How to Memorize: Part 4

  Here’s the final installment of my abridgment of William’s Evans’ book on Scripture memory:

Chapter 8: Analyzing What You Desire to Memorize

It is a mistake to seek to memorize anything that has not been analyzed. To simply repeat the matter to be learned over and over again without any reference to the analysis of it is practically a waste time so far as effective memory work is concerned. The best way to proceed is to arrange the matter to be learned analytically and synthetically. Take it to pieces and put it together again. By this process you will have almost learned the selection with scarcely any noticeable effort at memorizing. To memorize John 3:16, for example, find the shortest clause in the verse: God loved. Write that down. Write it again adding the next logical word. Write it again with the next logical work, and add one word after another until you have analyzed the whole verse. By then you will probably have practically memorized it. Be sure to write the words; it is not enough to merely repeat them aloud. Write them. WRITE. WRITE.

Chapter 9: Suggestive Association

Whatever has been perceived or conceived in connection with some other object or thought is afterwards suggestive of the other. Suggestive association is the connecting of a thought that is remote or abstract with others more obvious and familiar. In memorizing new matter, therefore, you must link it with a thought already in mind. Develop and use mnemonics. Psalm 37 and 73, for example—are simply reversed numerals, and both Psalms deal with the question of the prosperity of the wicked. Matthew 20:28 and Acts 20:28 have the same numerical reference and both talk about being ransomed or purchased by the blood of Christ.

 Chapter 10: The Power to Recall from Memory What You Have Learned

Recalling is different from reviewing. Recalling is an act of pure memory; reviewing, by the use of the text. Recalling must be absolutely from memory alone. Review during your study time, but seek to recall frequently.

Chapter 11: The Constant Practice of Reviewing

The lapse of time weakens the memory. Review daily. Suppose you determine to learn three verses a day. Having carried out your determination, review your newly-acquired possession the same day. With each new daily lesson don’t forget to review the lesson of the previous day and days. Continue this for a month, then spend a day reviewing. After three months, spend a week reviewing. As you make more progress, judge for yourself how much time you need for review. To review, make cards of uniform size. On one side write the reference. On the other, write the text in full. Review first from one side then from the other, so you learn both reference and verse. If, after having accumulated so many passages, you find it impossible to review every card, pick out a card here and there at random and review it. As you review a particular verse, note any cross-references that you can memorize and associate with that verse. You can learn the general contents of entire books by giving a one or two-word word titles to each chapter, using word associations, then mastering the list.

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