 55-line poem call "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (also called "The Night Before Christmas") so I could recite it to my children.

To commit this poem to memory, I used simple visualization-association plus several sessions of recitation. For more about the importance of recitation, see my Best Study Skills page.

The visualization-association method can be used to tie one line of the poem to the next line, so you don't accidentally skip a line. It can also help you remember essential words and phrases within a poem.

The poem begins this way:

'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads...

When reciting (practicing) this poem, I noticed that I sometimes forgot to say the "stockings" sentence. So, using a visualization-association, I quickly created the mental image of a mouse inside a Christmas stocking.

That way, as soon as I say the line, "Not even a mouse", the image of a mouse in a stocking pops into my head. This reminds me that "The stockings were hung..." is the next line of the poem.

As you practice your poems, notice the spots where you have trouble. At those points, create a mental image that links important words in the nearby lines, or even within the same line, together.

To remember a large amount of material, such as the contents of a book, I often first employ the Phonetic Alphabet/Peg Method technique to memorize the structure.

For example, I'll use this technique to memorize the names of the chapters and the main sections of the book. This allows me to grasp the overall framework of the book and review it mentally whenever I want.

To memorize details, I'll use Rhyming Peg for short lists, Loci for long lists, and the Link method for paragraph material.

There are excellent examples of all of these memory techniques in The Memory Book by Harry Lorayne. You might want to get a copy (it's about $10 US).

Hope that helps. Best of luck to you.


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