Flash cards

Flash cards are a good study aid for almost any subject. Keep them in an old shoebox and quiz yourself on material for a test. Just writing something down really helps you remember it.

Collect index cards, two pens (one thick, one thin), and the information you need to learn. Write a question on one side with a thick, bold marker. Then write the answer on the back with a thin pen (so you won't be able to see the answer through the card).

Examples:

1. Math
Front: What is 6 x 12?
Back: 72
2. Science
Front: What are the 5 senses?
Back: Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste,
and Touch

3. Vocabulary
Front: What is the definition of "plethora"?
Back: Excess or a lot extra
*It's also helpful to write a sentence or two using the word on the back of the card. Example: "We have a plethora of cereal in our pantry. We never, ever run out!"

Mnemonic Devices

"Mnemonic" looks like a crazy word, but it can help you remember how to spell or recall the order of a grouping. Usually it's a made-up phrase or a word created from the initials of what you want to remember. Each letter of the mnemonic represents one letter in the word, making it easy for you to recall information. Here are some popular mnemonics — it's also fun to make up your own!

 

Who is Roy G. Biv?
He's the Leprechaun whose name spells the colors of the rainbow.
(Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet)

 

Spell "rhythm" by asking yourself: What does rhythm help you do?
Rhythm Helps Your Two Hips Move

 

How can you remember the directions on the compass? There are two ways.
1. To memorize the different names, remind yourself that the NEWS is reported from all directions.
(North East West South spells "NEWS")

2. To memorize their order, remember them by food:
In the North: Never Eat Soggy Waffles
In the East: Never Eat Shredded Wheat
In the South: Never Eat Sour Watermelon
In the West: Never Eat Salty Wontons

 

What are the five Great Lakes? They're the lakes where you'll find great HOMES.
(Huron Ontario Michigan Erie Superior)

 

Name the planets of the solar system in order, starting with the one closest to the sun.
This is a tough one, but a mnemonic helps. Ask yourself how an astronaut acts during space exploration.
Answer? Most Very Excited Man Jumps Soon Upon New Planet, or "MVEMJSUNP."
(Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto)

Repetition

This one is easy: repeat, repeat, repeat. Just keep repeating what you need to know over and over again. After all, what are a few definitions for vocabulary words when you know all the lyrics to your favorite CD?

Songs

Snappy melodies can make remembering words fun and easy. Just don't start singing out loud during your spelling bee!

Here's a favorite tune from a favorite book:
Mrs. Difficulty, from Matilda by Roald Dahl

Mrs. D, Mrs. I, Mrs. FFI,
Mrs. C, Mrs. U, Mrs. LTY!

That spells "DIFFICULTY"!

Try making up your own catchy songs for tough spelling words.

Picture the Definition

Sometimes it helps to "see" a word by assigning an action to it. When you have trouble defining a verb, imagine what it's doing. For example, when you have to define "hover," picture the letters floating in the air like a spaceship.

Drawing up an image in your head can help with other bits of information. If you have trouble remembering state nicknames for instance, just picture the nickname as a part of the state.

 

The Sunshine State-- Picture a sunny beach with seashells spelling "Florida."

 

The Buckeye State-- Imagine two eyes in the place of the two "o" letters in "Ohio."

 

The Ocean State-- Visualize an island in the middle of an ocean. The only state with the word "island" in it is "Rhode Island."

 

The Volunteer State-- Remember that the "ee" in "volunteer" goes with the "ee" of "Tennessee."

 

The Silver State-- Imagine silver coins in slot machines of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Cara Pitterman can never remember when the War of 1812 occurred.