When you think of pegging, what comes to mind? OK, stop thinking about that. Start thinking about ways to improve your memory instead, you pervert. There’s a technique you can use called “peg lists” to remember big chunks of information in order, so you should start pegging before big tests or presentations.
The peg system is actually easy to employ if you need to remember a list of items, especially if you need to remember them in order. You can use numbers or letters, then create some kind of association between those and the things you need to remember, creating “pegs” in your memory.
The letters and numbers act as concrete objects in your mind that will secure the new information into your memory, making it easy to retrieve when you are facing a test or other big event.
Let’s use the alphabet as an example. That’s really nothing more than a list of letters in a certain order and it’s absolutely stuck deep inside your brain; you’ll never, ever forget the alphabet. Go through the alphabet letter by letter and assign each one an animal. A can be for alligator, B can be for bird, C can be for chimp, etc.
When you need to memorize a list, you’re going to call on those animals. Say you need to know the top 10 most populated states. California is first up, so imagine an alligator shimmying down the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Texas comes next, so visualize a bird flying around the Space Center. After that comes Florida, so think of a chimp having a blast at Disney World. These images are your mnemonic devices. Creating them will stick them in your head, but knowing the alphabetical order of your animals will also help you remember your new list in order.
You can also try doing this with numbers, but it’s a little tricker. It’s hard to imagine how the number one would represent California if you were making a list of the most populous states, so you might need to think of a rhyming scheme instead. One rhymes with nun, two rhymes with shoe, three rhymes with tree, and so on, so you can imagine a nun on Venice Beach, a shoe at the Alamo, and, simply, a palm tree in Miami.
The trick is to define your peg list in advance and always stick to it, whether you’re using a set list of alphabetical animals or your rhyming numbers scheme. This way, you never forget the order your pegs go in and you can assign them to whatever you need in a given moment, whether it’s triggers to remember a long list or the next topic you’re supposed to mention in a presentation.