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15 Quick Ways to Memorize Texts

January 6, 2016

Spine and Pencil

 

Here, in no particular order, are some ideas for how to memorize a verse or paragraph of text. I have Bible memory specifically in mind, but this could work for any text.

There are some advantages to memorizing in a corporate context. I suggest some options here. I suppose any of those could be co-opted into an individual setting, too.

You could:

  • just read the verse(s) over and over until it solidifies in your memory
  • color code the text to enhance visual associations
  • do a sentence flow or diagram where you set apart subordinate clauses–this wouldn’t have to be fancy, just a way to break up the text and see the relationships spread out
  • start by reading one word of a given sentence, then two words, then three words, etc. So memorizing John 3:16 would go like this: “For. For God. For God so. For God so loved. For God so loved the. For God so loved the world.” And so on
  • write it out! Whether you make structural relationships between components of sentences and paragraphs is optional. Writing slowly helps you to turn the words and phrases over more carefully, helping you to remember them better
  • make flash cards. If you’re learning a Bible verse, write the verse reference on one side and the verse on the other. Or the verse reference and part of the verse on side A, with the remainder of the verse on side B
  • listen to the text on audio, so you have another sense engaged
  • for that matter, record yourself reading the text, not straight through, but with reps on each verse. So you could record yourself reading John 3:1-17 out loud, but reading verse 1 five times, then verse 2 five times, and so on
  • find someone to whom you can attempt to quote the passage, asking them to stop you when you don’t get it verbatim
  • copy the single page you’re working on, put it in a Ziploc bag, and tape it up somewhere in your house where you’ll see it (bedroom, bathroom, kitchen)
  • write a song or really silly rap that helps you commit the verse to memory
  • read the verse out loud, but backwards
  • do the same as above, but writing it out
  • give yourself some signposts–if you’re memorizing a whole chapter, start by memorizing verse 1, verse 6, verse 10, etc. Then come back and fill in the rest
  • brainstorm your own list of ways to memorize, keeping it handy for when you need to change it up

I’d love to hear any additional ideas in the comments below.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. John permalink
    January 13, 2016 1:39 am

    Get a Sanskrit version of whatever you’re memorizing, then dive into Vedic memorization techniques: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedic_chant

    • January 13, 2016 8:37 am

      The krama patha method (ab, bc, cd) looks especially helpful–thanks. Though those not wanting to learn a new language from scratch just to use these techniques would be justified.

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