Tips on Memorization

Gwen Compton-Engle
Department of Classics

  1. Do small amounts, very often.
    • Three focused 15-minute study times per day, not one two-hour session.
    • Don’t try to memorize fifty words in one sitting; try six or eight words.
    • Recognize when you are overloading your brain, and back off.
    • Go back and repeat things often to reinforce what you’ve already learned.
  1. Find ways to make memorization part of your daily routine.
    • Tape vocabulary lists to your mirror or on the wall next to your bed.
    • Study vocab while waiting in line at the caf.
    • Recite words and phrases to yourself while working out or in the shower.
    • Make vocab lists appear every time you start your computer.
  1. Get as many senses as possible actively involved.  Don’t just look at the words and think that you’re learning them.
    • Say the words aloud.
    • Listen to the words.
    • Write the words down.
    • Visualize the object or action that the word represents.
    • Make up a song containing the words.
    • Use computer drills.
  1. Put the words in a context.
    • Make them part of a phrase or sentence.
    • Group them with other similar words.
    • Connect the words with an English derivative or cognate.
    • Use any crazy associations your brain creates.

Differences between classical and modern languages

            We don’t do conversation: no native speakers

            We focus on being able to read ancient literature

            Traditional grammar-based method: logical, systematic

                        Even if you get nothing else out if it, at least you’ll know nouns and verbs

Differences between high school and college

            It goes a lot faster

            Class time won’t be enough for memorization

Get help FAST if you fall behind: language is cumulative

            Student-led review sessions

            Profs

            ASC tutoring