What have you achieved using mnemonics?

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#1 25 September, 2011 - 14:40
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What have you achieved using mnemonics?


Just thought we could have a thread about our achievements so far with mnemonics. It doesn’t have to be anything spectacular - just whatever you’ve achieved, whether it’s deck memorization, academic, personal pursuits etc.

This is what I’ve done so far (might update this thread as I achieve more):

I’ve memorized four poems - Infant Joy by William Blake, Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening By Robert Frost, The Eagle by Alfred Lord Tennyson and The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore. I learnt all of these using the link - since the majority are short and have strong rhythmic structures.

I learnt eleven pages of information on the key themes etc. of Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening. I used loci for this.

I learnt all the key points of a 115 page book on essay-writing. Seven pages of notes learnt mostly by loci.

Information on the most influential artists of the 15th-20th century including their most famous works. I learnt these by using their most famous paintings as the loci.

Around 50 words/spellings/definitions. Learnt these by placing the words in places I associate with the word or its concept.

A little information on religion, roman numerals, lists, greek gods and goddesses etc.

Countless trivia, song titles, book titles, quotations and names.

I didn’t think I’d learnt very much - but when listing it all, it’s actually quite a lot! What I'm still trying to work on is simplifying my images - I tend to over-complicate the visual at times. I could do with improving my speed, as well.

25 September, 2011 - 17:58
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That's quite an impressive list, T.N.

I haven't done much of practical value with mnemonics.
1000 digits of Pi
The Tao te Ching
Calendar Calculation
200 Javascript keywords
300 sql commands

I actually use it most to learn more mnemonics. :-)
Two playing card equivalency systems
Many journeys and loci
1000 peg major system
100 Dominic system
Buzan's Sem3
100 Graph
Alphabetical pegs

It's a hobby!

26 September, 2011 - 09:31
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I have mainly used it to learn names. I don't have enough time (or maybe it's laziness) to practice as much as I should. I've probably learned around 100 names of people at church. My goal was/is to learn all 12,000 names of the church people. I have apparently learned enough that quite a few people say, "Ask Dave. He knows everybody's name."

I also have a journey with 75 places with the major system images in each location. But I haven't really used it for much of anything.

I also worked on cards for awhile. Memorize in 10 minutes and recall in about 7.

I've gone back to school so I'm interested in speed reading.

26 September, 2011 - 11:50
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It's great fun isn't it?

So far:
* All of the countries in the world and their capitals
* All of the American states and their capitals
* English monarchs (***)
* American presidents (***)
* 7 Wonders of the world (I know, not many, but before I used memory techniques I could never recall all 7)

*** Ed Cookes book Remember, Remember is excellent for these.

For fun:
* Dominic system so that I could memorise a deck of cards

In progress:
Bones of the human body

9 October, 2011 - 06:43
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I just began memorizing the names of all my students for this semester. (311 students in all, all of them French names.) I memorized 29 today, using an altered PAO system and method of loci.

I managed to memorize a deck of cards in 5 minutes, but I haven't practiced in a while. I really should start practicing more, but I'm also practicing writing and meditation for at least 2 hours a day.

I memorized quite a few words. I don't think I've ever counted them, but in Latin I know it comes to over 100.

All in all, it doesn't come to much, though. And nothing thorough. I would like to thoroughly learn something. Maybe this will spur me to it. Thanks for the reflective prompt, Nightingale!

15 October, 2011 - 12:40
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When I learn or develop mnemonics, I like to share them, so each of my feats below has a link to a description of the particular technique used:

Memorized 400 digits of Pi
Calendar Calculation
Memorized all 50 US state flags (plus Washington DC)
Memorized the presidents
Memorized the US States and Capitals
Memorized several poems:
-The Raven
-Jabberywocky
-Washington Crossing The Delaware
-If
-Casey At The Bat
-Walrus and the Carpenter
-Ozymandias
...and others

29 October, 2011 - 22:23
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I had high hopes of what I would learn. I lack the drive and perseverance to focus and achieve anything worth while (work, a wife, and 3 kids don't help either) My only achievements have been learning the PAO to memorize a deck of cards. If you count teaching as a achievement, I have taught those that I work with to memorize things using mnemonics. It is rewarding to know people can better themselves using things I learned for fun. It is time to start getting back into memorization. It does help pass tests though. Instructor spits out info I slap it on an image and bingo I got it for later.

DOUG

3 November, 2011 - 08:52
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i have achieved my dream friends

last 3 times i had failed in microprocessor exams thought would never get pass
through it

but this i seriously applied all the journey method with combination with dominic system for numbers

and i have achieved 90/100 this times semster

also world capitals which i completed this evening :D :bigsmile: :crown:

6 November, 2011 - 01:11
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Good job janardhangunjal1!

24 January, 2012 - 16:23
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I continue to learn French, at a rate of about 40-50 words and phrases a day, which is reasonable for me. I have 250 loci for French vocabulary. After mentally reviewing the words for 3-5 days, I erase the loci by replacing the images with ones for new words. By that time, I can use most of them actively, or at the least recognize them passively while reading.

24 January, 2012 - 19:23
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One of the most pragmatic uses of mnemonics is to quickly memorise 'the contents' of a book and the subtopics, giving you the framework in your mind without much effort.

For example, I haven't read treasure island for about 2 years but I still know every part and chapter heading as thus recall the story accurately.

With the retention that most people have a day after reading something, they may as well be skimming. I use the method of loci to facilitate understanding and recall. If you use/create an outline, you'll find that the details tend to stick better too.

24 January, 2012 - 22:48
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Hello,

Thanks to mnemonics, i have achieved this

- Every capitals and countries of the world
- pack of cards
- 1241 digits of PI (1008 here)
- Metro of Paris and a tutorial for beginners
- Calendar (using dominic system)
- Every french countys and cities

Now i'm on skeleton memorising. It's going okay !

Thank you really much for this topic, it gives lots of ideas !

Mindscape : are you just using keywords + loci for memorising contents of a book ?

25 January, 2012 - 02:41
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JYP wrote:

Mindscape : are you just using keywords + loci for memorising contents of a book ?

Depends on the purpose.

For treasure island for example.. The first chapter is the old sea-dog at the admiral benbow. I create an image of a dog with an admiral's hat looking through a telescope with a bow/ribbon tied to the end, on a loci in a journey through the chapters. Very easy to create these images and it should be enough to trigger near verbatim recall. It's not really picking out a particular keyword per se but finding an image which gives you the gist

For pure verbatim recall, I've recently started using a completely different system. It was originally designed as a PA system but I'm converting it to PAO. It works exactly the same as the dominic system but with letters. Using the first letter of each word. If one were to remember Genesis 1:1 for example - In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. It would encode as ITBGCTHATE. When you have this as your reference, it doesn't take long to associate the letters with the words. It is certainly faster than pure rote memorisation and at least from my experience, faster than using one loci per word.

And othertimes I do use keywords.

Sometimes I create an image to what a paragraph contains rather than its content which also helps with the ordered recall. For example, if I were to go to that chapter, initially it explains why he is writing his account of his adventure. I could a picture of someone writing on a desk with a big question mark over his head.

26 January, 2012 - 01:27
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Interesting
I can remember all embassy telephone numbers in my country, Pi upto 400 digit number in sequese as well as out of sequence, Cards in about 7 minnutes (I started this lately), binary digit numbers, color of a pack of cards in about 2 minuts (the red and black) the same system as binary digit numbers. All this just as a hobby

26 January, 2012 - 06:24
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(Aisde - Dale I'm interested in the techniques you used to remember the The Tao te Ching and the computer language keywords.)

I _could_ recall a pack of cards, but I've been changing my POA system and now I'm at about 80% in ten minutes, very poor! (I've also spent time creating a few php scripts to help with the system, so have been concentrating on coding rather than actually doing the memory work!)

I used a journey method to recall ~11 pages of a monologue of the long version of the Second Degree Tracing Board, which is 1,900 words or so.

I'm currently trying again for another of the tracing boards which is 2,300 words.

I use a combination of a journey method to recall an image for each new paragraph, and then within it that I split the text into letters, so "TUACAFHEBANATTOTAE", would be the first line. I don't try and commit that to memory, but I've written it down on a white board and will use it as a code to "read" the real words. After a while the text becomes embedded.

I can calculate a date using the Doomsday method and Odd 11.

I'm trying also to improve my metal mathematics and have been exploring some options there. I'm in the process of creating a matrix of images.

16 * 13 = 208
A "DJ" dressed as a "DoMinatrix"

For 208 I take the "200" = Sneezes
and 8 = Fee
and make a giant sneezing "fee fi foe thumb".

So I have the DJ/dominatrix being squashed by the giant as it sneezes the phrase.

17 * 18 = 306
Duck * Deaf = Moses (300) + a Jay. For Jay I actually picture a Blue Jay baseball player taking a swing. So a deaf (hearing aid) Daffy (which is also 18) Duck (17) pitching at Moses (300) in his Blue Jays (6) baseball cap swinging with one of the stone tablets.

(As Noah is two for me I need to make sure that Moses is different enough not to be confused.)

I decided to split up the numbers rather than make 208 say n-z-f => "Unsafe", as it's harder (for me) to have to come up with a set of images for the three number words, and it can make the imagery confusing. The giant sneezing in my version of the answer could itself be "621" g=6, n=2 and t=1.

So I'm limiting the set to 0-99 (zoo to baby) and then having images for each 100 to "colour" the result.

100 Daisies
200 Sneezes
300 Moses
400 Roses
500 Lists
600 Jesus
700 kisses
800 Voices
900 Buzzes
1000 Diseases

26 January, 2012 - 06:39
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Hello Liamvictor,

I did take a look at your website and especially your last post about the major system.

It seems you use only 00-99 for images, which you complete with colors to get 000 to 999.

I was thinking about the same.

But i was wondering if using colors makes it more confusing ? I know yellow isn't the same as red, but when you recall, don't you have chances to mix colors ?

We could also imagine a 000 to 999 classical major system which could be completed with your color system, taking it to a 0000 to 9999 system.

Ah anyone tried that ?

26 January, 2012 - 07:06
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I'm using the following to "colour" (affect) the tens and units

100 Daisies
200 Sneezes
300 Moses
400 Roses
500 Lists
600 Jesus
700 kisses
800 Voices
900 Buzzes

So, for 101, it'd be
01 = day
so 101 is a beautiful field of daisies with the sun coming up to mark the start of a new day.
201 I'm enjoying the dawn and start sneezing.
301 Moses is holding high the tablets as day breaks
401 Dawn breaks over a field of bright red roses.
501 I see a to-do list and the first item is "day break".
601 Jesus (there's a religious theme going on here) is handing out the loaves and fishes at dawn.
and so on.

In Master your Memory Tony Buzon talks about having the numbers 0-99 then using different techniques to affect the number to get up to 9,999.

His 0-999 are all vision related,
1000-1,999 are sound,
2,000 to 2,999 are smells
3,000 - 3,999 taste
4,000 - 4,999 touch
5,000 - 5,999 sensation
6,000 - 6,999 animals
7,000 - 7,999 birds
8,000 - 8,999 rainbow
9,000 - 9,999 solar system

So, for him, 2,345 would be
2000 => Smell
300 => Mint
45 => Rail

I tried briefly couldn't get the other senses to work for me.

What I will eventually do is have images for
1,000 (diseases or perhaps Odysseus), 2,000 and so on.

Thinking off the top of my head, if 2,000 was Nazi SS, I might remember 2,345 as
2000 = Nazi SS officer
300 - Moses
45 - Roll

So, for me that's Moses dressed in SS uniform with the 10 commandments carved into a giant bread roll. As long as the images don't conflict (like if I was using Nazi for 20 instead of Nose) then that should be good enough to be clear about the thousands, hundreds and then the major system for the tens and units.

This way I can learn 0-99, the 100s and the 1000s (118 images) to get 0-9,999.

29 January, 2012 - 12:25
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I started with poetry and stayed mainly there:

  • Time and Space (T.S.Eliot)
  • Jabberwocky(Carroll)
  • The Cat and The Moon (Yeats)
  • La Pioggia nel Pineto (D'Annunzio)
    ... and then went boldly against Dante's Divina Commedia (being italian helps) - currently I'm halfway thru Hell (Canto 17)

Various additional stuff:

@Mindscape, @Liamvictor: both of you mention collecting the first letter of successive verses/paragraphs/... to create a compact gibberish. What do you do then?
Say, from In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth -> ITBGCTHATE: you say that then it doesn't take long to associate the letters with the words. ... I don't get it: if you substitute each letter with a new word you didnt compress anything... or have I misunderstood?

alessandro

30 January, 2012 - 02:51
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HI Alessandro,

I can't speak for MIndscape, but I don't try to recall the actual letters. I use them as a means of learning the real phrases. If I was trying to learn the opening passages of the Bible, it makes sense to use the verse numbers to split up the text.

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

So, I would take each of those phrases and turn them into the first letter of each word, thus:
1. ITBGCTHATE
2. ATEWWFAVADWUTFOTDATSOGMUTFOTW
3. AGSTBLATWL

To reiterate, I do not try to learn these acronyms. They are just ways of learning the actual text by providing a clue as to the sentence when I read them back.

For each phrase, I'd place a step on my journey to remind me of the context of that phrase
1. A bee in a gin bottle (in the BEE GIN ing).
2. The Earth
3. Light

I'd commit this journey to memory, so I can walk back and forth though the steps easily.

So, my journey would be made up of the core concept of each verse.

Committing each verse to memory would be by reading though the initial letters and trying to recall the correct verse.

I suppose in some ways I'm leaning by rote, but by structuring the passages I want to learn I have the whole story in mind, and then I just need to recall the particular passage.

30 January, 2012 - 17:08
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I managed to learn different medicines, when to use them, when its dangerous to use them, how to dose them, and what are the most common commercial names on the market in my country... I used peg, and each peg was a loci with different number of locations on itself.
Using major system, I was memorizing incubation periods for some infectious diseases.
Linking method in almost every exam (for example, which antibiotic kills which bacteria, diagnostic criteria for some diseases...).
A bunch of acronyms, making pictures of abstract terms...
Although I forgot the majority of those things, memorization techniques saved me a lot of time.

30 January, 2012 - 21:16
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alexxx wrote:

@Mindscape, @Liamvictor: both of you mention collecting the first letter of successive verses/paragraphs/... to create a compact gibberish. What do you do then?
Say, from In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth -> ITBGCTHATE: you say that then it doesn't take long to associate the letters with the words. ... I don't get it: if you substitute each letter with a new word you didnt compress anything... or have I misunderstood?

It's about having a guide which prompts and gives order to the recall. I then memorise that guide through a system which works exactly like the dominic system but with 26x26 letters at 4 letters per loci. (although that will become 6 when conversion to PAO is complete)

With this system, I can memorise around 400 words per hour. I'm sure there are plenty here who could use the exact same system and get to the same point much sooner.

I'm not really sure what you're confused about. It's simplicity itself! First letter of each word...ie USA, UK, NATO...etc I may be the first person to encode the letters on a journey (as far as I know) but if you know the dominic system, you should know instantly what I am taking about.

31 January, 2012 - 03:06
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@Mindscape

So, you take each pair of letters in ITBGCTHATE and create a memory journey?
IT = Italy
BG = Big
CT = Cat
HA = Hat
TE = Tee

Sort of thing?

With POA, perhaps:
IT = Ian Thorpe (The Thorpedo) (Person)
BG = Begging (Action)
CT = Cat (Object)

HA = Henry Adams
TE = Teaching
...

When you get a few minutes spare, would you please take a few moments to describe what you would use for the opening passages of the bible as before. Do you do anything to remember the gist of the story or do you concentrate on these letter phrases entirely instead?

3 February, 2012 - 18:52
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@liamvictor

Yes, that is exactly what I do when I want to memorise verbatim. Firstly, memorise the first letter of each word and then go over the text putting the words with the letters.

So you set the image,

ITBG - Ike Turner plugging two ends together of a big electrical cable (Bill Gates)

You then read the line,

In the beginning God...etc.

With the line in your short term memory, you go through the journey visualising the related image and placing the words. Go over it a couple of times and then go to the next line, come back to the first and check...etc..etc. Whatever work for you personally.

2 May, 2012 - 12:22
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Hello,

I have just joined the forum and found this topic which really interests me, so thought I would resurrect in the hope of getting more posts. So is there really anyone out there who uses memory techniques in a BIG way in everyday life? So have you memorised not one but dozens of books? Or thousands of pieces of useful work information?

I mainly seem to come across dabblers and beginners like myself or competition beasts, which is great, but doesnt really float my personal boat! Please let me know! I have been dabbling on and off for years, but making a bit more effort now and so far have:

100 writers and one of their major works
70 composers and one of their major works
59 kings & queens of England, plus date of coronation and sundry extra facts
37 Shakespeare plays plus major characters from about 20 of them
100 chemical elements plus atomic number and group
40 biblical pieces of information (10 commandments, 7 deadly sins etc.) (see book 'Memorizing the faith')
55 of my firms clients
10 archeology periods and dates
The poem 'Stop the clocks'

Look forward to hearing from you all!

Gavino

3 May, 2012 - 11:52
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Basic German words,
A few cards
Shopping Lists
Quotes. I really love quotes, and especially when I can just pull one out of my mind for a situation.
Trivia
Matrices for math
I use it surprisingly little for school. I don't know why, just not that useful for the type of tests we take. I would love any suggestions for what others memorize using it in school.
Not a lot, but I've only been at this for a month or so and am pretty much only focussing on cards at the moment . Hopefully this reflection makes me motivated.

1 July, 2012 - 05:14
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Hi Greymatters, thanks for the links. I am always interested in seeing how people accomplish certain memory feats. In fact, Josh might I recommend that we start a category on the form particularly for people to explain how they memorize a particular piece of information? I think it would be incredibly useful for comparing images as well as methods. In fact I would love it if people started making lists of their link-words which they use for language learning and then post them.

13 July, 2012 - 11:25
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Since I've become aware of these mnemotic techniques I've primarily spent my time constructing artificial memory palaces and devising visualizations for various concepts in my studies. And I must say my efforts thus far have been far from satisfactory.

The logical visualization of abstract concepts is exceptionally difficult. Not only does this activity tend to create a great deal of mental fatigue, interfering with the rest of my studies, but the visualized concepts are not always easily understood after a waiting period of two - three days, requiring additional revision and refinement, and by extension, time.

On the subject of memory palaces, I'm beginning to get a hang of constructing artificial memory palaces. I make use of the nook & cranny system (10 loci per room), in conjunction to a ten room floor lay-out with each room assigned a specific function. Thematic elements for each floor would further differentiate the lay-out of the building. Incidentally, I just read that this approach would be similar to the 'SEM cube' system.

Anyway, using this method I've designed my 'PAO' palace (100 loci), and another general purpose memory palace capable of housing precisely thousand loci. Although I could probably extend its capacity by expanding on its basic design format once I get more familiar with the interior of this 'building'.

For my studies I'm currently making use of a more bespoke design, depending on the amount of chapters, sub-chapters and over-all size of the various 'chunked' elements.

13 July, 2012 - 13:05
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Welcome Phlex!

I am interested that you are persisting with mnemonic techniques given your opening comments. So I assume you must be getting some reasonable benefits as well?

Interested also that you have gone the artificial route. In a previous incarnation of my memorising self, I also tried very artificial palaces and also found it quite a strain and even developed headaches. These days I find it incredibly easy to log and use real journies or buildings.

Gavino

13 July, 2012 - 14:43
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Phlex wrote:

but the visualized concepts are not always easily understood after a waiting period of two - three days, requiring additional revision and refinement, and by extension, time.

I'm not sure that write once memory exists.
You need to be periodically refreshing the memories or they will disappear. (see: Forgetting curve)

14 July, 2012 - 05:43
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gavino wrote:

I am interested that you are persisting with mnemonic techniques given your opening comments. So I assume you must be getting some reasonable benefits as well?

I use the method of loci for counting over a prolonged period of time, storing news article subjects from the morning newspaper and memorizing grocery lists. I've also had some success memorizing a couple of dozen legal rulings and of course my PAO list of one hundred music artists.

The reason why I'm using artificial memory palaces is because I find those locations that I have access to chaotic and disorderly. And the storage capacity of these locations is limited. That's why I prefer to use the nook & cranny system, in addition to various artificially constructed memory palaces. E.g. for storing news article subjects I use a neatly organized public lounge area, with each furniture piece located on the traditional nook & cranny loci -- in total 10. That way the lay-out is instantly recognizable, and I know how many objects are stored in the room, in addition to their numerical locations. (= 'Left wall' location - 3, 'Right wall' location - 7, 'Aft wall' location - 5, 'Central Piece' location - 9, etc.)

After memorizing the PAO list, and watching one of those Ron White youtube clips posted somewhere in this forum, I did find that I need more interactivity between the artificially constructed rooms and the characters. The nook & cranny system doesn't really need such interactivity, just a rectangular space, and a link to the former object in the form of an action. I believe this is called 'double linking', however the obvious shortcoming is that when a link is broken, the entire chain tends to disintegrate. Of course the nook & cranny system tends to naturally 'chunk' a large list into groups of ten, minimizing the damage, but a broken link could still result in the loss of over half a room when the interior of the room doesn't provide any particular details to recall the stored image.

Geoff wrote:

I'm not sure that write once memory exists.
You need to be periodically refreshing the memories or they will disappear. (see: Forgetting curve)

I'll keep that in mind.

14 July, 2012 - 14:21
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Hi Phlex,

Welcome to the site!

You designed wonderful big palaces (1100 loci).

Phlex wrote:

The logical visualization of abstract concepts is exceptionally difficult.

I agree that it is somewhat difficult. Chances are that you are making this too difficult for yourself.
Can you give an example of a concept and how you visualise it?
Maybe there are easier ways of memorizing the concept.

Phlex wrote:

Not only does this activity tend to create a great deal of mental fatigue, interfering with the rest of my studies, but the visualized concepts are not always easily understood after a waiting period of two - three days, requiring additional revision and refinement, and by extension, time.

Assuming you are able to create strong links, do this: revise more and often. So on day 1 you memorize a concept, you revise 1 day later, then 2 days later, then 4 days later, then 8 etc. Look up the Forgetting curve for the scientific background about this.

If this does not work, revising even more often will probably not help you.
In that case something else needs to be done.

One of the reasons the memory palace works so well is the fact that revision becomes so much easier.
Just go from room to room from, locus to locus and revise what is in there.

Phlex wrote:

Incidentally, I just read that this approach would be similar to the 'SEM cube' system.

This strengthens my assumption that you are making this too difficult for yourself.
SEM Cubed is designed to create a 10,000 loci system.
It is great if you need this, but it is useless if you are unable to create strong links in each and everyone of those 10,000 loci.

So work on creating strong links.

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