Everyone has used a mnemonic device at some point in their life to help them remember something. When you begin your firefighter promotional exam prep, remember, mnemonic devices are a great tool to help you pass your firefighter promotional exam.
Mnemonic devices are “clues that help us remember something, usually by helping us associate the information we want to remember with a visual image, a sentence, or a word.” The key to creating an effective mnemonic device is creating a strong mental association between something you want to remember and something that is easy for you to remember. For example, a classic (acronym) mnemonic device, and probably one of the first you learn in school, is Roy G. Biv to help remember the colors in a rainbow. Red-Orange-Yellow-Green-Blue-Indigo-Violet.
Types of Mnemonic Devices
An acronym mnemonic device uses a series of letters to form a new word that represent the thing that needs to be remembered, like Roy G. Biv mentioned above. You simply create a new word based on the information you need to remember. For example, say you need to remember the names of your new crew members, Jared, Owen, Steve, and Howie. You can create the mnemonic acronym J.O.S.H. to help you remember their names.
Acrostic mnemonics are similar to acronyms except instead of creating a new word, you come up with a sentence. An example of this is My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas to remember the planets of the solar system (Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune, and the dwarf planet Pluto). So take the information from your firefighter promotional exam textbooks and create a sentence, with the first letter of each word in the sentence starting with the first letter of each word you need to remember to create an acrostic mnemonic to help you remember the information.
Rhyming mnemonics might be the most fun out there, you simply create a little rhyme to remember new information for your exam. A well known example of this is “i before e except after c” to help remember how to spell certain words. So as you are studying and figuring out where you are having issues retaining information, come up with rhymes to help you better remember and recall the information come exam day and beyond.
Taking rhyming mnemonics a step further by creating entire songs to help you remember. A common musical mnemonic used in high school chemistry is the periodic table song, “There’s hydrogen and helium,” and so on. This mnemonic may be a bit harder than just creating a rhyme but it can be very helpful if you are trying to remember a large amount of related information.
Chunking is another mnemonic method where you organize information into easier to remember groups, numbers, phrases and so on. Telephone numbers are a good example of chunking, separating one long number into smaller groups to make remembering the entire number easier, 5558976321 vs. 555-897-6321. Chunking is especially helpful when trying to remember long numbers.
Method of Loci
The Loci Method is the oldest known mnemonic on record. The loci mnemonic has you visualize yourself walking through a space and associating items in that space with information you are trying to remember, similar to a memory palace. When the time comes to recall the information come test day, you just visualize yourself walking through that space again. This mnemonic method is especially helpful to those that are visual learners.
Mnemonic devices are a great way to help you remember and recall information when you sit down and take your firefighter promotional exam. Give one of them a try as you are studying for your exam and see if you have any improvement in your memory and recall of new information.