How To Memorize Historical Dates and Other Facts
To recognize historical contexts and draw conclusions, it is important to use knowledge from the widest possible range of sources. The development of your general and specialized knowledge can be made a lot easier with the techniques of visualization and association. However, you will have even more success when memorizing numbers in combination with textual information if you use the master system.
The maximum number of digits you need to remember years is four, which means two terms from the master system. You need to link these two terms with the historical event in a visual context.
One example from the initial quiz was the Scots’ defeat of the English at Bannockburn in 1314. The corresponding keywords from the master system are team and tree. Even with a great deal of creativity, it often is not that easy to link the terms of the master system with the historical facts. With many numbers, there’s also the danger of confusion; in this case, it’s easy to confuse the year 1314 with 1413 if the sequence of the two keywords is not absolutely clear in the scenario you create.
It’s better to find your own keywords for the first two digits of the number and the keywords from the master system for the second two digits. That way, the two images that are combined for each year are sufficiently different to let you memorize them easily. Depending on how far back you want to go in history, you can find different images for each century; that is, for the numbers 0 to 20 (for 0 to 2000 a.d.) or for 10 to 20 (for 1000 to 2000 a.d.). The best method is to use people for this purpose, because they can easily be linked into a picture with the keywords from the master system and the event. The people you choose, whether they’re friends or celebrities, are completely up to you; however, they should be clearly differentiated by special characteristics.
Choose people you like or those whose names correspond to the mnemonic device of the master system so that it’s easier to remember—just don’t use the exact terms or you’ll get confused. Make sure you know their faces, whether personally or from the news, film or TV, or literature. Here are a few ideas
10—Susan Sontag, Empress Sissi of Austria
11—Tom Jones, Thomas the Tank Engine
12—Napoleon, Jack Nicholson
13—Marilyn Monroe, Mona Lisa
14—Richard Gere, Robin Hood
15—Lolita, Liz Taylor
16—Che Guevara, Cher
17—John F. Kennedy, Kylie Minogue
18—Veronica Lake, Frank Sinatra
19—Brigitte Bardot, Peter Pan
20—your best male friend or your best female friend
Now let’s take a few historical dates from the first quiz as an example.
1066 Battle of Hastings
You can remember this date by imagining Susan Sontag (10) dancing the cha-cha (66) on Hastings beach.
1825 Running of first train on the Stockton–Darlington railway Veronica Lake
(18) is having her nails (25) manicured during the first train run on the Stockton–Darlington line.
1901 Death of Queen Victoria
As Brigitte Bardot (19) sips a cup of tea (1), she hears that Queen Victoria has passed away.
These were just a few simple exercises and examples. Feel free to come up with your own examples and put this system to use.
As an added bonus watch the following video
Feel free to ask you questions and leave your comments in the comments section below.