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Combining Memory Techniques

Author: Pencil Case  Date: 28 June 2018

Combine = Supercharge

Large Lists of Information - Using memory pegs, you can remember a list of up to 100 items and often more. What you do is sort objects into groups of 5, for example cat, dog, chicken, fish and rabbit. In your minds eye, create a story based visualisation that includes a cat, dog, chicken, fish and rabbit. Now, also include "1 is gun" in that list so when it comes time to recall, you say in your head "1 is gun, the cat was holding the gun, he was shooting dogs out of the barrel the dogs guts were splattering all over the chicken, the chicken was then getting in the fish pond to wash and finally the rabbit was swallowing the chicken and fish tank whole".

Below is a list of 50 items. See if you can remember all of them by grouping, story based visualisation and memory pegs.

You might be pleasantly surprised how well you do. If you don't do so well now, keep practising. Remember, the average short term memory is only 5 to 9 items and you're trying to remember 50 items. Good luck!

  1. Cat, dog, chicken, fish and rabbit
  2. Sword, shield, armour, bow and arrow
  3. Germany, France, Britain, Poland and Russia
  4. Australia, America, Japan, Singapore, China
  5. Ajax, bleach, soap, shampoo and conditioner
  6. Soccer, cricket, tennis, golf and basketball
  7. Black, yellow, red, white and blue
  8. Jennifer, Gwyneth, Tom, Nicole and Cameron
  9. Photography, media, English, drama and English literature
  10. 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c and $1

Now close this book and see how many you can recall.

Memorising large amounts of text - It is possible to remember a whole essay, chapter etc. using the techniques above. Here are the steps:

  1. First read through the essay

  2. Pick the key sentence(s) from each paragraph i.e. the most important ones
  3. Pick the key word or phrase from each of those sentences
  4. Use the memory peg technique to remember all of the key words or phrases. You may even like to group the sentences of one paragraph under one number using memory pegs so that you remember that they go together.
  5. Now work in reverse. Write out all of the key words, expand each word into a sentence and expand each sentence into a paragraph. With a little practice, you will find it very easy to remember volumes of information.


Below are two paragraphs of text taken from the Australasian guide to debating. Using the technique above, cut the paragraph down to key sentences, then key words, then apply memory pegs and try to recall the information as best you can.

3.2 The elements of matter

(a) Logic

An argument is logical if its conclusion follows from the premise. It does not necessarily mean that the premise must be capable of being proved absolutely. While that may be the goal of philosophers, it would certainly bring an early end to the debate! Instead, debaters tend to grapple with issues that are incapable of absolute proof and their cases consist of the gradual accumulation of arguments tending towards one conclusion. For example, in a debate on the topic That capital punishment should not be allowed, the affirmative may state the following premise: that capital punishment will cause wrongly convicted, innocent people to die. The conclusion that the debater would like to lead the audience to is that because the premise is likely to be correct, weight is added to the overall proposition that capital punishment should not be allowed. Good debaters develop the premise into an argument and use evidence to show that the premise is likely to be correct.

(b) Relevance

An argument is relevant if it is likely to add weight to the overall proposition that the team is trying to prove. The proposition in turn must be relevant to the issues in contention in the debate. Relevance is especially important in debates given the short period of time available to each speaker - there is no time for irrelevance. Sometimes, adjudicators need to approach this element with an open mind, for example when assessing the first affirmative speaker's set up of the debate. While the information provided in this initial positioning stage may not be directly relevant (it won't necessarily add weight to the overall proposition), it may be crucial to the eventual success of the arguments.

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