Reference Recall

3:30 PM

I know that I've talked some about reference recall in the past, but I decided that there was enough to say about it to devote an entire post to it.  Before I get into how to remember references, I wanted to say: it is very important that you be able to recall the references quickly and accurately.  You can recite a passage perfectly, but if you recite the wrong one, then you still get a zero.  Practically speaking, you also want to be able to share the right verses with people.

Study the context of your memory passages. This is one of the first things that I did to help me remember references.  When you know what is going on in a passage, you are much more likely to recite the correct one.  So, you're not going to recite Exodus 3:13-14 instead of Acts 1:8, because you know that Jesus is speaking in Acts 1:8, and not in Exodus 3:13-14.  Studying context gives each of the passages an individuality that it wouldn't have otherwise.  It helps you to get to the deeper meaning of the passage.  If you don't want to take the time to study the context yourself, just keep checking the Bible Bee study doc, and eventually, someone will probably make a study of the context.

Memorize in different locations.  If you think about it, you can probably remember where you were when you memorized most of your memory passages.  When I recite some passages, I can picture myself by the front porch, in the backyard, in my room, in the living room, in a hallway, or in the car.  Those passages have a special link in my mind to the location that I memorized them in.

Make your screensaver a short passage.  I know that I've posted this before, but it is really so helpful, especially for the shorter passages.  When you look at the same verse every time you login to your computer, that verse will begin to stand out in your memory as the blue passage with the heart, or however it is designed.  I love for this.  You can click on the "Design" button to make something like this.

Illustrate your passages.  Unless you are naturally artistic, this is probably outside of your comfort zone -- it is definitely outside of mine!  But some people find this to be very helpful, and you should give it a try if you never have before.  My sister likes to work the reference into the picture (she wrote about that last year in this post).  If you don't want to get your cards messed up, then you can use erasable highlighters.  Erasable highlighters are my new favorite thing!

Notice the numbers.  What makes those numbers unique?  Do the numbers resemble a math problem?  How many verses long is the passage?  If you're asked to recite Exodus 33:11, then you should obviously not recite Exodus 14:30-15:18, because one passage is significantly shorter than the other. is one of my favorite resources!  There are sets with the first few words of each of the Senior memory passages available in  KJVNKJVESV, and NASB (you'll need to login to your Quizlet account to access the ESV one).  I don't know if there are any sets yet for Primaries and Juniors, but it is very easy to make a set.  To start out, you can use Learn, but when you feel like you've gotten that down, move onto Gravity.  I know, it looks like a game, and you're probably going to shy away from games during your study time, but it's actually very helpful.  You're trying to type the words before the reference (or vice versa) gets to the end of the page.  It's important to be able to recall references very quickly, and this helps a lot!   If you're having a lot of trouble with certain references, then star them, and make sure to go over them a lot on Quizlet.  

Review!  More than anything else, this is what is going to make your references stick.  You must review your passages frequently if you want to remember their references.  If you notice that you tend to have trouble beginning certain passages, even if you begin them correctly but slowly, you may want to mark that.  I'm not doing that yet, because I still have too many other problems with the passages :), but I think that this will be helpful for later on.  

I wanted to say a few things about the oral round, too.  Don't pass a passage unless you are absolutely certain that you don't know it.  One year, my judge recommended (before the round began) that we ask for up to four prompts before passing the passage.  This is great advice!  A passage may not ring a bell at first, but you may know it and be able to get started after a few prompts.  Even if you do feel confident on the reference, pause a few seconds before beginning the passage to verify that you are in the right one.  It takes a very short time to whisper the first few phrases under your breath, and it will be very worth it.  There isn't much of a chance that those few seconds will impact whether or not you finish before the time runs out. 

May the Lord bless your memorizing!  It's only 63 days until Nationals! 

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  1. Thanks for the tips! :) Looking forward to seeing you!

    1. You're welcome! Looking forward to seeing y'all, too! :)

  2. Great article! What we sometimes do is we use our friends' ages.

    For example: If it's 1 Peter 5:7, we picture my brother Reed (5) and his friend Kaylie (7) casting cares on each other. :D

    Can't wait to see you, Anna! :)

    1. Haha! That's great! I'm excited to see you, 62 days!!! :D


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