Memorization is usually the most sought-out topic in the study skills section. There is no one definite answer on what will work. Everybody is different, and there are probably hundreds of different study and memorization techniques—the trick is finding the ones that work for you.
Types of Memorization
Memorizing through Association
It is easier to remember something if we link it to something we already know. Try to relate new information to personal examples. Analogies can also be very powerful. For example, some students remember the cell structure and function of the organelles by relating them to a factory (the cell body would be the boss who gives the orders, the ribosomes are the messengers, etc.).
Memorizing through Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic Systems
Although you may have already found your preferred learning style, try to incorporate as many of the senses as possible when studying—not just your preference(s). Each sense is processed in a different part of the brain, and by using all the different senses, you are using more of your brain, which will help in the retention of material. Try walking as you rehearse your flashcards and drawing pictures to represent abstract ideas.
Memorizing through Grouping
Students literally have to remember hundreds of pieces of information. One of the key aspects of memory performance is to learn the material from the general to the specific. In order to achieve this, graphic organizers are often a must.
Think of all the information you need to learn as books in a bookshelf. If you simply shove in one book after the next without any kind of organizational structure, it will be very difficult to find one particular book. However, if you organize the books according to topic and subtopics within each course, then it would be easier to find one specific book.
The brain functions much the same way. It needs some kind of mental organization in order for you to retrieve the stored information.
Memorizing through Repetition
This is probably the one aspect of studying that most people know—and dread. However, even though most of us know that we should have lots of repetition, we don't know how important it actually is.
Repetition in the context of memorization can mean different interactions with new material. In other words, it is more than a simple rereading of notes. It could include making flashcards, talking as you draw your mind maps and writing lecture summaries.
Memorizing through Mnemonic Techniques
Mnemonics are very powerful memorization devices that work especially well for memorizing lists and sequences of items.
The words technique is usually used for lists. For example, the mnemonic word homes is a memory trigger for the great lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior).
The sentence technique works well for items that need to be remembered in sequence. For example, "My very elegant mother just served us nine pancakes" stands for the nine planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto).
Human Memory: What It Is and How to Improve It - Written by Dr. Silvia Helena Cordoso, a psychobiologist, this site links to other useful articles on memory and brain mechanisms.
Tips for Improving Your Memory - This PDF from Lake Washington Institute of Technology has some great suggestions for improving your memory.