Memorizing the periodic table may seem daunting at first, however, several methods can be used to memorize it. One popular method is to break down the table into smaller parts and memorize them one by one. This could mean studying each group of elements separately or focusing on a certain block of elements at a time.

Also, creating mnemonics such as acronyms or rhymes can help you remember relationships between elements. You can also try using visual aids such as flashcards to aid in memorization, or even simply writing out the table over and over again until you’ve committed it to memory. The top three methods for remembering the elements in the periodic table are:

1. Visual memory

Also called mental imagery, this technique is based on the principles of visualization and association by creating a mental picture of the words and linking them together in your mind.

In the periodic table, the chemical elements themselves can be difficult to visualize, so you substitute each element with an image or object you’ll naturally associate or link to the element itself.

For example, ‘hydrogen’ sounds similar to ‘hydrant’, so when you visualize a hydrant wrapped in a poster of the periodic table, you’ll be prompted to remember ‘hydrogen’.

visual periodic table memorization

These established memory techniques have been proven by over 50 years of academic research in fields like cognitive psychology.

The human brain loves pictures. And that makes visual memory techniques 10 times more powerful than verbal memory techniques (like songs and acronyms) to memorize the periodic table.

2. Acronyms

The acronym is an abbreviation formed from the initial letter or group of letters of two or more words, the acronym is typically pronounced as a full word, for example, NASA (an acronym for National Aeronautics and Space Administration).

To memorize the first twenty elements in the periodic table, remember this phrase:

He has light brain but can not offer full nine subjects. Must all silly people stop calling a pope christ.

Acronym Elements Symbols
He Hydrogen H
has Helium He
light Lithium Li
brain Beryllium Be
but Boron B
can Carbon C
not Nitrogen N
offer Oxygen O
full Fluorine F
nine Neon Ne
subjects Sodium Na
must Magnesium Mg
all Aluminium Al
silly Silicon Si
people Phosphorus P
stop Sulphur S
calling Chlorine Cl
a Argon Ar
pope Potassium K
christ Calcium Ca

Another acronym to memorize the first twenty elements of the periodic table is;

Happy Henry Lives Beside Boron Cottage, Near Our Friend Nelly Nancy Mg Allen. Silly Patrick Stays Close. Arthur Kisses Carrie

3. Flashcards

The act of creating flashcards and physically using them is a more active way of learning than just repeating words in your head especially if the flash card includes a character design of the studied element.

Physically writing and making flashcards with the names of the chemical elements requires more interaction and engagement with the periodic table and that will help your learning process.

Flashcards can also be convenient to carry with you, meaning you can practice wherever you are.

elements flash cards

Related Resources

Concepts Berg

How to memorize the periodic table easily?

To memorize the periodic table easily, there are many interesting tips to follow such as:

  1. Repetition method: Repeating the elements in the way that suits you to avoid feeling bored, such as repeating each element alone or per group, silently or announcing each element out loud,  for five hours straight a day, or separating them into one hour for three sessions a day.
  2. Using acronyms and acrostics.
  3. Flashcards.
  4. Visual images.

What is the rhyme to remember the periodic table?

The first 20 elements of the periodic table can be remembered by this line:

Happy Henry Lives Beside Boron Cottage, Near Our Friend Nelly Nancy Mg Allen. Silly Patrick Stays Close. Arthur Kisses Carrie.

Is memorizing the periodic table useful?

Memorizing the periodic table is useful (but not the entire table) because it is organized and the elements are arranged based on the criteria of increasing atomic number, so memorizing the elements will make you familiar with the properties of every element and their possible chemical reactions.

Is it necessary to memorize the periodic table?

It’s not necessary to memorize all the elements in the periodic table, however, it is useful to have a good knowledge of the elements you work with frequently. It is valuable to understand why the periodic table looks as it does; its shape is not arbitrary, all in all, the periodic table is not to be learned, it’s to be understood well.