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How to learn boring facts The key to understanding memory techniques is to know that some kinds of information are much easier to remember than others. Nobody forgets being attacked by a kangaroo or kissing Scarlett Johansson, but recalling what we had for lunch last Tuesday is generally much trickier. We all remember Henry VIII with his six wives and enormous fatness much more clearly than Henry VII with his solid marital life and commendable economic initiatives. There's no surprise here: we remember what is interesting, vivid, unique and amusing. The problem especially when it comes to exam revision is that much of what we learn is by no means "interesting, vivid, unique and amusing". Or at least until we've understood it a bit. No one greets the distinction between an alkene and an alkane with a sense of surprise or delight. When we're first told that the Spanish word for narrow is estrecho, it probably doesn't make us laugh out loud or fire up Facebook to share the news with our friends. But one effective way to make these facts more interesting is through the use of mnemonics, or specifically in this case 'mems' a kind of visual memory aid. Mems aim to forge vivid connections in the mind between concepts that we may experience as meaningless. They aim to take connections that are difficult to remember (the link between two names; the connection between a technical term and its meaning; the meaning of a foreign word) and transform that connection into a form which we are good at remembering. They do this often via wordplay, combined with vivid imagery. How does it work? Let's imagine I'm trying to remember that Riyadh is the capital of Saudi Arabia. This is tricky, because Riyadh and Saudi Arabia have no real detail (in my imagination, at least) they're basically just sounds, so entirely unmemorable. How to link them together vividly? One user of online learning platform Memrise suggests we imagine Amy Winehouse singing "They tried to make me go to Riyadh, and I SAUDI no, no, no". Because I know the song, this immediately summons a comic and memorable image into my mind. The capital of Equatorial Guinea is Malabo. Another user has created an image of a cigarette puffing guinea pig with the caption "Around the EQUATOR, the GUINEA pigs usually smoke MARLBORO." The comic image acts as bridge in the mind between the country and its capital, between Equatorial Guinea and Malabo. Imagine it clearly, and the memory sticks. When you next meet someone from Equatorial Guinea, the chances are that the image of a cigarette smoking guinea pig will pop into your mind, and you'll be able intelligently to inquire whether they live in Malabo. An enormous amount of knowledge, both taught in school and elsewhere, is in the form of factual connections. Words connect to definitions, chemicals to their formulae, countries to their capitals, battles to their generals, Kings and Queens to their dates or reigns and so on. The key is to make these connections and a huge proportion of them can benefit from the use of mems. To explore this approach, try our first challenge on Memrise: a course for every country and capital in the world. You can also battle other Telegraph readers on the leaderboards to see how well you've learned. Over the course of the next week weeks, this blog will explore different ways to use memory techniques to make revision quicker, more effective and more enjoyable. As we approach the Easter holidays, we'll target these challenges directly at GCSE and A level exams.