If you have a hard time memorizing large amounts of material for school or work, there are several techniques that could help.
1. Give it some meaning:
Information is best processed when you apply some kind of meaning to it. For example, to remember random words “baby, chicken, music, tennis shoes”, you can imagine a baby in tennis shoes dancing the chicken dance.
2. Mnemonic Devices:
Rhyming, acronyms, songs, associations, anything that helps you remember the order of the words. A wonderful example of this is a poem to remember the number of days in each month:
Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November;
All the rest have thirty-one
Excepting February alone:
Which hath but twenty-eight, we find,
Till leap year gives it twenty-nine.
Memorization with flashcards cannot by any means compare to any of the methods above or below. Mindless memorization can get you through only for a short period of time: if you do not understand the material, you will not remember it in the long run. However, if the time is pressing and you must remember tons of keyterms and formulas, this would be a good way to go!
Organize the new information into categories, map the concepts in your mind and link them to understand which concept leads to another. You can use charts, diagrams, or even the outlining note taking methods to connect all the dots in your mind.
For long lists of numbers, group them into 4’s or 5’s.
Come up with an image that goes along with the material. I’ve watched a great Ted Talk a few weeks ago, and oddly enough I still remember some of the things the speaker said because he associated them with weird images. Watch the video:
6. Method of Loci
This is a very interesting way to remember information and one of the oldest mnemonic devices. “This method was developed by the poet Simonides of Ceos, who was the only survivor of a building collapse during a dinner he attended. Simonides was able to identify the dead, who were crushed beyond recognition, by remembering where the guests had been sitting. From this experience, he realized that it would be possible to remember anything by associating it with a mental image of a location.” You can read more about it here: Health.HowStuffWorks
How do you guys memorize your class information?