The Memorization Trick

That’ll Help You Get Straight As

Throughout high school and college, I used every memorization trick in the book to remember content for classes. I used flashcards, mnemonic devices, weird color-coding strategies…. seriously, I tried just about everything. For the most part, I was successful! However, it didn’t come easily. I spent hours upon hours memorizing facts and figures, only to forget it immediately after my exam. Sure, I was grateful that I could memorize information in order to pass a test, but I also felt like a fraud. I wasn’t actually retaining the information, despite the hours I spent cramming it into my head.

That’s why I was particularly interested in this Ted Talk given by Ricardo Lieuw On, all about the memorization trick he uses to memorize a lot of information in only a little bit of time. He’s sharing his secrets after he realized how well they worked for him – while in college, he was able to reduce his average study time from three hours to one hour!

I think the entire Ted Talk is fascinating, but if you don’t have 16 minutes to spare, fast forward to 6:05. Lieuw On walks his audience through a memorization technique, so close your eyes and participate as well. And if you think his words sound a little bizarre… don’t worry, they make sense at the end.



Crazy, right? Lieuw On explains, “When you make bizarre images to memorize, suddenly it becomes a lot easier. If you tie these bizarre images to a place you know well, like your body, suddenly memorizing things in order becomes a lot easier.”

My mind was blown. In my academic career, I spent so much time memorizing historical events and physiological processes and foreign language vocabulary. Every time I took an exam, I crossed my fingers and hoped that thing I memorized would magically *pop* into my head when I needed it. With Lieuw On’s trick, acing exams become less about luck and more about thinking through your own funny “story” that you created to memorize the content. If you have any sort of imagination, you can recall the information you need, when you need it.

Lieuw On’s video has over 2.5 million views on YouTube, so I’m clearly not the only one who thinks it’s a useful trick to keep in your pocket. One commenter even added his own thoughts: “I learned this when I was in college back in the early ’90s. It absolutely works and, believe it or not, the more you use it, the faster you can memorize. Your brain will remember 10x more than you think IF you use the correct technique. I went from flunking a Sr. level class to 94% in one semester. I used it at the beginning of this video and got all my words right lol. I once impressed a table of 20 people by naming them all at the end of the event. Creativity and imagination are the keys. Research this more and have fun.” 

Hopefully, it helps you during this coming school year!

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