How to become very VERY smart

  1. Monique

    Monique 4,445
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    There must be a number of ways out there to really utilize the best of your brain power.. I recently heard the 'building a mansion with a large number of rooms to put things to be remembered inside'.

    Then there is the 'make up some really weird imaginative, the stranger the better, connections between things to be remembered'.

    What else?
  2. jcsd
  3. LURCH

    LURCH 2,507
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    I notice that these are ways to memorise things. I have found one great method of memorization to be the use puns as pnemonic devices. Also, the alliteration can be a powerfull tool, and the use of acronyms. All of these are linguistic pnemonics, and their effectiveness may very with one's particular language (as well as one's mastery of that language).

    But it should be pointed out here ni the early moments of this thread that memorization is only one aspect of intelligence. And in our modern age of data storage and retrieval, it may not be the most important aspect (which is probably why we don't build colloseums in our minds the way the Greeks and Romans did).
  4. Jag

    Jag 0

    wait a second...

    I've heard plenty to the same effect, but a *better* way to learn (or remember if you want to call it that) is to form more mental links. Knowing a "piece" of information from several different angles will lead you to the same result, without the extraneous details of something like swimming through shark infested waters to get a half cup of ginger...

    But hey, sometimes it helps :) A catchy tune with a phrase works the same incidentally, in my experience at least.

    PS - Great forum, lots to read (i'm new).
  5. Monique

    Monique 4,445
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    Welcome, Jag!!

    Yes, I know we are in a modern age of data storage and retrieval, but actually remembering the stuff from study books would be great right? Sometimes I am studying, then I find my mind is in a completely different place thinking wildly different thoughts, while still reading the book. I then look back at the part I just read, coming to the conclusion that it doesn't look familiar :P

    I found that it helps to visualize things when reading, where the visualization can be anything related to the word. It makes things SO much easier to remember and I can actually recite what was said in the paragraph without really having studied it, by coupling reading with vision.

    I just started with this technique, let's see how it goes..
  6. wolram

    wolram 3,552
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    when i read anything i have to be able to visulise it to
    remember it, no matter how much i want to remember some
    things i can not, unless it is some thing that is used
    on a regular basis, i have passed all the tests for my
    PPL, and yet i have to stop and think how to spell.
    any new way to remember things would be a godsend to me.
  7. LURCH

    LURCH 2,507
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    Ugh, I hate it when that happens!

    Yes, visualisation is a great tool. I also find it helpfull to try explaining the concepts involved. In your free time (like while you're driving your bike to class or work), try explaining the ideas you've studied to someone. The "somone" need not actually exist, because the exercise is for your own benifit, not theirs. Therefore, I strongly advocate the keeping of imaginary friends, and the habit of talking to oneself. And I mean talking out loud. There is tremendous power in words, and when you hear yourself say what you can remember of what you've studied, the words will sink in better.

    Also, when "visualising" do you try to see the litteral process, or do you form annalogies? I think analogies are another great pnemonic.
  8. chroot

    chroot 10,351
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    Let me give you my memorization tools. They are not difficult to use, and require no real effort on your part to effect memorization. Futhermore, you will remember things for many years, and will need, at most, only an occasional refresher.

    First, you generally have to get your information into a form that enables easy memorization; depending upon the information, you may choose to use any of the following tools.

    The concept of a 'peg' is fundamental in most memorization techniques. I'll give you an example: number pegs. A number peg is a specific visual image that you attach to a number. For example, my number peg for the number 9 is a balloon. The reason is simple: the numeral looks rather like a balloon on a string. My memorization tool for anything related to nine (the ninth element in a list, for example) is thus a balloon.

    To memorize the ninth element of the periodic table, which is fluorine, is simple. I pick another visual representation for fluorine. How about toothpaste, as in flouridated toothpaste? Imagine that you have a big, round, tempting balloon, and you reach up to pop it with a pin. Instead of the normal, satisfying pop, you hear a dull 'thud' and find that the explosion covers you (and the rest of the room) in thick, slimy toothpaste.

    You have just memorized that the ninth element of the periodic table is fluorine. You'll probably never forget it for the rest of your life.

    The single digit numbers, or perhaps even those up to about 20, can be turned into pegs by simply selecting a visualization based on the numeral's shape. When you get to double-digit numbers, this gets hard to do -- so, for larger numbers, I adopt a secondary approach.

    Assign the following sounds to the numbers (for English speakers):

    0: s, z
    1: t, d, or th
    2: n
    3: m
    4: r
    5: l
    6: ch, g, j
    7: k
    8: f, v
    9: b, p

    Let's memorize the 84th element on the periodic table. To make a peg for the number 84, look at the sounds: an f or v sound followed by an r sound. My peg is the word 'fire.' This is the step you must do yourself; you must select pegs that you personally find easy to recall.

    Now that I have my peg for the number 84, memorizing that Polonium is the 84th element is easy. I'll simply make a visualization for Polonium. The name makes me think, naturally, of a pole, like the sort used by firemen. You probably see where I'm going. All you have to do is remember that 84 is 'fire,' then fire naturally leads you to pole, and pole leads you to Polonium.

    How about another example? Let's memorize the 52nd element. The number 52 is an ell sound followed by an en sound. How about a lion? The 52nd element is Tellurium. That makes me think of luring. To connect them, think about standing beside a big cage in the Sahara desert, and luring a lion into it by saying 'here kitty! heeeeere kitty!' Done.

    In that memorization scheme, you are always selecting a visual representation for the number (which you do only once for each number), then another visual representation for the thing to be remembered. Finally, to link them, you imagine those two visuals interacting -- luring a lion, or firemen sliding down a fire pole. This interaction is very common in memorization techniques. The more grandiose, loud, carnal, gory, or disgusting is the interaction, the easier it will be to remember.

    If you simply have a list of things to memorize, make a visual for each one. For example, the first three US states are


    The visual I select (yours may vary) are:

    Alabama: red tide
    Alaska: eskimo
    Arizona: grand canyon
    Arkansas: trailer home

    To link the first two together, I imagine a fully-dressed eskimo standing shoeless in the breaking waves of an ocean red with algae.

    To link the second two together, I imagine a team of eskimos, still wearing their full snow gear, hiking through the grand canyon, their sweat drenching their faces. I think about how bad they'd smell.

    To link the last two together, I simply think about pushing a trailer home into the grand canyon, watching it tumble down the slope and break up into pieces. And so on...

    To give you some information on how well the techniques work, I memorized the periodic table over four years ago. I only really use it to impress people who simply think it can't be done, and therefore really only use that knowledge once every few months. There are only three or four elements that ever give me trouble, and usually a single refresher (which takes two minutes) is good for another six months or more. It's possible that if I revised the pegs for those numbers to make them a little more obvious, my error rate would fall to zero.

    I memorized the 50 states about two years ago. There are certainly a few visual interactions that are troublesome for me, but overall the technique I used there works as well as the technique I used for the periodic table.

    I know of only one other memorization technique -- the one Monique mentioned. You imagine walking in a specific course through a familiar place, like your parent's house, or your school library. You associate the things to be remembered with items in those rooms. As you mentally walk through the building, you'll recall the things in the rooms. I have not really used this method, so cannot comment on its efficacy.

    - Warren
  9. wolram

    wolram 3,552
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    this seem an exelent way of remebering, i for one am going to
    give it a try, thanks CHROOT
  10. chroot

    chroot 10,351
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    Lemme know how it goes! The periodic table is a great place to start. By the way, here are my pegs for the first 10 numbers:

    1 - a spear
    2 - a swan
    3 - a pitchfork
    4 - a flag
    5 - a boot
    6 - a golf club
    7 - a lightning bolt
    8 - a shotgun
    9 - a balloon
    10 - a baseball and bat

    All are based on the looks of the numerals -- you may find that other pegs are more memorable to you. If so, use those instead!

    If you have any trouble making a peg for a number, let me know, and I'll suggest a few.

    - Warren
  11. Monique

    Monique 4,445
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    Yes, I also memorized the period table (only the first half though, but with the masses) I memorized it like one would memorize the alphabet, with a tune and also with wording blocks:

    H He
    Li Be
    BC NOFNe
    Na Mg
    Al sip es clar (sounds a little german)
    K Ca (easily in germanic language, sound the same)
    Sc Ti
    V Cr Mn (V and Fe also sound the same)
    Fe Co Ni
    Cu Zn (dutch word: kussen (with Szech accent) (pillow), sound the same)
    Ga Ge As Se (rhyme)
    Br Kr

    the alphabet has 26 vowels (?) this one 36 :)
  12. chroot

    chroot 10,351
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    Let's compare the efficacy of your method vs. mine. I tried making songs when I was in grade school, but the songs never stayed with me after the test. I have had the periodic table in my head for years now with (literally) almost no effort. How well does your song stay with you?

    - Warren
  13. I think i chose the hard way. I remember the corsive elements, Fluorine, Chlorine have 1 deficiency in the outer electron, hence they go on the right -1. "Noble" gases have full outer shells (please don't go into quantum mechanics and all that, i nearly went crazy when the teacher described the "orbits" as actually synchronised wave patterns), they go on the end. And so on.. big disadvantage because i can't recite from the start to the end.

    Actually, now that i think about it, I memorised vertically rather than horizontally. Seemed like a good idea at the time, until I finally found out they give the table in the exam, which at that point i screamed.
  14. Monique

    Monique 4,445
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    haha, yeah. It is better to remember horizontally I guess, since it is easier to remember the masses that way.

    It is pretty easy to remember it all in an organized way. The masses didn't stay all with me though.. :( H is 1.0079 I think, O 15.9994 I know N 14.0067, P 30.9737, C 12.0107.. basically the most important ones.
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