# What is the best way to memorize formulas?

hi, i have an exam coming up requiring me to memorize dozens of financial formulas…can anyone suggest the best methods?

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## 17 Answers

That’s tough, man. Practice with them.

I worked as a project estimator/manager which required me to remember all of these formulas (which sometimes made little sense, hard to explain, etc). The more you use them, the better you get at it. You’ll find shortcuts, ways of remembering the various variables, etc. Just continue to use them either with problems or in a real world situations. Anything you can think of that can make you use them.

Repetition is key. Keep at it, bite the bullet. You’re bound to find little idiosyncratic ways of remembering the tougher ones.

Only advice I have, sorry. It’s awfully obvious, but it works.

Ideally you would learn what each equation really means so that they come naturally to you in any particular situation.

write them on a piece of paper and tape it to the inside of your calculator… worked for me ;)

if you cheat you only cheat yourself. you’re way better than that.

write it down over and over again so you’ll be able to memorize it. you can also make words out of the formulas that you have, so its easier to remember. i really do hope you do not cheat.

In my opinion, if you are using formulas out in the real world, no one is going to forbid you to not have a notebook full of formulas that you need to use. So I say, write them down really small on your TI 83 Calculator. That’s what I always used to do in all of my number related classes. That includes, all math and accounting. Sometimes even statistics.

I agree with Ivan, the best thing is to understand them. Understand the relationships of the component terms. Then if necessary you can reason it out when presented with a problem.

but the whole point of an exam, is to test if you were able to memorize those formulas. and if you are capable enough to memorize formulas and fully understand their use.

I can understand their use if I had them written down also.

How hard could it be? I only know of Similac® and Infamil®.

Derive them. If you understand the formula, and why it is the way it is, then it is far easier to remember. You will also have to learn less formulae, as many come from a common derivation.

At least that is what worked for me, I did this for the general quadratic equation, trigonometry double angle formulae (from a few common base formula) coordinate geometry, some derivatives and integrals and many others.

How many days are left for the exam? If you have enough time, do like @Ivan, @Jeruba and @FireMadeFlesh said; understand it naturally, logically, derive them.

Write formulae down on a paper, and read those daily, hourly or after some time.

You can also try to remember them with some examples, e.g. nCr and nPr, take n=r=2, now think which one would be greater? There’s only one combination of 2, while you can arrange them in 2 ways. So, nPr must be greater than nCr. Now, to get nPr greater its denominator should be smaller. So, nPr=n!/(n-r)!, and nCr=n!/[r!(n-r)!].

Try memorize them, and write down all the formulae yourself, without any reference. Check for mistakes, and keep on repeating this till you get all correct answers and you’re confident enough. Yeah, repetition is the key as @Grisaille has said.

However, if you’re in hurry, (or just before exam) memorize whatever you can and after you get the answer sheet, don’t wait for the question paper, write all formulae on back paper with pencil (title it a rough paper). And, after you’ve used them, erase them out.

If they’re financial formulas, does that mean that values are represented with various letters? Like say G for government spending and T for taxes or something? My friend just had an economics exam and one of her formulae was Y = C + S + T (don’t ask me what the mean, she knew that) and we came up with a sort of acronym to help her remember. “whY Catch Santa Today?” it’s not perfect, but it was funny enough to be easily remembered :P I think another one of the formulae was I = G + C(E + M) or something like that. For this one we came up with “Ink = Green + Colour, Exactly Marni”(that’s her name) also not perfect but stupid enough for her to remember.

If all you want is a mnemonic, try music. For some reason people who can’t recall a few facts can easily learn all the words to songs they like. When I was in college, a friend cast a large number of historical events and dates from a Western Civ class into tunes based on popular songs. Everybody from our dorm sang them all the way to the exam room.

Flash cards are also a popular device that still works.

But if the point is not just to pass the test but to master the learning because it is presumed to have some relevance in a future professional career, understanding is the only way. I don’t want my taxes done or my investments managed by someone who cheated or faked the exam. Do you?

First off, understand them.

Second off, make songs out of them.

@jeruba i agree with you… we don’t need professionals who cheated their way in college.

@fish4answers, when the airplane I’m traveling in malfunctions in flight because the mechanic cheated on his exam and the pilot doesn’t know what to do because he paid somebody for his test answers, I hope my poor broken body isn’t treated by medical professionals who got their degrees by posting questions on the Internet.

@Jeruba, omg, im travelling thru plane this week. you gave me the jitters. yup that is the profession i mostly certainly will despise if i found out they cheated their way. i mean, common! your dealing with human lives here, make it right! stop cheating.

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