3 months to exams, Pure beginner to method of Loci

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#1 20 January, 2014 - 11:39
Joined: 3 years 10 months ago

3 months to exams, Pure beginner to method of Loci

I have 3 months left to my college exams in A levels from Maths, Physics, Geography and Computing. I need ideas on how I can memorize quickly large amounts of information. I tried the method of loci with 68 words, worked well, I placed them in my school and can recall every single one. Before I ask for help, please keep in mind the following:

1. Before this method, I used to remember things visually, by actually remembering like a photograph but not clearly and for a reasonable amount of time.

2. I find it easy to find a memory palace and can recall large amounts of detail so placing things around isn't a problem.

3. When I walk around in my palace when I came across a word, after seeing the image, I would also see the word written on paper, almost as if they were linked, is that normal?

4. It takes me ages to place an image: imagine it do something crazy so it sticks, I guess I need more practice but the 68 words took me as long as 20 mins, too long I think.

5. For some reason remembering numbers is a nightmare, I assigned 10 objects to 0-9, i then pick a palace and make them do stuff in order. However it takes even longer and because of repeating some numbers I cannot recall or get mixed up, I need a different method.

6. When I hear a sound in my palace it reminds me of things very well. However if I place too many items in one place they are usually lost, so I have to take spaces between words.

Now my question is how can I practice as efficiently as possible so that before the exams (3 months) I can remember everything I need? And I need to remember things like equations(numbers and symbols), large questions(for computing theory exam), keywords(easy), theories(Newton's Laws), case studies(facts and figures: Geography). Also how many memory palaces should I start with? I'm scared that they will become mixed up and I only used 4 for now. And I find it hard to remove things once stuck.

I know it's a lot, and anyone who read all of this is truly a patient and a helpful person, I thank you for that. I also thank for any help in advance.

20 January, 2014 - 14:07
Joined: 4 years 11 months ago

1. Ok
2. Ok
3. Normal, yes. Ubiquitous, no.
4. Some people can do twice that many words in just 5 minutes. The way you get faster is by forcing yourself to go faster, accepting that you won't be good enough to succeed yet at high speed, but that trying your best at high speeds will make you faster. Get a list of 68 words (from the "training" tab above) and put them in your loci a lot faster than you're used to. Give yourself 10 minutes. Try really hard to put all 68 in your loci in 5 minutes. Then review them for the next five minutes. If the images are bad (they probably will be!) or don't represent the word very well, It's completely fine - the faster you go, the worse the images become, both in vividness and representative power. But with practice, they can be just as memorable even if they aren't that vivid or crazy or remarkably similar to the word. If you try to go really fast and rely on reviewing them quickly and multiple times, you will be able to remember more information in the same amount of time that you would have taken making really nice images. It's just more efficient, you'll see. Of course, you shouldn't actually expect to get all 68 right on your first 10-minute try this way, but you'll be able to get a lot of them! Soon, 68 in 10 minutes will be a cinch, if you allow for a couple errors!
5) 0-9 images are just not enough. Repeating images are problematic, and you'll use a ton of them. It's good that you have a single-digit system because they'll still be useful when you need to remember a single digit, but when you need to remember strings of digits, you'll have a much easier time if you set up a 100 object system from 00-99 with 100 NEW objects, giving you a total of 110. Most people make a PAO list for their 100 digits, but it takes more work than just making 100 objects, and many (most, in fact) of the best in the world just use objects, so that's all that's necessary. You can use the major or Dominic system to set up the list. I recommend the Major but see what speaks to you.

6) Don't know what to tell you :(

7) You need a system for each type of information you memorize. It's unfortunate, but that's the way it is. Geography and facts and figure will be easiest. Some people on these forums have come up with some solutions for learning computer stuff, too.

Answer: Allot ample time to study the information that you need to know for the exam ahead of time i.e., now, the way you are used to. There's no replacement for learning information slowly over a period of time.

:) Hope you can take something from this.

611 Jade Talisman

20 January, 2014 - 14:12
Joined: 4 years 3 weeks ago

Welcome to the site and to the practice of mnemonics.

1. Good.
2. Also good.
3. No, but I cannot imagine it being detrimental. If anything, it's helpful.
4. Practice improves speed and visualization massively. You also learn how much YOU need to remember an image, as in, how much detail you have to put in to make it stick. This also decreases over time, and detail becomes faster.
5. The shape system is more of an introduction. For remembering numbers, I recommend checking out THIS page, creating a list of 110 objects, and then later, if you need to, expanding it to a Person-action-object system.
6. I have heard some people here speaking about using sounds(or smells,tastes) as a way of reminding them of numbers or other things. I haven't done so, and it seems hard to distinguish for me. But idk.

Q. Do you play, or used to play, 3d video games? First person shooters? Me, and a couple other people on this site, get a lot of memory palaces from those games. But even if you don't, you can always use friends houses, stores, movies, tv shows, walks in the park, routes to work/school, etc. You can have as many palaces as you want. To keep track of them, pick one to hold all the others, then just place things to remind you of the other ones. Or just write it down :P.

I also recommend you check out This page, it offers an introduction to mnemonics, you already seem to grasp it, but it will be helpful.

I recommend practicing memorizing numbers, even if you don't have to remember any for the exam, to improve your visualization skills and speed of memorization.

Tell me if I missed anything. Again, welcome, and good luck.


20 January, 2014 - 14:21
Joined: 4 years 3 weeks ago

Hah Lance,
We typed at the same time :P

Edit: There, now you have 2 people who typed pretty similar things. Some of this is bound to help you Pure

23 January, 2014 - 07:35
Joined: 4 years 11 months ago

Bateman wrote:

You also learn how much YOU need to remember an image, as in, how much detail you have to put in to make it stick.

This is a good point that is probably overlooked a little too often. Make sure to spend some of your practice time moving faster than you can succeed even if you'll forget some stuff. That will help you get to know yourself in this way. Strangely, staring at images doesn't make them that much easier to recall. You just have to think of them "the right way" for yourself, which you figure out by experimenting with different ideas and especially different (higher) speeds over time.

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