How to Memorize Math and Physics Formulas

Two Methods:Memorization HelpMemorizing Maths and Physics Formulas

Have you ever stayed up all night just to try to memorize formulas for your Maths? Or do you memorize a set of formulas today and forget all about them tomorrow? It seems to me that these formulas keep pulling you back to your old books instead of moving on.

Memorization Help

Memory Tricks

Memorizing Maths and Physics Formulas

  1. 1
    Relax. Maths and Physics problems are not meant to be studied under stress. Relax your mind. By doing this, you will be able to focus more on your task.
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    Minimize your reference checks. Many people think that once they take a glance at a formula, it is in their mind, but when they wake up the next day, they are shocked to realize that the formula leaked out during the night. This is why it is a good idea to practice solving a problem with the formula without looking it up. You must do this as many times as you can. Repetition leads to Memorization.
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    Analyze the Units. Put the raw units of each variable into the formula and see if you can get the units of the answer.
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    Understand How the Formula is structured. You already have a decent gut feeling about the concept. Make sense of the formula. For instance, a = F / m. F is on the top of the fraction. That makes sense, since if you exert more force on an object, it will speed up more quickly. Mass is on the bottom of the fraction, since more mass means more inertia, making the object more difficult to accelerate. The opposite formula (a = m / F) does not make sense. Using this incorrect formula, a strong force (large number on the bottom of the fraction) would cause a smaller acceleration, which does not make sense.
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    Satisfaction. Do you ever study while you are hungry or thirsty? How does it feel? You always feel reluctant to focus because you are in a rush to go grab some pizza. If you start to feel hungry or thirsty, quit studying those formulas and satisfy yourself with some food or drink.
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    Learn how to derive formulae. That way you can memorize just the bare minimum number of formulae that you need to derive the rest from. For example, the formulae in List of mole concept formulae and List of circular motion formulae are all you will ever need to learn in order derive the other formulae involving only the variables on those pages.
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    Train your memory. Each time you learn a new formula that tells you how to compute one quantity in terms of other quantities, get a friend to randomly pick one of the formulae you previously learned in your current course and describe it and then put up with the boredom of struggling to remember what the formula was until which ever comes first of you getting it right or 4 hours going by without you ever looking in the book to see what the formula was during those 4 hours. If those 4 hours are not yet up, get your friend to randomly pick one of the formulae they haven't already picked and struggle to recall it until you get it right and keep going until which ever comes first of using up all the formulae or 4 hours going by. Each time you do that, you will make yourself better at extracting weaker memories back into your consciousness making it easier to learn formulae in the future.


  • Write all the formulas on a sheet and stick it to the wall of your room so that whenever you look at them you will be able to remember what you have forgotten. This really works.
  • Try to use a story, such as quadratic formula, (picture on top of page) for me is: A negative boy (-b) couldn't decide (+ or -) whether to go to a radical (the radical) party or be square (b squared) and miss out on four awesome chicks (-4ac), the whole thing was over at 2 A.M. (over 2a)
  • Try to create a game that involves memorizing formulas with your friends. This can automatically make those formulas stick into your mind because everyone wants to win and so do you. You can also try a little rhyme or a song, if you like to sing.
  • Do numerous problems on that topic even if it is a small one. For example - instead of combining the whole trigonometric problems and doing them at the last i.e. after all the formulas and concepts, do at least 10 problems on each small identity like cos^2(x) + sin^2(x) = 1. The person will get the idea of application as well as the formula will get into the memory.
  • If cramming for an exam, write each and every formula at least 20 times in your book. After this, write all the formulas on the separate page one by one.
  • Re-read or re-write the formula as much as you can (usually 10 for me) then write it again on separate paper.
  • Group related formulas and memorize only one--call it the "root"-- of the group. Then remember the others using just the differences between them and the "root." For example,

in trig, memorize only that sin(a+b)=sin(a)cos(b)+cos(a)sin(b). But then, rather than memorizing cos(a+b)=cos(a)cos(b)-sin(a)sin(b) from scratch, visualize/remember the differences: i.e., instead of starting with sin, this one starts with cos; instead of the + being the same on the left and right sides, this one has opposite signs, etc.

  • When practicing, visualize and say the formula as well as just writing it. Find a place other than a library, so you can feel free to speak as loud as you want without bothering others or risking being shushed.
  • When learning a formula, use "flash" cards, with the left side of the formula on one side of the card and the right side of the formula on the other. The word "flash" is in quotes because developing speed is secondary to rehearsing the remembering process without having the answer showing.

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