Sometimes, especially when sitting in an exam room, you need to have some prepared ‘memory jogs’ to help remember pesky little bits of information.
Studying to understand is always going to be the best recipe for success, but there will always be certain things that your child will need to rote learn.
This is where mnemonic devices and acronyms come in.
For example, the most commonly (over) used one in biology is “MRS GREN”.
This acronym is used to help remember the 7 characteristics of life (Movement, Respiration, Sensitivity, Growth, Reproduction, Excretion, Nutrition).
This is a particularly dry example, and therefore your child will be less likely to remember it come crunch time. If they can come up with their own example they can make it fun, which will make it far more interesting to remember.
Get your teen to make their own!
You do not need to be restricted by length – they can become entire sentences too.
So, MRS GREN could become: MR Sainsbury Grows Really Enormous Nectarines.
Now picture, if you can, Mark Sainsbury sitting in his garden marvelling over the enormousness of his nectarines whilst explaining to you what the seven characteristics of life are.
Creating an image that your child can relate to and remember will increase recall and help make studying at least a little more fun.
Back when I was at high school, there was a particularly bad morning cartoon called ‘IR Baboon’.
Not only did this show entertain me while I ate breakfast, it also helped me remember for physics that voltage was equal to current times resistance (or V = IR) – because the I and R are found on the same side of the equation.
Now it’s your turn!
Maybe you can make this into a bit of a game around that dinner table tonight.
Pick any subject with a number of words or concepts that your child will need to remember. There is no subject that you can’t use.
One example could be the first 20 elements on the periodic table. Get the whole family involved and see who can come up with the best mnemonic or acronym.
We want to share the love, so if you have any exceptional examples you’d like to share please leave them behind in the comments section below.
If you really want to cheat you can go to this website which will generate you a completely random mnemonic based on letters that you enter!