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Are you talking about the electron configurations for the ground state of the elements? If so, it's based on the quantum mechanic result of having the lowest energetic state. It is just easier to memorize these exceptions since it requires trying to solve the quantum mechanic problem.
I think there are two anomalous configurations when an element fills the orbital 'abnormal': chromium and copper which do not seem to fit the pattern. Chromium is energetically more stable to have 3d5 then pair up the 4s orbital ((Ar)4s1 3d5). Copper has extra stability due to a full set of 3d orbitals, providing the incentive for the s electron to be used in the last 3d orbital ((Ar)4s1 3d10).
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