I always felt that memorizing was difficult and time consuming. I hated memorizing names, poems, dates, and rules. I can recall several mnemonics from the past such as "Every good boy does fine" and "FACE", but have no idea what they mean other than something with music! Recently, I learned a new mnemonic for memorizing the Great Lakes‹HOMES. I have also used music to create a song or rhythm for memorizing short lists of information.
I remember having to paraphrase what we had read by writing a paragraph. That took some effort because we could not just write what we had read‹we had to interpret the information! And, there were times when we had to write questions or test items over the material we were studying. We often had a contest to see who could write the most difficult (read as most obscure content); however, we soon learned that game could backfire if the teacher used the test item on a test!
One organizational strategy is outlining a book chapter. I found this strategy useful for an introductory psychology class that focused primarily on recall. My outlines provided a shortened version of the chapter with the key information‹a way to transform it.
I had a graduate student several years ago that created diagrams of lectures and reading. These diagrams were his notes with which he could rapidly reconstruct the lecture or the reading.