Handy sets of facts to memorize

I’m actually more tickled that I was able to teach it to other non-military folks vs just learning it myself.

How do we practice? Everytime we sit at a red light behind another car, I ask the passenger (my student) to “sound” out the license plates using the phonetic alphabet. After about a month, they’re certified. :stuck_out_tongue: The learning is painless (you’re stuck in traffic anyway) and can be a fun thing to teach your kids. They can use it for the rest of their lives.

That’s how I got fairly quick at my fingerspelling in American Sign Language. Just while sitting there pick out a word and just start spelling. Nothing else to do.

To the OP: American Sign alphabet. It isn’t hard and with it you can talk to a deaf person. It’d take a long time, but it would be possible.

As to the phonetic alphabet, I learn while in Basic. We were waiting for something (I don’t remember what, but it was insanely important for us to go there so we can wait) and I had a little booklet and was bored, so I just stared at it until I got all of them.

Like the OP, multiplication tables through X12 has served me well.

I can still rattle off the fifty US stated and their capitols mumblety-mumblety years after learning them in the fifth grade (and I can still place them on a blank map).

I can recite the rhymes used for memorizing the notes on the treble clef, learned when I began piano lessons as a child. I also learned the child’s verse Thirty Days Hath September set to music in those lessons. Makes it easy to figure out if your bills are due in four or five days.

Probably the one that I use the most though, is the QWERTY keyboard. As an AP student in high school, back in the days before PCs, we were only permitted to take one semester of typing. Our typing instructor, in all of her wisdom as a first year teacher, told us that we likely wouldn’t use our new skill once our last term paper was typed in college. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

From last week’s 30 Rock:

Jack: Hmmmm… Look. On the 30th, she took flight 1470 to RSW, and he left the next day for CVG. They have to be different cities.
Kenneth: Uh, Fort Myers and Cincinnati. Did you not learn your nation’s airport codes in high school?

I once memorized pi to 30 decimal places.

Here ya go, from memory: 3.141592653589793238462643383279

You wouldn’t believe the number of chicks I’ve picked up with that little trick.

Sadly, it’s an imaginary number, not an irrational one.

That was hysterical! Kenneth is the best! :stuck_out_tongue:

The seven hills of Rome!
The Nine Worthies!
Stuff in Latin or Greek
In Flanders Fields
I have a whole set of science rules on cards.
Forms of be

I make my kids memorize all kinds of things. :slight_smile:

rote memorization has been unfairly devalued these last two decades or so.

As an engineer, I am IMMENSELY grateful I had a crusty old third grade teacher that thought it not only necessary but essential that we get the multiplication table imprinted on our brains.

He was ingenious about this. Once a week, he would pass out a worksheet. 10x10. Each cell had a different product (3x4, maybe. 5x6. 9x8. All permutations of the decimal multiplication table.)

He made it very clear - you will flunk if you can’t manage to complete a full worksheet within five minutes by the end of the year. He started the first week of class - try this, then you need to get better.

If you can complete an entire sheet, try 2 sheets within 5 minutes. Then 3. Then as many as you can do. Every week, there’s a prize (usually was a piece of candy) for every sheet beyond what you could do for the last week, plus the person with the most (corrected for correct answers) gets to be first in line to go to lunch.

Worked like a fucking charm. We all felt like competing. I remember my best friend and I working like madmen(children?) to beat each other. And to this day I can still spit out any product of (1-9)x(1-9) without even a thought. Very helpful as an engineer.

I just wish my teacher had extended it to (1-12)x(1-12).

No it’s not! It’s also a great way to extend bedtime when you’re little and showing off your letters!

I worked in a warehousing environment where ALOT of the product was in carton counts of 24, 48, 72, or 96. Many of my coworkers would stand in awe that I must be some kind of uber-genius when they drawled out “12 boxes of 72 is…” and I quipped “864” before they put their pencil to whaever they were about to doodle out the answer on. People would ask how I did it…I replied “What? You don’t know your 72 times tables?”

Then again, compared to most of them, I was an uber-genius. :cool:

Well, for what it’s worth I can now do calculations of ppm without thinking on large scale industrial batches

250 ppm on a 40,000 lb batch? That’s 10 lbs! Aren’t you even trying?!

The hierarchy of biological classification’s eight major taxonomic ranks.

A Human is: Animalia, Chordata, Mammalia, Primates, Hominidae, Homininae, Hominini, Homo, H. sapiens

One should be able to say one or two mildly intelligent things about every country in the world… such as: Location, neighbors, capital city, flag, major export, population, dominant religion, affiliation with major international organizations etc.

Not all of the above list for every country, but at least something.

When I was learning German I learnt the definite articles by rote, just repeating them to myself as I walked around doing the housework. Der die das die, den die das die, des der des der, dem der dem den. (Imagine a table with the genders listed vertically and the cases horizontally).

I also learnt all the British monarchs in order because I had a ruler with them on.

The military alphabet is dead easy because there’s a logic to it - they’re all words which don’t sound like any other common English words and there are several themes and pairs (boys’ names, Romeo and Juliet, dances, etc).

I was taught the multiplication tables up to 12, and weirdly the 48 commonly used prepositions.
The first comes in handy almost every day, the second rarely if ever.

And I just looked online for a list and found that my memorized list is incomplete.

I doubt that my 7th grade English teacher ever used the preposition ‘athwart’.
In fact, I am almost certain I have never used it myself.

I also learned the multiplication tables thru 12x12
phonetic alphabet (had to, in the navy)
Declaration of Independence
Gettysburg Address
the alphabetic streets crossing Beacon Street in Boston’s Back Bay (while commuting to college and work): Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, Exeter, Fairfield, Gloucester, Hereford (thereafter the alpha order ends, with Mass. Ave. and Kenmore Square). I know, TMI.
The U.S. presidents (last names only) in chronologic order (the more recent ones escape me sometimes)
The first two above have been useful, the last one only when watching game shows or in xword puzzles, or to try to impress the chicks or cow-orkers (didn’t work).

I’m sure there are others, but I fergit.

As a child I was interested in codes and ciphers and I read every stale old book on the subject in my public library and school library.

In the process, I managed to memorize the English alphabet in order of frequency (at least as it was in some old 1950s-era book):


Never had the opportunity to use it for cracking a simple substitution cipher.


I learned an even less complete list than you. From memory of seventh grade English:







That’s only 39, but I see that “beneath” and 'underneath" are missing, along with “athwart”. What else?

To the many suggestions I’ve seen in this thread, I add one I’ve tried but never mastered: The chemical elements and their symbols in alphabetical and/or periodic table order. Oh, and all the teams and their nicknames in major collegiate athletic conferences, which I have periodically mastered, only to have the alignment change slightly with each new season…

Its good to memorize your SSN and a credit card number.