A lot of people who think they have a bad memory are just not remembering in the right way. So how do you remember well?

Some subjects require a large degree of memorisation. Facts, figures and quotes need to be remembered in specific order. However, revising by remembering words and the order in which they occur is not the most effect way.


There are lots of different techniques. Here are a few:


When someone says the word ‘monkey’ to you, do you see the word ‘monkey’ in your head or think of the image of a monkey? The vast majority of us think visually so why do we try and remember in words? When revising, one technique is to try and visualise what you are trying to remember in pictures. Create a story around it and make big, memorable visuals from that story; they can be exaggerated, funny or disgusting. Linking emotions and visuals together is even more effective.


If you are trying to remember something in a specific order, link the objects or events together and in a fun way, again using exaggeration, humour and surprise. You will be more likely to remember the list. Here’s a quick test to try. Firstly try to remember these words in order. Give yourself 30 seconds to look at them, then look away and try and write them all down.

1. Monkey

2. Scissors

3. Sausage

4. Hat

5. Umbrella

6. Sausage

7. Telephone

8. Clown

9. Space hopper

10. Balloon Now use the linking technique.

Linking works by allowing you to join together visual images of the things you are trying to memorise, so rather than trying to remember several different things you remember one big thing. This time link the words together using fun, graphic and exaggerated imagery. For example; Monkey/ scissors You are at a zoo there is a monkey in a cage having his hair cut with scissors.

Scissors /sausage You buy some scissors from a shop to cut up extra-large sausages you ordered but didn’t realise how big they were, they are a foot long and a foot wide. Sausage/hat You need to make a hat for an Easter fair and want to be different so you dangle sausages from the brim. Each image links to the preceding one. Take time to visualise and have fun with the process. You can give this a go with up to twenty words and it will work.

Linking is a fun, effective and easy memory trick which children and young people love.

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