Top 10 Association Tips for Remembering

Modified on by Amanda Moritz-Saladino

Top 10 Association Tips for Remembering

We’ve all had those moments when we can’t seem to remember whatever we were just trying to learn! It is frustrating when we can’t remember what we want to, but don’t worry! You can do a lot to improve your memory so that next time you need to learn something and retain it, you’ll be able to remember.

One tip that is the basis for the rest that you can start digesting now: make associations.

Remembering Better

Why Associations Work

Associations between the new thing you are learning and something you already are familiar with will help you deepen your understanding of the new thing. You can form stronger memories, thus better remember the new concept, if you start off with lots of connections to the new concept. What do I mean?

Your memories are in a network. There are connections between your memories and when you activate one, you can activate the others connected to it. The more connections you have to the thing you’d like to remember, the more likely it is that one other thing will activate the “node” which is the memory you need.

10 Tips for Remembering from How-To-Study

So, to help you strengthen your memory network and remember better, it helps to get the best advice possible. Remembering is a tricky business.  We can remember some things easily yet cannot seem to remember other things.  We remember some things throughout our lives, while others things seem to come in one door in our mind and go out the other.
There is no “magic pill” for remembering, but here are some association tips that can help:

  1. Try to understand the information you must remember.  Understanding the information will allow you to relate the information you must remember to what you already know.
  2. Try to form an association between the information you must remember and a person, place, object, situation, or emotion.
  3. Frequently recite the information you must remember or write it several times.
  4. If you must remember a large body of information, try to break up the information into smaller, more manageable categories.  Then work on remembering the information in each category separately.
  5. Create a graphic organizer for the information you must remember.  It is easier to remember information that is organized than to remember information that seems to be all over the place.
  6. Try to bring a personal touch to the information you must remember.  Relating the information to something about you will make it easier to remember.
  7. Try to form a picture in your mind of the information you must remember.  Visual imagery is a powerful tool for remembering.
  8. Try to apply what you must remember. For example, if you are trying to remember the meanings of some new vocabulary words, use the words in your speaking and writing.
  9. Test yourself.  A good way to do this is to write a question about the information you must remember on the front side of an index card and the answer to the question on the back. Use as many cards as you need.  Look at the questions, try to answer them, and then check to see how you did.
  10. Try to make remembering a fun activity by creating games using the information you must remember.

Remembering is not just something you must do in school.  It is something you must do in all aspects of your life. We can all do it better. Another great trick for remembering is to use flashcards, and Brainscape’s revolutionary digital flashcards platform is a great tool for learning languages, sciences, test prep, and dozens of other subjects!


Brainscape is a web & mobile education platform that helps you learn anything faster, using cognitive science. Join the millions of students, teachers, language learners, test-takers, and corporate trainees who are doubling their learning results. Visit or find us on the App Store .


Andrew Cohen 8 years ago

I like how you focus on associations between concepts that are actually part of the subject at hand, rather than coming up with some obscure mnemonic imagery that has nothing to do with it.  Mnemonics are so overratted!  I'd rather not have to remember 2 things for every 1 topic if I can avoid it . . . .

Ines Hijazi 5 years ago

I like the fact that you advocate that remembering is all about technics and methods!

Cosmo Centre 4 years ago

Do games have same potential to increase our memory power?
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