J. Roth

Study Skills 94


Catchwords and Catchphrases--A Look at the Process



Let’s pretend we need to memorize the information in the following paragraph for a test:


Buying a home requires several steps.  The first step is to choose a realtor.  Even though a buyer is not required to hire a realtor, a good realtor can certainly make the home-buying experience more worthwhile.  Next is to arrange the financing because the amount of money you can borrow will help determine the price range of homes you will tour.  All sorts of financing possibilities exist today, from fixed 15 and 30 year mortgages to zero-down balloon options, so be sure to shop around because you’ll need to know how much financing you will qualify for.  Third is to make a list of your present living arrangements, your likes and dislikes, as well as a “wish list” of options you would enjoy having in your next home.  With a price range in mind and your list in hand, you are ready for the fourth step: actually touring the homes for sale.  Be sure to tour many homes before deciding on which one to make an offer.  The keys when touring are to be patient and ask questions.  Finally, once you have found the home you want, make an offer that is fair to you and the seller.  Unless there are many more buyers than sellers, it is customary to offer less than the asking price or ask for certain options to remain in the home if you pay the full price.  Following these steps will help insure that you will enjoy your home purchase for years to come.




After critically reading the paragraph, we first list the main points we will need to remember.  Here is our list extracted from the above paragraph:


  1. The first step is to choose a realtor


  1. Next is to arrange the financing


  1. Third is to make a list


  1. The fourth step is touring the homes for sale


  1. Finally, make an offer




Next, we pick a keyword to represent each item on our list.  Be sure to pick sensible keywords, keywords that will really represent the item in your mind.


    Our keyword choices are in bold type below:


  1. The first is to choose a realtor


  1. Next is to arrange the financing


  1. Third is to make a list


  1. The fourth step is tour the homes for sale


  1. Finally, make an offer


Here is our list of keywords:  Realtor, Financing, List, Tour, Offer


Next, we create a silly (off-color, outrageous) catchphrase where each word of the phrase begins with the first letters of the keywords on our list.  Be sure to keep the letters in order.


Our keyword letters are R-F-L-T-O


Here are some possibilities for catchphrases:


Renee Feeds Lettuce To Owls


Ray’s Friends Liked The Onions


Rusty Fred Licked The Oil



Again, the sillier, more off-color, more outrageous our catchphrase, the easier it will be to remember.


Finally, we practice expanding the catchphrase.  To do this, we grab a piece of scratch paper, say the catchphrase to ourselves, and write down only the first letter of each word.










So we thinkRenee Fed Lettuce To Owls,” but we write


R           F               L       T        O


Now when we fill in the keyword represented by each letter, we get--



Realtor, Financing, List, Tour, Offer


And as we write out each keyword, we practice remembering and reciting the general information that went with that keyword in the original paragraph.


So the process is to extract keywords, crunch them into a memorable catchphrase, and then practice (over and over and over)expanding the catchphrase to the keywords and the information they represent.