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How to Memorize the Countries of the World

K S Lane is a student of science and is deeply passionate about educating others on her favorite topics.


If you've ever looked at a map of the world before, chances are that you noticed that there are a lot of countries. In fact, as of 2021, there are a whopping 195 recognized sovereign nations in the world, excluding some of the politically disputed ones.

Memorizing the countries of the world is a tantalizing idea; knowing each and every one of those 195 countries is bound to impress any geography teacher and makes for a great party trick to boot.

But how do you memorize the countries of the world? Is there a specific way to go about it? What sort of techniques work best? Should you split things up by continent and learn the countries of Africa and Europe first? Should you use a map to help you? Should you try memorizing capital cities at the same time?

Fitting 195 new things into your brain is a daunting task and it's natural to feel overwhelmed at first. To help you on your journey, this article lists five strategies that will make learning the countries of the world far easier. From breaking things up to using visual aids, these five techniques will see you learning the names of the countries in no time.

5. Recognize how Much You Already Know

Unless you've never left your house or read a book before, chances are that you already know plenty of countries. Cataloging which ones you can already name is a great way to kick start the learning process, as it helps you to build motivation and also to determine how much you actually need to memorize. Sit down with a pen and paper and write out as many countries as you can name. Don't think too hard about it, because if you have to dredge a country up from the back of your mind then it's likely that you'll still need to work at memorizing it, but give it your best shot. Most people know at least twenty, and some know much more than that.

4. Break it Down

By most definitions, there are 195 officially recognized countries in the world. This is a big list and, understandably, the idea of memorizing so many names is daunting. To help with this, try breaking the countries up into their continents. Memorizing 195 countries may seem impossible, but learning the 12 countries of South America sounds much more manageable.

If continents aren't your jam, try memorizing regions like the Middle East or the Caribbean, or even start learning countries by their first letter. Breaking your task down like this will make it much easier. Try rewarding yourself after each chunk that you learn, too, so that you don't lose motivation.

To help memorize the countries of the world, try breaking them down into continents!

To help memorize the countries of the world, try breaking them down into continents!

3. Use a Map

Maps and globes can be a powerful tool. Knowing the relative locations of each country can help to cue your memory when you're listing them. For example, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are three lesser-known countries that you might have difficulty with memorizing. However, once you've seen them on a map and realize that they're stacked on top of one another, it becomes easier. This principle relates to the idea of information webs, which will be talked about more in the next point.

Another benefit of using maps is that they can help you to visualize the information you've learned. Staring at a list of country names can be dull and tedious, but contextualizing the information by looking at the same country names on a map can freshen things up again. Imagining being able to point to any country on the map and know its name is a good motivator, too.

2. Make a Mind Map

Learning things through creating information webs is one of the best strategies for memorization out there. The basic principle behind this is to link every piece of information in your mind to another one, creating a web that you can use to help to recall the trickier country names.

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Some people like to do this physically, by writing out each country's name and then linking it with others using little facts, while others prefer to do this mentally.

The benefits of mind maps aren't just conjecture, either. They've been scientifically proven to help your recall, with one study finding that medical students who used mind maps to help them study had a significantly better 'knowledge score' than those who only used textbooks. If medical students can benefit from mind maps, then people learning the countries of the world can too!

1. Practice With Online Quizzes

It's all very well to have broken the countries down into easy segments, stared at maps for hours, and created the best information web in the world, but if you don't practice your knowledge you won't have a hope of memorizing the countries. The very best way that you can practice quickly and efficiently is by using online quizzes.

One study that examined 10 different learning techniques and assessed how well they worked found that practice testing, or in other words taking quizzes, got equal first place. The other top-ranked technique was something called 'distributed practice,' which essentially means that you should review what you've learned for a short period of time and in several bursts after you've learned the information. Online quizzes are ideal in this regard because they're generally short in duration and you can go back to them as many times as you want.

It was also found that these two techniques benefited people of all ages and learning abilities, meaning that online quizzes can be helpful whether you're an elementary school student or whether you're learning the countries of the world from the comfort of your aged care home.

Another benefit of taking online quizzes is that you can choose how to break up your learning. Although I don't recommend it, if you want to dive in head-first and start learning the full list of countries without any aids, you can do that. If you want to ease in and begin memorizing by continent, there are quizzes for that too. If you'd like the assistance of a map, you can find websites that will provide you with one while they quiz you.

Quizzes to Help you Memorize the Countries of the World:

- Countries of the World Quiz,

- Can you Name the Countries of the World,

- Short Countries of the World Quiz,

- Random Countries on the World Map,

And there we have it; five great techniques to help you memorize the countries of the world. Whether you're using this knowledge to pass a geography test or if you're just a geography enthusiast, learning all of the countries is a great gateway into becoming more knowledgeable about different cultures and languages and people, which can help to make you a more worldly and well-rounded person.

© 2021 K S Lane


Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on February 09, 2021:

This is an interesing article. I know most of the countries, but Ican akways learn something new.

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