Your brain loves the sort of connections and associations formed by using the Link Method of learning, and it remembers new things more easily if those new things can be associated with, and linked to information you already know.
So the basic steps of the Link Method are as follows:
- Find substitute words or parts of words to break down complex ideas
- Use your imagination to create vivid mental images of those ideas
- Associate those visual images with each other.
Let’s go through those steps bit by bit…
#1. Find substitute words
You can turn any concept, idea, word, symbol… any information into something familiar by looking at the sound blocks that make up the original concept or word so that you can create memorable pictures associated with those sounds, unless, of course, the word you need to remember already has a very clear and distinct image associated with it, in which case you can skip this step and go straight to the next one.
#2. Create vivid mental pictures
You need to build strong connections to the new information. The images therefore need to be easily memorable, so don’t go for mundane ordinary things, which are easy to forget. This is where the Von Restorff Effect helps us along. Anything that stands out by being different, perhaps by being in a strange colour, bigger or smaller than normal, outrageous, rude, funny, exaggerated etc etc… tend to stick in the mind.
Also if you can get some movement, some action into the mix, that helps too. So, for example, you’d have one image doing something to the next image.
Try to use pictures that also have some emotional charge, that stand out, and that interest and entertain you, and then you’ll automatically be working with the way your brain already likes to process, store and retrieve information.
#3. Associate the images together
Once you’ve created images for each of the bits of what you need to remember, you need to connect them together. The way to do this is to imagine some sort of action that connects each image with the next. How can your imagination help you to see that first image carrying out some action on the 2nd one, and the second to the third, etc, to the end?
Run it through your imagination a few times so you can really clearly see that chain of events and that the connections between them flow, like a story.
See the action happening, talk your way through it (out loud as usual) and draw the images you see in the air too. As you already know, that uses more areas of your brain, and reinforces the connections between them. It means that in the exam, whichever bit you recall first, it’s likely to trigger the recall of the rest of the sequence. In other words you’re giving yourself a much better chance of remembering the whole lot.
Using mental images in the Link Method gives your brain a cue with which to grasp the information from the deep recesses of your magnificent brain!