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Techniques Memory methods > Rehearsal

Usage | Description | Example | Discussion | See also



Use to fix memories firmly in your mind.


Make memories stick by practising and repeating the things you want to remember.

When you have committed something to memory, whether by normal 'remembering' or with a specific memory method, build a schedule of repeatedly calling the memory to mind. Typically this is frequent at first and gradually tapering off as the memory embeds itself.


A sales person wants to remember the name of a person he has just met.

  • He repeats the name immediately he is told this, whilst using another method to create a visual link with the person.

  • Then he finds excuses to repeat the person's name twice more during the conversation (it would look strange if he used it too often).

  • As soon as the conversation ends, he makes a quick note of the person's name and a few extra facts about them.

  • During the evening, he glances around, repeating silently to himself the names of the people he has met.

  • As they are leaving, he bids the person farewell by name.

  • The next day he reviews the names of people he met the day before, checking his notes if he has forgotten.

  • At the weekend he reviews and rehearses the list of people he met that week and the week before.

  • At the end of each month, the last month's list of people is repeated.


Our brains are particularly susceptible to repetition and rehearsal plays to this mechanism of creating and awakening patterns. This is something that young children know as they recite their multiplication tables in school.

It is one thing to put something in your memory and it is something else to get it back out again when you want it. Memory techniques help encode things in a way that is easier to recall, but they are only half the story. Practice in pulling things out again teaches the brain the patterns for the reverse route.

We tend to remember either recent things or things from long ago. Early rehearsal helps stop that annoying short-term forgetting, whilst continued rehearsal greases the tracks for easy later recall.

See also

Using repetition


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