How to learn to remember information better: effective mnemonics and advice from psychologists

The period before exams is a time of endless memorization of theory and practice solving practical problems. It’s good if a person spent enough time preparing in previous classes. Then, before the Unified State Exam, during the final academic year, you can repeat and consolidate information, and also write rehearsal papers based on demo versions from the Internet.

If objectively there was no time for preparation before? This happens with young athletes who spend a lot of time in training, competitions and training camps. Or a young man has only grown up sharply in his senior year and decided to come to his senses, and now he has to learn almost the entire school curriculum in a short time.

Be that as it may, there are situations when there is very little time left to prepare for the Unified State Exam, but you need to master a large amount of information. What to do in this case, what methods and techniques will help with memorization?

What you need to know about the memory device

Memory is a complex mental function with the help of which we acquire new knowledge and gain practical experience. Our world would never have become the way we see it without the incredible capabilities of our memory.

Scientists have calculated that the volume of human memory is about a thousand terabytes. At the same time, the brain requires only 20 watts of energy to process all information. This makes it the most energy efficient place to store information.

Memory includes several interrelated processes in which different areas of the brain are involved:

  1. Memorizing new information and integrating it into the general system of associative connections.
  2. Storage in long-term memory.
  3. Reproduction of material in unchanged form as needed.
  4. Forgetting information that is unnecessary and irrelevant, according to the brain.

We will consider all these processes in detail in the article “How to develop memory,” but now we will focus on memorization.

Memorization is the first link in this long chain. Any errors and interference at this stage nullify all subsequent brain work. What does this process look like from the inside?

Any information perceived by the brain causes a response in the nervous system. Neurons (specific brain cells) become excited and begin to exchange electronic impulses. Passing along nerve fibers, these impulses leave traces and form neural pathways. Most of them are subsequently destroyed, leaving only those that managed to gain a foothold.

Consolidation occurs in two cases: if the stimulus was very strong and if the signals passed along this path many times in a row. In the first case, so-called stress memorization is activated, and in the second, memorization through repeated repetitions.

Our task is to ensure that neural pathways are strengthened as quickly as possible and with the least energy consumption. To do this, you need to know some of the features of memory and use them to your advantage.

Calculate the required time

Calculate how much time it will take to learn the material, rather than starting to learn everything on the last day. To do this, determine how many topics you will teach in one day. Do not overdo it! Our body has a limit to the perception of information. The day before the exam, and even more so the night before the exam, it is better to rest and only lightly review the material.

How to learn to remember more and faster: recommendations from psychologists

Each person has individual memory characteristics. Someone, for example, is naturally good at remembering faces, landscapes and other visual images. Some people find it easy to remember information by ear, so they know all the popular songs by heart.

However, there are general patterns that are common to all people. We will look at them in the article. As well as ways and techniques for their development. I'll tell you what you need to do to better remember any information.

Understand first, remember later

The sore question of all students is: “How to learn the material so that at least something remains in your head?” The answer of psychologists: “Give up mechanical cramming.” It has very little effect, and it consumes a lot of resources. Even if you manage to reproduce the learned material at the right time, it will not stay in your head for long. Why waste time?

The brain remembers information well that evokes familiar associations or images. Unfamiliar words for him are a meaningless set of letters, which he will immediately try to get rid of. So before you try to remember something, make sure you understand every single word.

If you are learning a text in a foreign language, first translate it completely and write down unfamiliar words. If you are dealing with highly specialized information that is replete with terms, take the trouble to first find out the meaning of each of them.

Cut without losing the essence

In order to use memory more efficiently, you need to learn to cut off unnecessary information. Brain resources are limited, so it’s stupid to waste them on unimportant nonsense. Brief information before memorizing it.

At first, you may feel like there is nothing to cut off. But this is just the first impression. Clear the information of subjective assessments and emotions, remove abstract reasoning, and the very essence remains.

To practice, I advise you to create an account on Twitter and regularly post your thoughts there. The 140 character limit will help you develop brevity and conciseness.

Say out loud what you are trying to remember

This method is primarily suitable for those who have difficulty remembering visual material. When reading aloud, we receive information from two analyzers at once: visual and auditory. Accordingly, several parts of the brain are involved in its processing and such information is recognized as more important.

In addition, reading aloud requires additional concentration - you will not be able to read and think about something abstract. This means you won’t miss important details, and you won’t have to re-read it ten times. You can also record key words and phrases on a voice recorder and alternate reading with listening.

Think positively

If you try to remember something with the thought “I won’t succeed,” then you really won’t succeed. You must believe in the success of what you are doing, otherwise the whole job will turn into a Sisyphean task.

Even if there is one night left before the exam, and you have just opened your tickets, be determined to use the capabilities of your memory to the maximum. Cut off all negative thoughts and encourage your memory with pleasant words.

Do you remember how you and I learned 30 English words in a day that year? It's only the beginning! Now let's get together and deal with these tickets!

Repeat correctly

It’s not enough to memorize something once, you also need to consolidate this information. This requires repetition. Psychologists advise repeating the material in this way: immediately after memorizing, then after 15–20 minutes, then after a day and again after 2–3 weeks. This method is called spaced repetition method. Today it is considered the best.

Also, repetition requires any necessary information that you have not used for a long time, but would like to save. For example, English learned at school, mathematical formulas, capitals of states. Find time to sometimes “chase” yourself through these disciplines.

Take breaks

Memorizing new information is intense mental work. If you don't give your brain a rest, it will very quickly exhaust all its reserves. So don't forget to take breaks.

A quality break is not switching from reading a textbook to reading a news feed on a social network. It is important to free the analyzer with which you perceived information. If you read, then free your eyes; if you listen, free your ears. It is best to switch to physical activity - walk, do exercises.

You need to take breaks every hour for at least 10 minutes. Set a timer so you don't accidentally miss this time.

Think practically

Very often we have to remember abstract information that is in no way connected with the reality around us. For example, mathematical formulas, terms from the humanities.

The human brain is a very practical organ. Despite the fact that he can operate with abstract categories, he remembers more easily information that has a specific material expression. Therefore, try to connect everything that you are trying to remember with reality.

Visualize information

Graphs, diagrams, diagrams, presentations are great for remembering material. No wonder teachers often resort to them at school. Take these helpers into service too.

Just don’t bother with them too much - turn off the perfectionist for a while. It is enough if the visual materials are understandable only to you.

Choose the right time to memorize

The brain is most productive in the early morning hours - from 7 to 10. Then attention becomes dull, the mind is filled with extraneous thoughts, and we begin to get distracted. Make good use of this time. It's better to wake up early and work out for 3 hours than to sleep until lunch and then torment yourself for the rest of the day.

The second most productive peak occurs in the evening - from 8 to 11 o'clock. At this time, it is good to repeat the material already studied. Let your brain be busy processing incoming information before going to bed. When you fall asleep, this process will smoothly move to the unconscious level.

Use associations, Mind Map is perfect

Much of human memory is built on associations. For example, a certain area of ​​the city is associated with school years. Why? It contains a set of triggers: gazebos in the courtyards, a store with delicious tea, a children's playground on the school grounds. A person sees individual details, but a complete picture emerges in his head.

It's the same with associations. A large text also has details that need to be put into an outline. As you read, try to draw a picture in your head of what is happening. For works of art this works at 5+. Analytical articles, of course, are more difficult to imagine, but they are also possible. The main thing is to notice details and not skip paragraphs. Only in this way will individual passages from the text come together.

Today, a popular method for memorizing is mental maps - Mind Map. There is a clear hierarchy in it. In the center is the main topic, subtopics branch off from it, which are divided into paragraphs, subparagraphs and short theses.

How to create an effective mind map?

Take a blank sheet of paper and lay it horizontally. Then read the entire text from beginning to end. Why is this? This way you will highlight the main points in your head and understand what to pay attention to. Let's go back to the sheet of paper. Write the topic of the text in the center. From there, draw arrows to the secondary points. Now we are working on each point separately. Write down important points.

The mental map is shown more clearly in the illustration. If you prefer to make a plan on a computer, use online services. They help you create mental maps quickly and accurately. The principle remains the same: from larger to smaller.

How to remember everything: short-term and long-term memory

Effective Memory Techniques

Now let's look at some effective mnemonics.


It will be easier for you to remember a large amount of information if you make short notes for yourself. Divide the information into equal blocks, highlight key words in each of them and write them down. They will be triggers that start the associative series and help recreate data from memory.

Using the same principle, it is convenient to take notes on lectures. Don’t try to grasp everything at once and write it down word for word – you won’t succeed anyway. Listen, think about it, and write down the most important things.

Logic chains

The famous American psychologist John Miller studied the patterns of short-term memory. He found that at a given moment in time we can hold 7 objects (+/- 2) in our minds. But as it turned out, this rule can be easily circumvented.

To do this, you need to unite all objects with some common concept. It is much easier for the brain to remember meaningful, connected information than a collection of disparate elements. The easiest way is to come up with a logical, meaningful story with key words and remember it.


You've probably noticed that poetry is much easier to memorize than prose. In the very structure of the poem there are clues (rhythm and rhyme) that help us select the right words in the process of reproduction.

I still remember by heart all the exception verbs of the second conjugation in Russian that we learned in third grade. And all because our teacher figured out how to rhyme them. It turned out to be a funny poem.

Look, offend, see.

Hold and hate.

Depend, hear, drive.

Twist, endure, breathe.

So if possible, rhyme what you need to remember. For example, new foreign words, a shopping list in a store.


My dad actively uses this method. Every time before going to the store, he writes a shopping list, but does not take it with him, but makes up an abbreviation from the first letters. For example, there was: butter, cheese, apples, candy, oranges, fish, nuts, milk. And it turned out: MSYAKAROM. Thanks to this system, he always knows the exact quantity of products that need to be purchased and easily recreates them according to the first letters. The method is suitable for remembering all types of lists, as well as the names of people in large companies.

Mnemonic phrases

Mnemonic phrases are invented to remember difficult-to-remember information. And they work great! We all learned the colors of the rainbow from the phrase “Every hunter wants to know where the pheasant sits.” Here are some other fairly popular mnemonic sentences:

  1. “Kolya decided to sew a caftan, maybe it will be without flaws” - to remember the largest states (Russia, Canada, China, USA, Brazil, Australia, India).
  2. “On a frosty evening I climbed onto the cabin boy’s mast, trying to see an unfamiliar port” - to remember the order of the planets of the solar system (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto).
  3. “For every high school student with an imagination, geography is already clear” - for memorizing the G7 countries (Canada, USA, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan).

By the way, nothing prevents you from coming up with such phrases yourself. Let's create a phrase together to remember Russian cities that have a metro. These are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk. What I came up with is this: “The boy Sasha ate soup and fed the unfortunate rhinoceros.” Now you can try it too. You can change words in places - the order is not important. I'm waiting for your options in the comments!

Edge effect

This effect was discovered by the German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus. Conducting experiments to study memory, he came up with an interesting pattern. A person remembers best the beginning and end of any information.

Do you want to check? Read the sequence of words once.

Stool, nettle, ceiling, fish, tree, jacket, bee, mirror, business trip, chocolate, inspiration, queen.

Now try to reproduce this list. I bet you remember the words “stool” and “queen” well, but what about the rest? Surely many words from the middle of the list have escaped your memory.

How to use this effect during conscious memorization? Divide the information into blocks, teach the most important and difficult ones at the beginning and at the end. Distribute the rest in the middle. When memorizing large amounts of information, you can alternate - today we learn the blocks in one order, tomorrow we swap them.

Be wrong

A very interesting feature of memory was discovered by researchers from University College London. We remember better what we have made mistakes in. Statement of your own ignorance stimulates memory and gives an additional boost of motivation.

Next time, before you start learning new material, give yourself a short test. For example, write down unfamiliar foreign words and try to translate them intuitively. Naturally, you won't succeed. But the “negative” experience will help you subsequently learn these words twice as fast.

Pictogram method

Pictograms are a way of replacing words and sentences with pictures. You don't have to be an artist to do this. The simpler and funnier the pictures, the better. Children need visualization, interest, and involvement in the process. In this case, these aspects are best combined.


  • Divide large text into parts. Work with a short story as a whole.
  • Divide the board or piece of paper into two parts. On the left, write down the numbered sentences, each on a new line.
  • Read the sentences, understand new words.
  • Read each sentence separately, depicting it with the picture on the right. You can start by replacing individual words, gradually making the work more complex.
  • Close the left side. Retell the text based on the pictures an unlimited number of times.
  • Try a retelling without relying on pictures.

While getting acquainted with the game, draw pictures yourself. Then, gradually, you can involve children. This method is also suitable for adults if the material is presented in more or less simple language.

Useful literature

Of course, we have not considered all the methods and secrets of quickly and effectively memorizing information. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t fit them into one article. So if you still have questions, look for answers to them in books:

  • “How to Read, Remember and Never Forget” by Mark Tigelaar
  • “How to Remember (Almost) Everything, Always” by Rob Eastaway
  • “Where is memory? The art of remembering" Alan Lieri
  • “Train your memory” Ryuta Kawashima
  • “100% memory. 25 useful memorization methods in 10 workouts” Ekaterina Dodonova
  • “Matters of Memory” by Michel Pont

For a complete and detailed list of references, see our article “Books on improving memory.”

How to remember a lot of information in a short time

The book “Make it stick” is becoming increasingly popular - a guide to learning the ability to memorize large amounts of information. The book was written by two scientists, Henry Rudiger and Mark McDaniel, and writer Peter Brown, to explain how memory works.

In the book, the authors bring together many stories - from surgeons, pilots, gardeners, schoolchildren and university students - to illustrate their arguments about how to achieve successful learning.

The main points that can be drawn from the book are as follows:

  1. Simplify the acquired knowledge as much as possible, as this is the easiest and fastest way to assimilate it. It is necessary to throw away everything unnecessary until only the essence remains.
  2. If your goal is to speak to a large audience, arouse their interest through provocation. Make the situation absurd to draw attention to it and motivate you to find solutions.
  3. Reinforce your knowledge with specific examples for the visualization method.
  4. One of the most effective memory aids is the use of tests because people learn better when they test themselves at regular intervals. This may include low-stakes teacher-administered quizzes or self-tests.
  5. The cognitive foundation for strengthening memory is of utmost importance. While testing shows you what you know or don't know, new knowledge also causes the brain to "expand" memory capacity and strengthen its connections to what you already know, making it easier to remember in the future.

Online trainers for developing memorization skills

Finally, I decided to share with you services for memory training. There are a great many of them on the Internet, a beginner can easily get confused.


Vikium is an online platform that contains more than 100 simulators for brain development, more than 10 courses in various fields, and several interesting tests. You can develop memory, attention, thinking, logic, emotional intelligence and much more.

As part of our work on improving memory, you and I will be interested in the Mnemonics course. In 15 lessons, you will learn several effective memorization techniques, practice on special simulators, and consolidate the learned material on testing. The skills acquired in the course will help you memorize up to 100 objects per hour, keep all passwords in mind, easily learn foreign languages ​​and much more.


Bitreynika is a service with exciting games for developing brain functions. If exercises and simulators seem too boring to you, then games are what you need. They are suitable for both children and adults.

I'll tell you about my favorites:

  1. Numismatist is a game for developing the speed and accuracy of memory. You will need to memorize and compare coins of different denominations from different countries.
  2. Sound maker is a task similar to the previous one, only you will have to compare not coins, but different sounds. Auditory memory also needs to be trained.
  3. Phrasoscope - in addition to speeding up your memory, this game will also help you develop your reading speed. On the screen you will see a line in which some words will be revealed only for a while. Your task is to notice them and write them down.


The BrainApps service is simply a treasure trove of materials on brain development. There are simulators (as many as 52 of them!), developmental courses, interesting tests, problems, as well as a blog with popular science articles.

Practice on the simulators, take a course for memory development. Here you will learn not only to effectively memorize information, but also to retain it in memory for a long time.


On the 4Brain platform, unlike the previous three, there are no simulators. But there is a huge selection of courses - both paid and free. And a whole bunch of smart articles and useful books.

Start with the course Memory Development: Memorization Lessons - it is free and available even without registration. On it you will learn about the memory structure, master several techniques and learn how to apply them in practice.

If you like it, you can take an advanced paid Mnemonics course. There is a lot of practice and a well-structured, non-boring theory.

If you like the online course format, you can take a look at our selection of memory improvement courses. There you will definitely find a suitable option.

Repetition method

If you have very little time to study, and you need to quickly learn a text in English, you can use the technique of constant repetition.


  • Write short excerpts from the story on sheets of paper. It is better to use bright markers in flashy colors.
  • Hang them around the house: above the kitchen table, in the bathroom, on the mirror in the hallway, on the balcony.
  • When you visit these places or just pass by, you will see: your eyes will be “hooked” on the sentences, and what you read will be stored in your memory.

Of course, the technique itself will not work, but as an addition to other methods it will give good results and speed up memorization.


If there is no task to learn an English text by heart, but you can convey everything in your own words, a detailed plan for the future story will help a lot. It is important to understand the meaning of the text and understand what you are going to talk about, and the task must correspond to the level of language proficiency.


  • Read the text carefully, write down unfamiliar words.
  • Break the material into logical parts (introduction, key thoughts and facts, ending).
  • Select support points. Make a detailed plan for each part. Present it in the form of short points, quotes or questions.
  • Retell the text according to plan several times, looking at the original if necessary.
  • Retell the text without looking at the original, and then without using the plan.

Key points in the form of quotes can be highlighted directly in the original text, underlining them with a pencil. And write your notes in the margins.

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