In this article, we’ll discuss the topic of memorizing lists. Almost any subject can be divided into a list consisting of separate objects. Though there are many memory techniques that can be used to memorize lists, the link technique is the most popular. The method involves linking two items so as to come up with a vivid mental picture of the two items interacting. This way when you are trying to remember a list, you only need to recall the first item and the second one will come into your head, which will lead to the third item, and so on. This method works best on an ordered list like a grocery list or a to-do list but can be used on most lists.

If you want to improve your memory using the link technique, there are three main steps to follow.
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  1. Step #1: Draw up Your List of Items

    If you are trying to memorize a grocery list, you have to actually come up with a list first. It’s much easier to memorize a written list than an unwritten one. Also, note that the link technique works best with shorter lists of twenty items or less.

  2. Step #2: Create Links Between Items

    In order to designate the beginning of a list, create a link between the first item on the list and yourself. For instance, if the first item on the list is milk, visualize yourself opening a refrigerator and seeing the milk. Once you have done that, link the first item to the second item. If your list has three items namely milk, bread and eggs on it, link the milk to the bread and then the bread to the eggs. Ensure that all the links create a nice story that is easy to remember.

  3. Learning how to link one item to the next is easy with some advanced memory improvement computer programs. These will teach you how to remember lists using the link technique, as well as other techniques such as the “Roman Room System” (more suitable for longer lists, see the Study Guide PRO for an explanation of this system along with other mnemonics). Don’t forget to link yourself to the last item on the list so as to designate the end of the list.

  4. Step #3: Review and Recall

    Now review the whole list and the link between each item to ensure that you remember every item on the list. This way when you get to the store, you’ll only have to recall the first item which will then trigger a strong mental image in your mind enabling you to recall the other items.


The link technique is just one of the memory techniques that work well with lists. You can learn several others using memory improvement software. If you truly want to improve your memory, you’ll need to learn more than one memory technique.