young-girl-counting-with-fingersA mnemonic is any technique that makes learning or memorization easier.

What Is a Mnemonic?

Mnemonics are learning tools that make it easier to memorize chunks of information, to break down complicated concepts, or to study. There is some evidence that mnemonics may distill complex information into a format that is more easily processed by the mind.

There are hundreds of popular mnemonic devices, and virtually any tool a person uses to make memorizing information easier can be a mnemonic. Popular mnemonic devices include:

  • Acrostics – mnemonics that use the first letter of each item to be memorized to form a new sentence. For example, many people learn G-clef notes—E, G, B, D and F—by remembering the sentence “Every Good Boy Does Fine.”
  • Acronyms – words developed from the first letter of each item in a list to be memorized. For example, Roy G. Biv is the acronym for the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violent.
  • Rhymes and songs designed to memorize concepts, poems, names, numbers, etc.
  • Visual memory triggers such as “memory palaces.” Memory palaces are devices used in memory competitions to help participants remember long strings of data. People using this technique place each item in an imaginary house by visualizing the item in a particular location, and this house serves as a trigger for remembering the item.

Mnemonics and Education

Mnemonics are commonly used by young children to memorize strings of information, and many teachers teach their students mnemonic devices. Mnemonics work by expanding the short-term memory capacity. Short-term memory can usually only hold about seven items, but with a mnemonic aid, can hold many more. Mnemonics can also be used to encode things into long-term memory.


  1. Higbee, K. L. (2001). Your memory: How it works and how to improve it. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Lifelong.
  2. Mnemonics. (n.d.). Bucks County Community College. Retrieved from

Last Updated: 08-12-2015

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  • Heidi

    September 19th, 2014 at 10:41 AM


    Where would you get a treatment like this. My husband has ICD and has FASD. The ICD has gotten out of control and read that this helps this disorder.

    Thank you,
    Heidi :)

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