Keep what you’ve worked so hard to learn!


Have you ever spent a long time to learn an algorithm or formula for a test, and then weeks or months later couldn’t remember it when you actually needed it? I’ve been there many times, but I have found an empowering strategy to make the most of my studying: following mnemonic songs. Although it is easy for information to enter the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex of the brain, where memories are stored, it is a lot more difficult to retrieve it. However, the brain has incredible capability to pair specific events and information with sensory input. For instance, have you ever heard a song that took you back to a vacation, a first romance, or moment of triumph? Auditory triggers can draw memories almost instantaneously from where they are stored.

So what are these songs actually used for?

  • The songs I write tell you step by step how to execute an algorithm by hand and/or implement it in code.
  • At the beginning of each song I include a few verses of analysis that tell you how fast the algorithm runs and how much memory it uses.
  • The second and more important part of each song is pseudocode. This will serve as a guide for when you have to program or demonstrate an algorithm by hand.

Before learning the songs…

I highly encourage you to watch my videos on intuition and analysis for each algorithm. A song’s value is realized once you understand the underlying principles of the featured algorithm. Essentially, I think of it like this: you first learn the algorithm, and then the rhymes and melody both solidify the steps and serve as a key to access them from memory. So, if you want a key to remember an algorithm that’s always at your fingertips, I invite you to listen to these “musicAlgos”!