Tag Archives: mnemonic devices

Acing finals through elaborative storage and creativity.


With finals week just around the corner, who doesn’t want a helpful way to retain information in a simple and fun way? Finals are dreadful for many, but they don’t have to be as dreadful any longer. There are a multitude of helpful study tips proven to work, but are they as fun as mnemonic’s? Mnemonic devices consolidate many benefits into one study aid. There are many different approaches to retain information through mnemonics. Students can make up allegorical stories that include exam information or use first letter schemes. In many instances, people can even include more than one mnemonic device for a certain concept. This strategy proves to be helpful as well as enjoyable because it engages the user and preserves knowledge in long term storage. When the user establishes a personal connection to the information rather than attempting to absorb the information raw, it becomes more accessible. Mnemonic devices make the perfect study device because they facilitate learning and can improve memory of material. There are many helpful examples on this website http://www.regent.edu/admin/stusrv/student_dev/docs/Downloads/Academic%20Excellence/Memory%20and%20Study%20Skills/Memory%20and%20Study%20Skills_index.pdf. 

When using study aids the type of memory that is used plays into how long the information will be stored in the brain and whether or not it will be remembered well enough for later retrieval. The mnemonic study aid couples working and long term memory together which leads to elaborate processing. Mnemonic devices use this form of rehearsal through keeping the information active in the memory while at the same time understanding the material through relatable happenings. Keeping the information relevant and relatable facilitates the movement from working to long term memory. Seeing that remembering the information and understanding it does not come solely from exposure, there needs to be a deeper understating in order to store the material. This study technique guides the information into long term storage, truly understanding and comprehending the material to its fullest potential.
This website http://benefitof.net/benefits-of-mnemonics/ goes into detail explaining why this type of study aid can be so helpful for students. Mnemonic’s are both an entertaining and beneficial way to retain important material. Using your imagination instead of memorizing material will enhance both short term and long term memory, limiting the expended energy used for studying and establishing the information in context for later retrieval. According to the article, when a person attempts to recall information, the brain activates the nerve cells in order to store the new information, which enhances the memory. By visualizing a phrase or story, it becomes much easier to recall later on for the exam. I find it easier to visualize information when taking a test then trying to remember memorized facts.

A great representation of both story-telling and first letter schemes comes from http://greatist.com/happiness/better-study-tips-test. This specific example uses a mnemonic device, which goes as follows: Phillip(P) wanted to eat(E) his friend Mary(M) but he died(D) from arsenic(AS) poisoning. Although this story seems absurd, it creates a better visual than an ordinary example that may otherwise be misconstrued as realistic. This example includes the student, his friend, and an intriguing plot line. I find that sometimes the more far-fetched the example is, the better it works. Through telling a story the student also used the mnemonic technique of first letter schemes. Using this technique can be useful when trying to retain information for math, but using a story along with it creates an even better image than using the first letter technique on its own. The images in the story are then stored in long term memory to be obtained for future reference.

I find that using mnemonic devices is more of a rewarding challenge than a way of studying.
There is so much room for creativity in a way that doesn’t otherwise present itself in other study
aids. Although other study aids are shown to work, I find that they only serve as a crutch for
short-term retention. To me, these techniques tend to feel like they are meant to be stored only in short term, working memory when the real purpose is to retain material that can be able called upon for later use. By implementing elaborative rehearsal the information is being used to for rehearsal as well as long term storage. This way the study material is put to use and used
creatively. You may even be able to remember the information to use in everyday occurrences.
Employing these mnemonic devices to study material uses less study time in the short run and
more retention in the long run. Why study to forget when you could start studying to retain?