Acrostics are phrases or sentences where you are using a memorable phrase to prompt you the concept which you really want to remmember. So, for instance, a simple sentence might contain a prompt of the planets of the solar system;
This is an acrostic for memorising the planets and the dwarf planets:
Murky conVention's Efforts Mar *Series;
Jury Set yoUr Next *Planet *Chart *Erratically.
Taking the first prominent letter of each word of that sentence:
M=Mercury [Murky], V=Venus [conVention], E=Earth [Efforts], M=Mars, 'Series' sounds like Ceres; J=Jupiter, S=Saturn, U=Uranus, N=Neptune, P=Pluto, Ch=Charon, Eris [formerly UB313]
[I used an asterisk in places to emphasise the dwarf planets' words.]
In 2006, a committee of astronomers elected that Pluto should not be classified as a planet. They considered how there are dwarf planets such as dwarf planet UB313 also known as Eris; and Pluto has certain similarities with that 'dwarf planet' classification rather than 'planet' classification.
My acrostic sentence uses words which have several letters in common with the planet names which they resemble.
When I look at other people's acrostics, they often just aim to share the same first letter as the word which they seek to represent; I think that my way is better because it is more distinctive.
Using just the first letter as a prompt is weak; and I tend to see it in medical mnemonics where an acronym is made. An acronym is something like the pop group ABBA using the initial letters of the 4 band members' names to spell a word. It becomes less and less memorable as a method if you create tens of acronyms - but in moderation, I believe that it is a useful method.
So we see that we can take hard-to-learn sequences and make them more memorable. An application of that principle is that sequences of digits may be learned by using acrostics; this is looked at next.
Single Digits 0 to 9
Representing digits as acrostics is perhaps better than using the BLOKES system to store each digit of a number at a mental location such as a bath tub.
If letters of the alphabet can have a cryptic second purpose as digit clues then an ordinary word or sentence is really a number sequence...
Here is a table where certain letters of the alphabet translate into digits:
So, a word like MEMORY can have its digit looked up in the table such that M is 2, E is 8, M is 2, O is 0, R is 5 and Y is 8.
So if you can recall the word 'Memory' and you know that table well then you are effectively also recalling 282058.
In the table, some letters join together, So SHADES has its SH interpreted as a single digit: 6 because that is what SH is in the table.
The S at the end of SHADES is a 6 because the table says that an S is normally a 6.
Perhaps an historic year such as 1492 when Columbus is associated with America's discovery, could be found to be encodable as a word.
1492 has a
Let's list the letter choices beside the digits:
1: A, J, TH
4: D, P
9: W, I, X, Z
2: B, M, Q
I don't see a word spellable by looking down that; but I can make an acrostic sentence:
America Discovered, World Bigger where each word's starting letter indicates a digit: A... D.... W.... B....
If you learned at school that 1492 is a date associated with America being discovered then you will think that the acrostic is too much effort. I agree. If you can learn something in a normal memory way then that is great because it springs to mind fast and involves no encryption. However, imagine a day before an important test that a year is failing to be memorised in the normal way. Memory techniques such as acrostics offer an alternative. This acrostic was lucky because the 1492 event could broadly be described by the acrostic sentence itself.