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How to Memorize the Periodic Table Easily: 7 Tips for Students

periodic table

Though in most Chemistry examinations, students are given the Periodic Table to refer to, there are still many positive advantages to knowing the Periodic Table by heart! For instance, knowing the Periodic Table well can help students to eliminate the need to refer to the table during the examination. Additionally, students who are looking to advance in their Chemistry standards will eventually need to know the Periodic Table as well as its elements well. 

In this article, we will explore 7 top tips to specifically help students memorize the Periodic Table! Let’s dive in. 

Learn moreCambridge IGCSE | Chemistry | The Periodic Table

 

7 Proven Tips for Memorizing the Periodic Table

  1. Repetition
  2. Using Acronyms and Short Forms
  3. Use of Color
  4. Sing a song!
  5. Use memorizing tools such as Flashcards
  6. Break the Periodic Table into smaller sections
  7. Be consistent with memorizing

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1. Repetition  

Do you remember as kids, how we memorize the alphabet or numbers? We keep on repeating them, starting from the letter A, starting from the number 1. Students can pair the repetition study technique with reading it out loud. A study by the University of Waterloo found that reading information out loud helps with long-term memory and improves memory over time.

Besides reading the elements out loud, students can break the entire Periodic Table into smaller chunks to memorize. Such as starting with 5 elements today, and increasing it to 7 but the elements are inclusive of the 5 from the previous day. As students continue to introduce new elements every few days, their memory for the previous elements will strengthen and solidify. 

 

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2. Using Acronyms and Short Forms 

When the Periodic Table gets harder to remember, it is time to switch things up by introducing different techniques for memorizing it. Acronyms are a great way to spice things up. 

An acronym is a short form, formed from the initial letters of the words and pronounced as a word itself.

For example, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is often written as NASA. This is an acronym. 

For instance, the metalloid elements in the Periodic Table are Boron (B), Silicon (Si). Germanium (Ge), Arsenic (As), Antimony (Sb), Tellenium (Te), Polonium (Po). Here are two mnemonics to help you remember the metalloids! 

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Of course, you can also come up with mnemonics that help you specifically to remember them! This is the fun part about memoizing the Periodic Table! 

Parts of the Periodic Table

(Source: https://sciencing.com/parts-periodic-table-5414878.html)

 

3. Use of Color 

The universal Periodic Table itself has already sectioned itself into different colors, and they have different meanings for it. Students can also self-section the Periodic Table in their own ways to help with their memorization. The majority of the Periodic Table in schools is colored and sectioned into three main categories, Metals, Non-Metals, and Metalloids. It can help students to memorize in a way that helps them to identify them by the different categories. Otherwise, students can section in color the elements’ characteristics or similarities. 

 

4. Sing a song! 

Just like how we have a song for the alphabet, we can also have a song just for the Periodic Table. Students can either compose a song of their choice that helps them to memorize the Periodic Table or they can take a look at the Periodic Table song made by ASAPScience on Youtube here. 

 

 

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5. Use memorizing tools such as Flashcards 

Besides all the above-mentioned tips, students can also rely on traditional memorization study techniques. Flashcards are great for helping students memorize information in an organized and structured manner. There are many ways to utilize a flashcard when it comes to memorizing.

For example, students can include facts about each element on one side of the card and on the other side of the card the name of the element. This allows students to know the element and its corresponding characteristics. 

 

Read also: How to memorize and learn things faster? Productivity and Study Tips For Students 

 

6. Break the Periodic Table into smaller sections 

Instead of memorizing all the elements at one go, separate them in smaller sections, into different sets and spread them out.

For example, you can choose the first 7 metal elements as the first set, and the subsequent elements into different sets. You can also refer to the graphic below as a reference. 

periodic table

This will help students to spread out the elements and make memorizing easier and less overwhelming. 

 

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7. Be consistent with memorizing 

Using the above methods can help students to make memorization easier, but to make sure the information stick, students need to be consistent with their memorization work. Students can use the infamous study technique, Spaced Repetition, to help convert short-term memory into long-term ones.

Spaced Repetition is spacing your revision into specific intervals over a period of time. Spaced Repetition fights memory decay and constantly reviewing the materials, will help to keep the memory for the long term. This is what a student can do to incorporate all the mentioned tips and spaced repetition for memorizing the periodic table. 

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Quick Example

Using Tip 6, break the periodic table into smaller sections. 

periodic table

On the first day, students can start with 5 metal elements (set 1). 

periodic table

On Day 2, students can include 2 new elements to remember, whilst continuing to remember the previous 5 elements. 

periodic table

 

Students can choose to increase the number of elements they want to memorize accordingly. 

periodic table

On day 4, students can choose to try to memorize a new set of elements. For instance, continuing along the metal elements but starting with a new set of 5 metal elements (set 2). 

periodic table

On day 5, students can revisit the first set of elements they memorized as well as the second set of elements. Then, go back to completing the memorization for set 2. 

periodic table

 

The spaced repetition for the first set of elements can be spaced by intervals of 1 day, 3 days, and then 5 days. The length of the interval is subjected to every student’s learning pace and ability. 

 

Read also: Active Recall and Spaced Repetition: How to Study Effectively

 

Though there are plenty of memorization techniques for the Periodic Table, it is wise to pick a few that you are comfortable with and stick to them. Incorporating too many memorization techniques can cause confusion and make it difficult to memorize. Hence, these tips are meant to provide students with some inspiration and techniques they can use to help remember the Periodic Table. 

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