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Mnemonic Devices

These devices depend on connections that you make in order to remember the information (Pauk, 1997). You need to personalize the connections in order to recall the information or they will not help recall. If you make the connections absurd, exaggerated, unusual, or personal the recall will have a greater impact and therefore be easier to retrieve.


Acronyms are words created by using the first letters from each item to create a new word. For example, HOMES is a classic acronym for the Great Lakes: Michigan, Huron, Superior, Ontario, Erie. Create your own acronyms for information you need but find difficult to remember. Use the following steps

  1. List the terms that you want to remember.
  2. Underline the first letter in each word.
  3. Arrange the letters in an order that creates a word.

Acronym Sentences

An acronym sentence, or acrostic, is a sentence created from the first letters of each item that you want to remember. An acronym sentence is formed by using the first letters of the words that correspond to the material. Let's continue using the information from the previous example. If you need to learn the names of the Great Lakes in their order from east to west, the acronym will not work. However, creating a sentence such as Otto Eats Ham, Meatloaf, and Snakes will help recall the lakes in the desired order: Ontario, Erie, HUron, Michigan, and Superior.


There are many well-known acronym sentences that are used to remember such common information as the human skeleton, musical scale, and even the planets in the solar system: My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas stands for Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto



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