5 Memory-Boosting Tricks From a Jeopardy! Champ

Ever wondered how game show champs manage to remember so much trivia? Jeopardy! contestant Arthur Chu raked in nearly $400,000 in prize money with the help of these winning strategies.

Arthur Chu’s Memorization Tricks

1. Practise tasks in an environment that’s as similar to the real situation as possible. (If your goal is to be a contestant on Jeopardy! yourself, that means more than just playing along with the TV show: You should stand up, have a buzzer in your hand and wait until the end of the clue to answer!)

2. Mnemonic devices such as acronyms and rhymes are helpful in cementing memory, though it’s ideal to practise enough that you no longer have to rely on them.

3. If you’ve memorized things in a certain order or structure—like a list—switching that up can improve your recall.

4. Strong mental images can help cement information in your head. Whenever Chu needs to remember the name of someone he’s just met, for example, he’ll make up a dirty joke in his head involving their name to ensure he’ll remember it the next time around.

5. Rituals and habits—like tying a tie and driving a car—stick in our brains much better than facts. If a pattern of behaviour becomes automatic, you can rely on your reflexive actions much more than if it’s something you have to think about.

Ready to put these memorization tricks to the test? Try your hand at these real Jeopardy! questions about geography.

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Reader's Digest Canada
Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada