Memorize U. S. Capitals
and learn a Memory Strategy
by B. Galloway
You will be learning the fifty states and capitals in the order they were admitted to the United States. You will also be learning a powerful MEMORY ASSOCIATION and RETRIEVAL strategy.
You will be memorizing the states with their capitals in the order shown in the table. The memory strategy is explained on this page. If you want to see an example mental video for a state and a capital, click on the state and capital name in this list. Additional resources are on the last page of this website.
This table shows the Capital Name - State Name - Date Admitted to U.S.
|1. Dover, Delaware 1787 (example picture below on this page)||26. Lansing, Michigan 1837|
|2. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 1787||27. Tallahassee, Florida 1845|
|3. Trenton, New Jersey 1787||28. Austin, Texas 1845|
|4. Atlanta, Georgia 1788||29. Des Moines, Iowa 1846|
|5. Hartford, Connecticut 1788||30. Madison, Wisconsin 1848|
|6. Boston, Massachusetts 1788||31. Sacramento, California 1850|
|7. Annapolis, Maryland 1788||32. St. Paul, Minnesota 1858|
|8. Columbia, South Carolina 1788||33. Salem, Oregon 1859|
|9. Concord, New Hampshire 1788||34. Topeka, Kansas 1861|
|10. Richmond, Virginia 1788||35. Charleston, West Virginia 1863|
|11. Albany, New York 1788||36. Carson City, Nevada 1864|
|12. Raleigh, North Carolina 1789||37. Lincoln, Nebraska 1867|
|13. Providence, Rhode Island 1790||38. Denver, Colorado 1876|
|14. Montpelier, Vermont 1791||39. Bismarck, North Dakota 1889|
|15. Frankfort, Kentucky 1792||40. Pierre, South Dakota 1889|
|16. Nashville, Tennessee 1796||41. Helena, Montana 1889|
|17. Columbus, Ohio 1803||42. Olympia, Washington 1889|
|18. Baton Rouge, Louisiana 1812||43. Boise, Idaho 1890|
|19. Indianapolis, Indiana 1816||44. Cheyenne, Wyoming 1890|
|20. Jackson, Mississippi 1817||45. Salt Lake City, Utah 1896|
|21. Springfield, Illinois 1818||46. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 1907|
|22. Montgomery, Alabama 1819||47. Santa Fe, New Mexico 1912|
|23. Augusta, Maine 1820||48. Phoenix, Arizona 1912|
|24. Jefferson City, Missouri 1821||49. Juneau, Alaska 1959|
|25. Little Rock, Arkansas 1836||50. Honolulu, Hawaii 1959|
HOW TO BEGIN
1. Select locations.
Walk to the front porch of your home. You should now be standing at the entrance to your home, either physically or mentally. Call this your first location, it is the entry to your home and the beginning for your memory recall structure.
What is right inside your front door? It is distinctly different from the outside of your home. The space inside your front door is location two.
You arrive home. Before you open the front door, you are at location one. When you step through your front door, you are at location two. You must continue walking through your home and select 48 more locations. Do that now. Make sure the locations are along a path that you would take if you walked through your home.
Once you have selected your 50 locations, sit down somewhere, close your eyes, and recall the locations in order. For this example, look at the map I made to see how I walked around my place and selected locations. You can see I started at the front door and ended up in the kitchen.
Example for selecting locations in a place you know well:
In this example, I selected locations around my apartment. If you look at Figure 1 below, you will see the path I took through the apartment. Each numbered location is something specific I can recall in my apartment. You will walk through your place mentally and decide on your locations. You should review your 50 locations a couple times to make sure you have selected a path where you will be sure to remember the spots you picked. The “path” should be sequential so that each spot comes directly after the last one.
|1. outside front door||18. bookcase||35. file cabinet|
|2. inside front door||19. mirror||36. vacuum|
|3. mirror||20. lamp||37. yellow bookcase|
|4. T.V.||21. printer||38. furnace|
|5. VCR||22. computer||39. couch|
|6. first bookcase||23. desk top||40. coffee table|
|7. second bookcase||24. window||41. lamp|
|8. upper hall cabinet||25. bed||42. easy chair|
|9. lower hall cabinet||26. baseball bat||43. treadmill|
|10. bathroom door||27. upper closet shelf||44. kitchen table|
|11. toilet||28. lower closet shelf||45. stove|
|12. mirror over sink||29. jewelry box||46. refrigerator|
|13. sink||30. organizer||47. step ladder|
|14. bathtub||31. dresser||48. kitchen sink|
|15. shower curtain||32. radio||49. kitchen counter|
|16. towel rack||33. file cabinet||50. bag bin|
|17. bedroom door||34. calendar|
2. Make up keywords, or cues.
You learn when you associate something you already know with the new fact you want to remember and recall later (for a test). What comes naturally to your mind is the association you make.
This is where the “work” comes in. You need to think up your own associations. This will be your “keyword” or “cue” to help you recall the information you are trying to remember.
This example shows an association I made up.
New Information to learn Keywords that came to me.
Dover = someone diving, divers
Delaware = deli (delicatessen)
Here is an example "mental video" using the above keywords:
If something different pops into your mind when you say “Dover” and “Delaware” to yourself, use that. You should put your ideas in your mental videos instead of using mine. Your keywords, or cues, will remind you of the fact you want to recall. You will KNOW you know it. You can use mine if they are useful to you.
3. Make a mental picture and attach your picture to a location you have selected.
Use all the keywords to make up a mental picture. You must visualize your video with your keywords emphasized in your first location. Make your picture vivid by adding action, sounds, and smells. Exaggerate things in your picture. Make it funny. If you can’t remember a delicatessen outside your front door, make it a little mouse deli with little mice diving into the potato salad or little potatoes diving into the salad.
Use all the keywords for your first state and capital in your first little video. Make this happen in your first location. Now think of your front door and the little video there. What state and capital have you associated with this video? Once you can come up with "Dover, Delaware" you are on your way.
Go to the next location you have chosen in your home and place a video of your next group of key words there. Continue along your route placing each picture at the location that comes next. When you have all the pictures connected to specific locations, mentally walk your route and recall the states and their capitals.
Once you learn them, you will have confidence that you can recall the information.
This is an important step in any learning. If you memorize the first ten states and capitals in the morning, review them before starting on the next ten. You may find you need to change something or emphasize something more to help you recall a piece of information. You might need to make it jump out at you in some eye popping way.
Memorizing information in this way helps you recall it when you need it by knowing exactly where you put it. This example shows putting information throughout a house. You can put your information in any place you know well or along a well known route you walk regularly. As you walk your route, you can review the information you want to have readily available in your mind.