Saturday, September 4, 2010

Nifty Memory Tools

Since late June this year, I have embarked on the journey to improve my memory. I used to pride myself with an enormous memory which has enabled me to ace History and Literature in my "O" Levels. It may be umpteenth years ago but victory was certainly memorable and has a sweet aftertaste. Probably due to neglect and to some irony the prevalence of modern day technology, a coat of rust formed on my once well-oiled memory.

Then through my Toastmasters Meeting, I met Nishant - a world record memory holder. He was not bornt with great memory but he trained himself to remember. Inspired, I picked up some skills from Nishant from his book.

Allow me to also avail you the key to unlock your memory capacity.

Rule number 1: This is the most important rule of all and it is given to you as an acronym - CARR. Connect, Associate, Recall and Review. Using this rule, you will be able to remember a list of things e.g. a shopping list. However, you will first need to "connect" two items with each and another. Then "associate" through imaging some action between the two. Thereafter, you try to recall and review on which are the items which you have difficulty remembering. The latter is usually due to weak association so you may want to change the association.

Rule number 2: Building upon rule number 1, we could use the Number Shaping or Rhyme Technique to help us remember a list of 10 or more items. What's more, we can remember the items in exactly the same order!

I prefer the Number Shaping Technique which uses the shape of the number to create an image. We then connect the image with the word we want to remember. I use this technique to good effect to remember my boys' spelling list - up to 15 words and give them spot test whenever we are.

The images to the numbers 1 to 10 are:

1 - Candle
2 - Duck
3 - a pair of glasses
4 - Yacht
5 - Hook
6 - Hockey Stick
7 - Street Lamp
8 - Hourglass
9 - Balloon with a string
10 - Baseball bat and ball

Let me explain the how to by using an example. The simile/metaphor list of my boy.

1. As light as feather - Imagine a feather floating on top of the candle. The feather is very light and is buoyed by the hot air above the candle
2. As regular as clockwork - Imagine a duck carrying a clock swimming on the lake.
3. As short as two planks - Imagine a boy wearing a pair of spectacles with two planks of wood. Excruciating!
4. As beautiful as a rose - Imagine Cindella (beautiful) on an yacht holding a rose.
5. Like a bear with a sore head - Imagine a hook on a bear's head - hence it has a sore head!
6. Like a bull in a china shop - Imagine a bull holding a hockey stick and breaking all the china in the china shop.
7. Like a cat on hot bricks - Imagine a cat on a street lamp with hot bricks on top.
8. Like a sack of potatoes - Imagine a sack of potatoes on the upperpart of hourglass.
9. Like a lamb to the slaughter - Imagine a lamb in the balloon and being pulled by the string to the slaughter.
10. Like a knife through butter - Imagine the baseball bat is like a knife that cuts through the ball (butter).

The above represents the Connect and Associate portion. If you want to commit it to memory, you will have to do the Recall and Review as well.

Try it! My elder boy has used it to good effect. It may seem very difficult at first but once you master it, you will be on the way to fantastic memory. Remember, practice makes .... better!

I am now learning the Ultimate System to remember long strings of number. Basically, it is a system whereby numbers are converted into images and then we use rule number 1 again to create the association. So far, I have managed to use the system to remember those difficult to remember 8-digit telephone numbers. It is like learning a new language - only now, it is simpler and fun :)

For those with children, you can share this set of tools with your children. For me, my P3 boy is ready but not my P1 boy - in time to come, he will be ready too. This is a life skill, it will definitely be helpful to help them ace that examination without stress. Not to mention, it will also be helpful to us to up our productivity at work.

1 comment:

bp said...

I have no doubt both your boys are benefitting from your wisdom and I love your keep learning and sharing spirit! Keep going, Aileen!!! Thanks for dropping by and with your well-wishes, always glad to hear from you!