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The Number/Rhyme Technique
The Number/Rhyme technique is a very simple way of remembering lists of items in a specific order. It is an example of a peg system - i.e. a system whereby facts are 'pegged' to known sequences of cues (here the numbers 1 - 10). This ensures that no facts are forgotten (because gaps in information are immediately obvious), and that the starting images of the mnemonic visualisations are well know.
At a simple level it can be used to remember things such as a list of English Kings or of American Presidents in their precise order. At a more advanced level it can be used to code lists of experiments to be recalled in a science exam.
Mind Tools Mnemonic Grades: Ease of Use - very easy Effectiveness - effective Power - only codes 1-10 items without use of enhancement Learning investment - low Who should use - everyone
How to use the Number/Rhyme Technique
This technique works by helping you to build up pictures in your mind, in which the numbers are represented by things that rhyme with the number, and are linked to images that represent the things to be remembered.
The usual rhyming scheme is shown below:
1 - Bun 2 - Shoe 3 - Tree 4 - Door 5 - Hive 6 - Bricks 7 - Heaven 8 - Skate 9 - Line 10 - Hen
If you find that these images do not attract you or stick in your mind, then change them for something more meaningful to you.
These images should be linked to images representing the things to be remembered, for example a list of ten Greek philosophers could be remembered as:
1 - Parmenides - a BUN topped with melting yellow PARMEsan cheese 2 - Heraclitus - a SHOE worn by HERACLes (Greek Hercules) glowing with a bright LIghT 3 - Empedocles - A TREE from which the M-shaped McDonalds arches hang hooking up a bicycle PEDal 4 - Democritus - think of going through a DOOR to vote in a DEMOCRaTic election. 5 - Protagoras - A bee HIVE being positively punched through (GORed?) by an atomic PROTon 6 - Socrates - BRICKS falling onto a SOCk (with a foot inside!) from a CRATe. 7 - Plato - A plate with angel's wings flapping around a white cloud 8 - Aristotle - a friend called hARRY clutching a bOTtLE of wine possessively slipping on a SKATE (sorry Harry!) 9 - Zeno - A LINE of ZEN buddhists meditating 10 - Epicurus - a HEN's egg being mixed into an EPIleptics's CURe.
Try either visualising these images as suggested, or if you do not like them, come up with images of your own.
Once you have done this, try writing down the names of the philosophers on a piece of paper. You should be able to do this by thinking of the number, then the part of the image associated with the number, then the whole image, and finally then decode the image to give you the name of the philosopher. If the mnemonic has worked, you should not only recall the names of all the philosophers in the correct order, but should also be able to spot where you have left philosophers out of the sequence. Try it - it's easier than it sounds.
Applying the Number/Rhyme Technique
You can use a peg system like this as a basis for knowledge in an entire area: the example above could be a basis for a knowledge of ancient philosophy, as images representing the projects, systems and theories of each philosopher can now be associated with the images representing the philosophers names.
The sillier the image, the more effectively you will remember it - see the article on Using Mnemonics More Effectively to see how you can dress up the picture to help it stay clearly in your mind.
Once you have mastered this technique you can multiply the it using the images described in the article on Expanding Memory Systems.
The Number/Rhyme technique is a very effective method of remembering lists. By driving the associations with numbers you can ensure complete recall of all items on a list as you will know if some have been missed (because there will be holes in the number sequence).