Iebeu Lagos

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How to memorize new words.

 I have a lot of practice memorizing words , so here's my advice.

1. Write down (on paper) every word that you find that you want to memorize (each "batch" should be about 50-80 depending on how well you can memorize.) 

2. Using or an electronic dictionary define each one in as few words as possible. Say the word as you're defining it

3. Leave it alone for a day or so. Without any conscious effort to memorize them, at least 3-5 from your "batch" will naturally stick, and 10-20 will be "tip of your tongue" memorized

4. Open up two Word documents. Make a numbered list, one in each document, and type up the definitions. They should be SMALL! A word like "Sycophant" may need more than a synonymic one-word definition, but generally, they should be between 1 and 3 words. MAKE SURE TO INCLUDE SECONDARY AND TERTIARY MEANINGS. 

5. Print the two lists out, and let them sit for a day or so. Again, just writing them down and saying them to yourself will help a lot.

6. Now, you're ready. Keep both lists visible, and just go reading them off. Focus on them. Use both parts of your brain. Don't just remember what the word means, remember how it's definition looks. 

7. After reading the list over x numbers of times (usually twice for me), read it once over again, but this time, covering up the definitions. You learn a lot when you're quizzing yourself. (If you're getting more than every 10th word wrong, you're not reading them over enough.) 

8. For every word you don't know, make up something by which to remember it. It can be ridiculous and make no sense whatsoever, but little riddles you make for yourself stick. 
For example: Beguiled. It sounds kind of weird. . . . "Be-Gweeeel?" (Hell, that may not even be how it's pronounced, but who cares?) Kind of like it's MISLEADING you, DIVERTING your attention from the matter at hand.
Another example: Cerulean. What are those crabs called? Crustaceans? Kind of sounds like cerulean. And crabs live in the? Ocean! And the ocean is? BLUE!

9. After 20 minutes of memorizing you will go to bed knowing EVERY word on that list. But it's not over yet! Tomorrow you'll forget most of them. (Some of them at least) The next day, read them over once more, and quiz yourself once more. If there are still some you don't know after that quiz, be sure to revisit them and/or make up a riddle for them.

***This may seem like a long process, but it's not. These steps occur simultaneously with other "batches of words." The day you write down batch 10's words, you're finishing up batch 4, and memorizing for the first time batch 4. Two days later, when you're typing up the definitions for batch 10, you're finishing up batch 6, and memorizing for the first time batch 7.***