Memorize Math Formulas

Memorize Math Formulas

Use memory training to memorize math formulas! Math doesn’t have to be a headache if you can learn to memorize the formulas to make the work much easier. Learn a simple system to memorize math formulas and remove the headaches, frustration, stress and anxiety that can often times be associated with math.

Memory speaker Ron White shares his memory system for recalling math formulas.

I want you to have fun with this lesson, so instead of memorizing math formulas I am going to tell you some stories that make it easier for you to understand.

Story #1: Visualize a giant, 6 foot tall globe of the world in front of you. As you stand looking at that globe you see seven continents, some of them overlap into both the northern and southern hemispheres. Four of these continents are in the northern hemisphere, and three in the southern hemisphere.

Now, what are you looking at? A globe.   On that globe, how many continents do you see? Seven. How many of those continents are in the northern hemisphere?   Four.   How many are in the southern hemisphere?   Three.

On the top of the globe you see a luscious apple pie. As you reach for a piece of the pie you see a rat has been eating at it. You don’t want to eat after a rat! The rat is sitting on the North Pole. The Pole is very cold, so the rate is now frozen inside an ice cube.

Now what are you looking at? A globe with how many continents? Seven. How many are in the southern hemisphere? Three. How many are in the northern hemisphere? Four. What’s on top of the globe? A pie. What is next to the pie? A rat in an ice cube.

I’m going to give you a different picture now that you are going to memorize using a memory training system.

Memorize Math Formulas

Story #2:  Meet Hal, a giant man-eating bumble bee from Texas, wearing a giant cowboy hat.   (Everything’s big in Texas!). Now picture a gymnasium with parallel bars. This giant, cowboy hat wearing bumble bee walks out onto the gym floor and hops onto the parallel bars and begins doing gymnastics.   This is a picture you can’t forget!

Now, you have two actual pictures set into your mind from the stories. We have taken some abstract thoughts, which are actually calculus formulas, and made them into picture stories. You now will have these stories stored in your memory bank as files.  Let me show you in this video what I mean:

I was teaching a memory course in Austin, Texas where a stockbroker, who was studying for his Series 7 test, was in attendance. He had brought with him a book full of formulas, and he had a lot of anxiety over taking this test.   He didn’t believe he was going to remember the formulas.

We approached his problem the exact way we did the calculus formulas.   What was the first story we talked about?   A globe, right?   A globe is a sphere.   He needed to know the volume formula for a sphere, which is: sphere=4/3 Õr2.   Since a formula is a series of abstract thoughts, we turned the formula into a picture.

The globe is represented by a sphere, 4 continents to the north and 3 to the south, for 4/3.   A real pie represents the symbol for “pi,” which is 3.14. The rat symbol is “r” for radius, and he is inside an ice cube, a symbol for “cubed.”   That’s pretty easy.   You take each symbol and create a picture story that will help you remember the formula.

At first the stockbroker looked at this as a daunting task. He thought he was going to have to create new pictures for each formula. After looking at the symbols, however, he began to understand that the same symbols kept cropping up over and over again. Example: the symbol “r” for radius is a common symbol in calculus formulas. So yes, he did have to turn each symbol into a picture, but he only had to do it once! The next time that symbol turned up he already had a picture of it in his head.

Now, let’s quickly review the second formula. The story represents the area formula of a parallelogram: Parallelogram = bh (base times height).   So, in the story the parallel bars stand for the parallelogram, the bee for b, and the cowboy hat for h.   Pretty simple, right?

For students, the applications are obvious. For business professionals, conceptualizing is really more important than formulas, so be sure to understand the concept.

You just learned two formulas in calculus, whether you wanted to or not. It wasn’t such a daunting challenge because we took the correct approach. If you are a student struggling to learn 4/3Õr2 and then were given this memory system, you would appreciate it much more.

In a nutshell, this is how you learn to memorize math formulas using memory training.  You see, it is possible to improve your memory, and this is our method for math.

Volume Formula

Sphere = 4/3 π R3


Parallelogram = BH

Circular Ring = 2 π PW

In order for memory training to be most effective when recalling formulas you must substitute a picture for the symbol or variable.

Math Symbol Picture

Sphere                                                                                         =                                             Globe

Ï€ (pi)                                                                                         =                                             Piece of Pie

R (radius)                                                                       =                                             Rat

Parallelogram                                                       =                                             Parallel Bars

B (base)                                                                                     =                                             Bumble bee

H (height)                                                                       =                                             Hat

Circular Ring                                                                   =                                             Ring

P (perimeter)                                                                   =                                             Pirate

W (width)                                                                       =                                             Window

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