Whether you can recall the name of everyone you have ever met or you just lost your keys for the fifth time this week, using mnemonics can help keep brain fog at bay. Here are 11 tips to keep in mind the next time you want to commit something to memory.
1. PINTS, POUNDS, TABLESPOONS, AND TEASPOONS
We’ve all been there. You pull out the recipe, start portioning the ingredients, and then realize you don’t have all the measuring tools you need. To make matters worse, you can’t remember how to convert the measurements. Avoid a disaster (or an internet search) by citing these memory-jogging mantras:
“One big T equals teaspoons three,” meaning 1 tablespoon is equivalent to 3 teaspoons.
“A pint’s a pound the world around,” meaning both a pint and a pound are measurements of 16 oz. Just keep in mind that doesn’t mean they are same weight: A pint is 16 fluid ounces (which is a measure of volume) while a pound is 16 dry ounces (which is a measure of weight).
2. IS IT A COLD OR THE FLU?
Feel a cough coming on but are not quite sure how severe it is? The cold and the flu share symptoms (i.e. sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and cough) and, initially, it can be tough to tell the difference. Remedy the problem with this memory trick: To identify the Flu, know the FACTS: fever, aches, chills, tiredness, and sudden onset.
3. WHEN DID THE CIVIL WAR END?
The sentence “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue” probably made an appearance in one of your grade school history classes. Use a similar trick to recall the year the Civil War ended: “When the union did survive, 'twas eighteen hundred sixty-five.”
4. POISON IVY
Planning an outdoor adventure? Identify and avoid poison ivy with this catchy phrase: “Leaflets of three, let it be.”
5. A SIMPLE RECIPE FOR RICE
Some recipes may call for 1½ cups of water, but if you don’t have cooking instructions on hand, this rhyme will do: “Cooking rice? Water’s twice.” Cook one cup of rice with two cups of water.
6. HOW TO TREAT SOMEONE IN SHOCK
In the case of an emergency, remembering this saying could save a shock victim: “If his face is red, raise his head. If his face is pale, raise his tail.”
A red face could mean too much blood is rushing to the victim’s head, and raising it should help. On the other hand, a pale face can mean that the shock victim isn’t getting enough blood to the head and lifting his or her feet will help increase blood flow.
7. HOW TO SET THE TABLE
Make Emily Post proud. Ensure that you are placing the utensils on the correct side of the plates while setting the table with this tip: The number of letters in the words for common utensils correspond to number of letters in left and right. Left and fork both have four letters, while right, knife, and spoon all have five.
Also, if you make the “OK” symbol with your hands (you form a circle with your pointer finger and thumb and raise the rest of your fingers) and hold them up in front of you, you’ll see that your left hand resembles a lowercase b while the right looks like a d. The b tells you that you place your bread plate to the upper left of the dinner plate, and the d reminds you that your drinking glass is to the right.
English can be a confusing language, especially when autocorrect isn’t there to help. While you probably know “I before E, except after C,” it can be hard to remember other spelling rules. Here are a few tricks:
If you’re frequently tempted to use an A when writing out the word cemetery, think “She screamed ‘EEE’ as she passed by a cemetery.”
It’s also easy to confuse stationery (writing paper) and stationary (something that’s not moving)—unless you remember that “stationery is for a letter.”
Placing cut flowers in a vase? Use this rule of thumb: “The harder the stem, the hotter the water.”
10. BILLS, BILL, BILLS
Recalling which prominent U.S. statesman is portrayed on each denomination of the dollar bill is as easy as remembering this sentence: “When juries lack honor, justice gets forgotten, making criminals miss correcting wrongs.” The first letter of each word represents the last name of a man whose portrait is (or was, seeing as many of these bills are out of circulation) on a U.S. bill, from $1 to $100,000.
11. THE GREAT LAKES
Can you name the interconnected freshwater lakes that cover more than 94,000 square miles in North America? Think “HOMES” (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior).
Armed with these handy tricks, you just might be ready to take on the pint-sized geniuses of Lifetime’s Child Genius: Battle of the Brightest. Tune in to the season premiere Thursday, January 7th at 8/7c to see where your memory stacks up.