Can you suggest an image for this? (inorganic chemistry)

Your ‘system’ for remembering the equations could be built as you go. And with every equations you transform in memorable images, it can be improved according to the results you get.

This is what I do. It is tough at first but man is it worth it!

It pays off quickly. Developing further the skills of transforming anything in images and placing them playfully in a palace…

It has worked much better for me then creating the whole system in advance.


Give me another one you need to remember, I could use a good challenge!


I essentially use the same method I laid out except I use a palace or a well thought out artificial palace to memorize the equations. When I used my method for long equations, I essentially did everything I laid out in the previous post, except I never had trouble with the method. I think that you should probably create your own system of memorizing the equations, it’ll probably work better for you than my method. After all, a good mnemonist doesn’t become a great mnemonist until he creates some systems of his own.


Sounds interesting, maybe I will try that

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Glad you asked this question and it helped me understand this topic more. My daughter is appearing for CBSE XII and hence I have access to the book from where this screenshot came from.

I will give you my way of understanding and working on this concept. The text book passage you presented will not be enough for me to create a complete picture of the concept. My way will be to create my own Body of Knowledge for this topic and my current ways to do that will be noting down all the information available for this concept in some notebook which I will call my Body of Knowledge for this concept.

I will list out all YouTube videos which explain this topic. YouTube has become university for every concept now-a-days and my first source for exploration. Youtube search for potassium dichromate

Some examples of the videos I found (There are 20 more there in search)
Concept explained for JEE mains
Some basics in classroom setup

This in addition to the textbooks will provide a complete picture of multiple factors involved in the topic like

  1. Different colors involved
  2. Process of Ore extraction like Ore -> Sodium dicarbonate -> Potassium Dicarbonate
  3. Structure of Carbonate and DiCarbonate visually (butterfly like)

Once I have the topic in its comprehensive content with me in my notebook it becomes easier to create stories and images for the equations. If time permits I will add more details of the images which I will create for myself. In those images my state (Maharashtra) my native language and culture (Marathi) and influence of Indian Popular Culture play a significant role and hence it may not be directly usable to you.


Thanks for the links, they proved to be quite helpful.

The major problem I face with inorganic chemistry is that even after you understand the concept, remembering every small detail is quite challenging.

One of the reasons is that inorganic chemistry is very different from organic and physical chemistry, thus one has to do heavy memorisation as there are lot of facts and exceptions.

I asked my seniors how they approached this problem to which they advised to keep continuously re reading until some of it sticks.

Well I am working on to develop a system as @ehcolston and @RMBittner mentioned,it will take time but I am confident it work eventually.

By the way, I am also appearing for CBSE class XII, so all the best to your daughter.

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There are a lot of different strategies for this kind of material. If I find I have difficulty keeping the details attached, like subscripts, I increase the the level of interpretation until the detail is inherent.

For example, for a chemical compound I would use a diagram of the molecule and C4 would be a cluster of 4 carbon molecules arranged in a square configuration or perhaps even showing the valence bonds that make it a 4 pack.

If it’s a superscript, r2 I might associate that with surface area or I might see a double image with each at right angles to each other. For higher powers I might use triangles, squares etc. But often with exponentiated terms the power arises from some important relationships, as is the case with square laws and area, 3rd power laws and volume etc, and that comprehension can lock in the number.

A more abstract example, if you spot some form of n(n+1) in an equation you are likely looking at a triangle number which was produced by summing terms 1…n.

If you can find such insights you will greatly increase your comprehension and retention.

If I can’t find such organizing principles, then I’ll invent them. Perhaps make up a story about what happened when 4 carbon atoms came across a couple of bad hydrogen atoms.

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Here are some equations, can you explain how’d you memorise these:-

Please explain exactly like you described it will give me an idea.

I also request others to share how’d they would do it.

A bit ironic. I’m not a chemist. In high school I realized that both chemistry and biology required memorizing a large body of facts, like the ones you show above and I switched to physics and math. Turns out now, I’m going to have to do it anyway. Had I knowledge of mnemonic techniques at that time, I might have chosen a different career.

So, with my limited knowledge of chemistry, for formula #i :

On the lhs, I see 4 bottles of muriatic acid arranged in a close square with a moon resting on the bottle tops. Upon close inspection, the moon is dark gray pyrolusite.

On the rhs, a pair of manacled hands is doing laundry and grabs two bottles of bleach, one in each hand and empties them into the machine, refills them with water and decants those into the machine.

You get some support from the fact that the formula must be balanced. You can check your recollection and perhaps reconstruct that it had to be two containers of bleach.

I would draw the scene. I find this has tremendous value. It forces engagement with the memory and having something sensible (in the old sense) look at makes the memory sharper and more vivid.

Were this my project, if I had a mind to learn chemistry, I would try to delay encoding until I could draw a picture showing the valence bonds that explain the configurations of the molecules. I would expect that understanding to actually result in less raw memorization since the logic of the electron shells would dictate the possible combinations. But, as I said, not knowing much chemistry, I don’t know how that would actually work out.


PS: Might check out this site for ideas.

That’s excellently explained zvuv, well done.

So I get it now, all you have to do is to convert the formulas into images and images into associations.

I will give it a shot now.

Thanks for the link.


I will do the first one right now and if my approach is helpful in any way ill be glad to do the rest.

I wont go into all the associations to not make this too long.

This took less than a minute mentally and includes going through it 2-3 times

Recalled perfectly in writing on first try.

MnO2 4 HCl - MnCl2 Cl2 2 H2O

I hang Minnie(mouse) with Dr.oz on my wall.

To the right of them is my window

4 HCl
Clinging to it is a cross( 4 ) legged yoga pose H ospital staff with impressive Cl eavage.

Shes holding out a long stick

4 HCl —>

The stick is poking another Minnie bathing further to my right, on my bookcase, Cl eaN=2ing herself.


Next is a huge bar of soap which is another representation of the word CLEAN which I am getting from Cl2

And to my next and last location which is actually just below the soap are 2 giant size water bottles.

MnO2 4 HCl - MnCl2 Cl2 2 H2O

Fun! Thanks! comments and questions are most welcome.


Generating images and scenes is a skill that develops. Expect it all to be a bit stiff and slow at first.

A popular approach is to select images that have some shock or excitement in them, violence, sexuality, bizzareness tend to stick in the mind. It’s nobody else’s business what you think in your own head.

Another approach, my preference, is to enhance the memory with context. I would add a back story. Dad caught me fooling around liquor supply in his shop and made me do the laundry as punishment. I would visit each item and explore its color, texture, feel. I’d open a bottle of bleach and smell it, take the ‘moon’ and toss it around… the more connections you have the more persistent the memory.

It’s important to spend some time investigating what kind of memories your mind tends to keep and what are they like? Are they primarily verbal narratives, visual images, a mix of both. You have to get to know your own equipment.


Nice! I held myself back from reading yours before making mine and soo glad I did! More than one of your great images would of influenced me before even give my imagination a try

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I like yours too. Now we’ve both memorized the formula for Manganese Chloride Dihydrate! It will be a while before I forget this. :slight_smile:

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Hahajaha I thought the same thing! Now ive got minnie mouse hangin over my bed! Didnt see that one coming! And I wont run out of water or soap anytime soon! That bar of soap is about 5’x3x1’ !

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Whats important to mention, what I wish I had realised earlier, is how easier and faster it gets with every equation or whatever I decide to remember.

I mean,now when MnO2 comes up, I dont need to use minnie mouse perched up on Dr.Oz shoulder, I just need to perch Minnie and her position instantly brings me MnO2.

At first I worried there would be confusion between z and n for two, for example, or that without a perfect rigourous system, mistakes would happen more often, but that never never happens.

Finding the confidence and the courage to create these on fly versus spending days creating a system before hand was a game changer for me. I am not saying one is better than the other. But for me it definitely is better in all ways to be able to start remembering and using and practicing it all from day 1

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Thanks @zvuv and @cameri for your effort.

I am creating a system so that I can convert these into images more easily and rapidly.

Like for the first equation,I imagine something like this:-

A Man(Mn) is riding a OX which is nervous (2 code for the letter N in major system)

(Similarly 4------->R in major system) so 4HCl becomes RaHchel which is the name of the Ox.

For the right hand side.

The Man clashed Near a Clan and gets 2 bottles of water.

As you guys can see I often use the major system in these kind of stuff, it proves to be helpful.

I am looking for more ways to encode the equations in a similar manner have create specific pegs like Mn is always a Man and Cl2 is a clan etc.

I am still working on more pegs and ideas.


Great images! Some would think Man is too general and it might lead to mistakes on the long term when other men are used, but in my experience just being conscious about this stops it from happening, as unbelievable as that sounds, it happens to me constantly. I end up subconsciously automatically make micro alterations to my next Men images.

Example : the Man that is Mn never gets mixed up by Nathan who is Na.

The nervous ox! I love that image! RaHchel clever!

a fan or anything windy would remind me 02, but it all works and thats what counts.

Doing next one…

took me even more less time and effort and less images and associations and its just my second equation. Third , fourth, fifth, a system is being build on the go and will be refined and updated with every equation till every piece is covered and set in stone, then lightning speed memorising happens :cloud_with_lightning:

4NaCl (leg crossed Natalie, and since its a woman, its automatically with cleavage Cl now, no need for extra cleavage imaging) +

Mn02 (Minnie s back !)+ no need for Dr.Oz for O2, shes perched up on the corner of the door and her position is enough to remind thats MnO2 not just Mn

4H2SO4 (four hens 4H2 peckering away on the sun!, 4 is L for me SOL = SUN from Spanish)

----> (rocket ship on right side of the sun coming from the eastern hen’s bum)

MnCl2 (Minnie cleaning again) +

4NaHSO4 ( yoga pose crosslegged Nathan swinging on H orizontal Bar touching the SOL with burning feet !)


That’s amazing, I love how you are using the same characters like Minnie, it creates more association every time Mn is there and is helpful in memorising.

I like this one a lot, so creative.