Need help remembering things? Give mnemonics a try.

Mnemonic devices can help with memory retention and make test day a whole lot easier. Whether it’s for school, work, or anything else, these tricks help you remember information by breaking it down into rhymes, poems, word and visual associations, or acronyms. It can also help with neurological and developmental challenges such as dyslexia, AD/HD, concussions, and more.

Mnemonics are created for spelling, math, geography, physics, chemistry, music, literature, and much more. Everybody is familiar with “30 days hath September, April, June, and November …” Then there’s the infamous “I before E except after C,” which, let’s face it, isn’t that great of one!

Mnemonic devices include things like:

  • Visualizing with keywords
  • Chunking works by grouping smaller sections together (like with a long number, phone numbers, etc.)
  • Acronyms
  • Rhymes
  • Songs

Here are some mnemonic devices to add to your routine:

States That Border Virginia

  • "Mustard With Ketchup Tastes Nasty" – Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina

Difference Between Stalagmites and Stalactites (Cave Formations)

  • StalaGmites = on the Ground
  • StalaCtites = on the Ceiling

The Great Lakes

  • HOMES – Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior
  • "Super Man Helps Every One" – Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, Ontario
    • This is also their location from west to east and the order from largest to smallest!

The Planets

  • "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nuts" – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune

First 5 Books of The Old Testament

  • "God Equals Light, Not Darkness" – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

4 Compass Directions

  • "Never Eat Soggy Waffles" – North, East, South, West

Coordinating Conjunctions in English

  • FANBOYS – For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So

The Signs of a Stroke

  • FAST
    • Face – Has the victim’s face fallen on one side?
    • Arms – Can the victim lift both arms and keep them up
    • Speech – Is the victim’s speech slurred, or can they say a simple sentence?
    • Time – It’s time to contact 911

Boat Navigation

  • "Red, Right, Return" – Red markers are to the right as you’re returning from sea

First 8 U.S. Presidents

  • Will A Jolly Man Make A Jolly Visitor?
    • George Washington
    • John Adams
    • Thomas Jefferson
    • James Madison
    • James Monroe
    • John Quincy Adams
    • Andrew Jackson
    • Martin Van Buren

How to Create a Mnemonic Device

  • Use the first letter or a keyword of whatever you’re trying to remember.
  • Write it down.
  • Repeat this step for every item.
  • Make up a sentence (It works best if you follow the KISS acronym—Keep It Simple, Stupid. If it’s odd, silly, or weird, all the better to remember it).
  • Keep reading and writing the sentence until you’ve memorized it.

If you need help improving your memory or boosting cognitive performance, give Plasticity a call.

Have you ever used a mnemonic device to help remember something? Do you have a favorite one? Let us know in the comments.