5 Principles of Effective Memorization

No matter what level of English you are at, one of the most important aspects of language development is the expansion of your English vocabulary – you can't speak the language without knowing what the words mean first! But how can you memorize vocabulary both quickly and efficiently? Having a proven process of memorization that takes into account linguistics and psychology can significantly increase your chances of remembering more words. We've broken down the best ways for you to improve your memorization skills for faster learning development – take a look.

 

1. Become a collector

Teach yourself to save English vocabulary words. When you come across a new word – whether that's in a lesson, an article, a film, or a song – make a habit of immediately marking it (underline, write down notes in your phone or notebook, etc.). Every day, or every few days depending on the intensity of your lessons and the volume of new words, collect the words you come across in one place which you can go through and review later

 

memorization – collecting words
How many English words do you come across in a day?

 

2. Dissect the word – how many ways can it be used?

When you come across a new word, write out the parts of speech from the dictionary. For example - help, helper, helpful, unhelpful, etc. Whether you compose lists of words or create individual flashcards, it's good to give the necessary attention to each word. Did you know that physically writing something down creates muscle memory and makes it more likely that you will remember it later? Add examples, common uses, and translations to help build a clearer understanding of each word.

If you write out words in a notebook or electronic form to help memorize them, you should divide your dictionary into two columns: your language and the English versions. If you like fash cards, use both sides of the card and quiz yourself until you remember it without looking.

 

memorization – flashcards
Flash cards and lists are valuable tools for memorizing new vocabulary

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3. Repetition is key

There isn't one universal technique to memorize new words, but it has been proven that repetition is a key element of learning. When repeating something over and over, our axons (the processes of the nerve cell that transmit the nerve impulse beyond the cell) get a stronger "isolation," transforming them into superhighways for incoming stimuli and information.

Try the Spaced Repetition method, developed and tested by Professor Alec Mace in 1932, which consists of repeating information over and over in increasing intervals. For example, if you learned a new word yesterday, then you need to repeat today, preferably at the beginning of the day. The repetition is not necessary on the second day, but only on the third day. After the repetition on the third day, you would next repeat it on the seventh day, and so on.

For some people, the audio repetition works well. You can recorder yourself saying the word on your smartphone and check your usage when listening to the recording.

 

memorization – repetition
Train your brain – writing something over and over activates muscle memory

 

 

4. Can you use it in a sentence?

Make sentences with the new words you come across. Remembering words in a context is easier than learning them in isolation. When you learn a new word, write the sentence you heard it in and the situation in which it was used. If you aren't able to write it down right away, you can find examples in the English dictionary. It's also helpful to create new examples of the word in your own sentences, this way you can make sure you are learning how to use it correctly.

 

memorization – writing sentences
Try creating a few of your own sentences to see if you understand how the word works

 

5. Read, read, and read some more

Reading is a wonderful space for encountering new words. This is where you see a word in its natural habitat and will be able to fix it in your memory. Audio books are a great tool for this as well. It may sound a bit over-the-top, but if you listen to the audio book and follow along with the written text, you'll hear how all the words sound and how they fit into sentences. This will embed certain terms into your memory without you even realizing that they are there!

 

memorization - reading
Put your new vocabulary into practice – the more you read the easier it is to memorize words

 

Tell us about your experience learning new English vocabulary? Have you come across any of these memorization tricks before? Share with us in the comment section below.

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