Help me on how to train my memory

I read the book “increase our brain power” by Kevin Horsley in like 5 days and it was the first book of memory I have ever read.

So I was wondering what is a good way/time period to exercise with methods. I mean a vigorous, short-time-big improvement intense method so I would get better as fast as I can.

I am starting to read ”The speed reading book” by Tony Buzan. You think it is wise enough? I want as much as I can in august because afterwards I will not all my time for studying memory.

Thank you.


Hello Kratos, I have not read “increase our brain power” by Kevin Horsley but here is my general advice:

1.) Develop several memory palaces of places you know extremely well like childhood homes or even a video game controller and mentally walk through them and develop a specific route. Then create a blueprint for each of your primary memory places and number each loci so that you know what number item any item is on the list. Try to interact with the palace/journey you choose and the image you place on it with all of your senses and make it habitual.

2.) Set up a card memorization system such as PAO and cement images in your mind using spaced-repetition learning. Then create a daily practice of memorizing an entire deck, noticing mistakes and switching images out to more memorable/action-packed images until they stick in your head. Time yourself and attempt to beat your previous time every time. Get a stop watch and see how fast you can go, then slowly weed out the mistakes and then once you are mistake free try and go even faster.

3.) Play memory games on memory league. You can play a few games a day for free, or you can unlock 3 months for $10, or a year for $25 - so pretty reasonable. They have card memorization, images, numbers, words, names and faces, poetry and much more. Memory league can be found by following Resources tab > Software header > Additional memory training tools

4.) Meditate daily - Try to keep a thought or an idea in your head and meditate upon it while focusing on breathing and try to notice when your thoughts flicker and shift them back as you notice. I have aphantasia so I meditate on objects thinking about how I interact with it with senses and how the world interacts with it, this method helps me remember what items are where; I also meditate on specific memory palaces and simply walk backwards and forwards on my routes to improve how quickly I can move along it and examine what information if any is held there and improve upon the images that are weaker.

TLDR; Read #2 because card memorization will help all aspects of memory from encoding to recall in a way that pushes you to constantly improve.


I wish you the best in your endeavors. Memory training is tremendously effective and useful but it still takes time and practice to learn to do it efficiently.

I don’t think speed reading is all that useful for study or memory work. You can’t absorb the material unless you process it cognitively and that’s your bottle neck. You can improve your vocabulary, that helps a great deal. Read a lot and you will learn the patterns of sentences to the point where you are reading predictively. You can eliminate wasteful habits, like poor scanning and concentration but after that, it’s a matter of absorbing the information.

I am skeptical of Buzan. I think him a glib salesman. After all these years of speed reading being touted as a miracle answer to a non problem, where are all these geniuses? Where are all the people who graduated college in 2 years or the Nobel Laureates who think Speed Reading along with their mothers for achieving what they did?

There’s a lot of money to be made exploiting people’s feelings of inadequacy by making cheap, extravagant promises. Then when they don’t succeed, they blame themselves and feel even worse. After all the man is so confident, so good looking, so successful, he has the rapt attention of everyone else… I find this repugnant.

I do read fast. Very fast. And I have several advanced degrees. I don’t think my reading speed gave me any advantage there. Many times I would spend more than a day on a single page. Non of my colleagues ever mentioned speed reading as a desireable skill. Two of my kids are university profs and they never felt the need either. Growing up, there was a lot of reading in my father’s house. In my house, the kids got prizes for reading books. They read a lot and became good at. That’s all it takes.


I know this isn’t what the OP wants to hear, but I’m baffled by the occasional request for a crash-course in memory. It’s a skill and, yes, an art. It’s not an instant solution. It takes time to learn. And it especially takes time to learn how memory techniques work best for you. So: I’d encourage taking the time to learn the methods and to practice them.

zvuv: I think Buzan’s emphasis on self-promotion and, perhaps, over-selling certain gimmicks has overshadowed the fact that he does have much valuable information to offer. Even though I’d read about a dozen memory books before getting to his The Memory Book, I nevertheless found a lot of useful information there. I can’t comment on any other of his titles, but that one is highly recommended.



Thank you Stunted,

But here’s what’s in my mind I want memorize science textbooks, I mean not like word for word, but a great deal!

I also want to memorize my university medicine courses, and I wonder… how many journeys do I have to create. Can I use the same journey or loci to store different informations?

The car method and body method are beautiful methods but I don’t see how I can memorize a book by using them.

I am memorizing the speed reading book using a car; each major part of the car is a division in my head, then I put chapters in them, but I don’t see how I can more information to them.

I understand that.

The book starts with a quiz, for determining your natural words per minute, I got 34 wpm and 100% comprehension. According to his grading graph, There was no 100% comprehension relating to 34wpm.

And I am rated poor. I got killed, after that 2 more tests: 104 wpm 57%; 106wpm 66%. But the comprehension test are multiple choices, I do doubt myself recalling some of them at will if not seeing them.

But what do you have to say about those champions of speed reading? They read entire books in minutes. I understand they’re not scientific ones but that’s still impressive.

Kevin Horsley said he reads four books a week, how do they do that then?

Maybe that’s your answer. Your reading comprehension is poor. There’s something incongruous there, you write well, actually quite well. And you are a bit voluble. This all points to very well developed verbal skills. How easy is it to win an argument with you? You know English well enough to be able to read it at least at average speed.

Perhaps you need to train yourself how to read an article while maintaining a coherent thread in your head and marking land marks. To carray an evolving summary. Perhaps simply do a bunch of those reading comprehension tests and train yourself in the right habits. It’s a skill that can be trained . Just a guess, but I think there’s a pointer in there somewhere.

As far as I know, the few people who seem to be able to take in whole pages at a glance, aren’t able to do much with it and their abilities come with deep autism. A neighbor’s child went off to Princeton at 14yrs old - finished in Phd in his teens. That’s brute natural talent.

Don’t you think that if there was some trick that would get you through med school in half the time, or even just one year quicker, people would have found it? There’s an army of young people out there under enormous pressure trying to get through 10 years or so of demanding, expensive schoolwork, and, of course, a mountain of books to read. You know a lot of them are looking for ways to up their game, like you, it’s the logical thing to do, but there’s no buzz about speed reading being the game changer. Young, enthusiastic people are not the best at keeping secrets.

Average college reading speed is around 300wpm. IMO you should be able to do that without breathing hard. It’s a strange discrepancy.

Yeah I was kind of dancing around that point. You wouldn’t expect to do six months worth of guitar practice in one week and get much progress. I’m also a bit aghast at the ambitiousness of the initial projects some people choose. Partly, I blame the hucksters for this and I feel that they set people up for disappointment by these

It is true that there’s an initial phase when results come quickly. We come with so little knowledge on this subject that any improvement is significant.

Yeah, I got a bit ‘emotional’ about Buzan. I read one of his articles and there were useful ideas in there - also some which I thought glib. It pushes a button of mine. I have strong feelings about teaching.

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I would strongly encourage you to check out world memory champion Alex Mullen’s site: I’ve lost track of all of the degrees he’s getting, but I believe he has completed degrees in biochemical engineering and law, and is currently studying to be a medical doctor. He and his partner offer numerous memory resources specifically for people studying medicine and law.


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I think this depends on your definition of reading and what you hope to gain from the material you’re reading.

My opinion about this could be wrong, since my only brush with speed reading was when I was in high school. But my sense is that speed reading may convey the kinds of key information that appears in a book’s subheadings, but you won’t actually learn anything from the process. If you know someone adept at speed reading, give them a book you know well and ask them to read it at speed. Then ask them questions about it. My guess is that their understanding of the material is going to be very, very shallow. And their ability to apply what they’ve learned—which comes, I think, only when you take time to weigh the author’s arguments and evidence and consider it in light of your own knowledge and experience—will be close to nil. They may pass a brief quiz immediately after reading a book; they would probably fail the quiz a week later.

If you’re speed reading a textbook, you will probably not have time to create any of the memorable images required for using memory techniques. (And if you care at all about language and/or literature, please don’t speed read novels.)

If your primary focus in school is not science, then maybe speed reading your science textbooks would be a good approach; you’ll get through exams and have time to focus most of your energy elsewhere. But if science is your major—perhaps the focus of your career—then I’d suggest more deliberate reading and the use of memory techniques.



firstly I should point out that English is not my mother tongue. I am from the middle east (and not Arab BTW), and I got into a school that is “taught in english.” The prerequisites where to have a good GPA; regular schools in my region study with our native language. But that’s enough of that.

Point is, though I studied in English (and though teachers wouldn’t teach in English all the time), I taught myself to be “fluent.”

And now to the important part. To get into med school you had to get a very high GPA in the last year of high school. I was so nervous before the exams for like 4 months straight that I am now surprised I didn’t collapse then. But because of that anxiety I studied the books word for word and try to understand EVERYTHING (something I never did up until that point, I would read little with relatively good results).

That’s when I developed this slow reading thing. I think of it as a stigma really.

I also just want a knowledgable mind from college, I am not the kind of guy that hunts marks.

I don’t lose arguments that often actually.

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Which again points to strong verbal skills. And that may be a strong asset in your memory work.

I think the memory stuff will help you a lot, if you take time to build skill.

You need to figure what is wrong with your reading. There’s some issue there and rushing towards a solution before you have understood the problem

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Hey BigShot, this will be quite a bit to read, but I hope you will find my response useful.

Thanks for clarifying your goals in regard to your question so that I can more aptly answer your questions. I would suggest following the advice in my last post if you do want to improve your speed at memorizing scholastically because the advice I gave you in that post was universal in regards to improving memory. Now I will address the new information since my last post:

1.) If your reading speed used to be significantly higher and you are not simply attempting to create mnemonic/image for every primary word in the sentence then I would suggest daily practice 15-30 minutes of speed reading. If you are attempting to create mnemonics while you are reading then you have found your problem!

If that is not the issue then speed reading practice is useful as a method to get over the yips(meaning loss or degradation of a skill - e.g. reading speed). However, speed reading, as pointed out by @RMBittner is simply not valid for reading scholastically without half a decade, or more, of practice honing a multitude of skills.

2.) This link will take you to a post regarding verbatim memorization but it also contains links and advice for general memorization. Bateman succinctly goes over the primary methods of book memorization here and there are many other links to go through. Don’t forget to check out Gavino’s Massive Memory system! It’s practically a requirement for book memorization!

3.) Below is my method for memorizing a book for scholastic purposes.

a. Skim the index/glossary
b. Skim the information looking primarily at headers, sub-headers, diagrams, pictures, or anything else that stands out.
c. Read one header/concept at a time as quickly as you can without forgetting what the information was about when you finish. I normally choose headers as the point where I break and review what I just read. Some people review after every paragraph, page, or even entire chapters. (Side note: Break at least once every 30 minutes or so. 25 minutes reading, 5 minutes reviewing, and 5 minute break so that your mind doesn’t get sluggish.
d. After you read a header/concept think about whether you would need this information practically and if so develop a mnemonic for it such as acronyms and imagery but just focus on keeping moving rather than perfecting the mnemonic.

  • I normally use the Cornell note-taking method to quickly list and organize all information that I am reading and after a chapter is completed I go back and then develop my imagery
  • When developing imagery I find it best to develop it around the concept rather than the chapter, headers, or sub-headers; even though they normally chunk the information nicely, the authors do not necessarily think as you do and attempting to remember the way they word something rather than what they are talking about is counter productive.

e. Then when you are done with a segment such as a page or a chapter simply go back and skim each page (or your notes on the chapter) to recall/build your mnemonics then place them in a palace using the loci method.
f. Walk through your palace and examine each loci to see what information is there both forwards and backwards. Do this 3 or 4 times to cement the images and their meanings in your mind and then imagine that someone whom looks up to you or someone whom you look up to and imagine that they don’t know any of the information about the subject in your palace. Walk through the palace with them and rather than describing the picture, teach them based on what the imagery represents without referring to your imagery. You do not know the information until you can explain the concept in simple terms; I like to implement metaphors for this purpose.

  • I also suggest that if you have the yips from speed reading you should be proactive and have the mental image of the person you are showing around cheer, applaud, and compliment you as you teach. It will help build confidence in the subject matter and in yourself.

3.) You will need many palaces/journeys because you need to cycle through them in order to avoid “ghosting” where images get confused or mixed together. When I first started this method I overloaded my childhood home to the point where I couldn’t use it for months until my strongest impressions faded. You can reuse palaces but they must be given a break.

I suggest using Gavino’s memory palace method to create, embed, and organize memory palaces to cycle through.

I worked at a housekeeper at a resort and I turned one of the suites, which has 32 loci embedded in it, into an alphabetized nested memory palace. So my first location is the letter A and is depicted by Alistair holding an Apple riding an Alligator and if I step onto the doormat next to Alistair and take a bite of his Apple(which I can taste and feel) I am teleported to Applebees, which is a palace with 50 loci in it. When I fill Applebees up on the last location there will be an image of my key card to get into units and when I pick it up, it teleports me back to the mat in my nested palace next to Alistair with a bite missing from his apple and I proceed to location B and so on and so forth.

4.) Another option is to just compile a large list of palaces specific to the subject you are studying, usually it’s best to have a connection to it. I use several Subway sandwich shops that I know well for sign language because I worked at several locations and one day a boy came in to my primary store and he was deaf and it took me 30 minutes to make his sandwich because I couldn’t tell what he was pointing at, so it’s easy for me to relate sign language with Subway.

5.) I have never used the car method but I assume it’s virtually identical to the body method, which incidentally I also do not use, wherein you break it down into subcategories and then attach information to it. So if I was reading “The Art of Memory” with the body method I would simply add my images in order.

So if I started on my left hand index distal bone I would put an art easel with a painting of a thick marble column on it. When I look at my index fingertip I can feel a layer of dried paint and I *see *that’s bright red, and I think it’s blood until I look and see that it’s too thick. I peel off the layer of dried paint and my fingertip feels like it is made of marble and see that it’s made of marble. When I lift my hand I can feel the weight of this massive column pulling my fingertip and the rest of my hand down with it.

On the middle bone of my index finger is metal tray of food with a shiny rounded metal cover on it. I can smell chicken,asparagus, wine, and chocolate and when I open the lid a scorpion stabs the proximal bone and I can feel the poison circulating.

On the proximal bone of my index finger is a cluster of 5 canons loaded and ready to fire. Barrack Obama is holding a torch and he lights each of the 5 canons that shoot a projectile for each one. The first cannon launches Jimmy Newtron (invention), the second a color-coded organizational system(Disposition/organization), the third the pokemon Electrode (Elocution), the fourth a marble column, and the fifth fires a nun (Pronunciation). The heat from the blast interacts with each one a different way. The nun for example is set on fire, Electrode detonates on impact, Jimmy Newtron brain blasts and comes up with an invention to save his life.

Then I would proceed to my middle finger and on the distal bone would be 4 bright red Cardinals… ext, ext; and just like that you can memorize the entire story every chapter and main concept. When thinking about these things rather than cramming 5 cannons on my finger, for example, I simply have a tattoo of a cannon that links me to a fictitious empty field with 5 cannons and I can watch them shoot off

I don’t use the car method, so I can’t say much about it but I think your problems are from attempting to store an entire division of knowledge in a single major car component. I would take different vehicle types to store divisions in specific vehicle types. Cars, Trucks, Planes, Boats, and Motorcycles are all significantly different and can provide you with 5 divisions to store information that wouldn’t get confused.

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I’ll look into all your suggestions.

The more I read this book the more I get depressed because it tells the story of some people coming in to buzan teaching centers with 400wpm and walk away with 600wpm at the end of the day.

And then I think of my self having been practicing these techniques for 3 days 3+ hours and I am still beneath the normal speed my highest today was 250 wpm which to his grade is half of the average reader.

I don’t think I’m trying to throw words im my long-term memory bag as I go along reading, quite the contrary, I can feel that I haven’t understood much when I go at it in that pace.

Try it’s free and it doubled my reading speed ialong with comprehension in a couple of months. Doing 2 or three sessions of 15-25minutes every day and at least one before bed.
There is also a game on the website that I used when I lacked concentration with the reading, and it helped also.

The great thing about readspeeder is you don’t press spacebar before you visualize the words and comprehend them also. So you get to work on your comprehension AND converting sets of words to images (perfect to put in your memory palace!) AND your reading speed. Also, you get right at it to practice the skill, no reading memory or speed Reading books , nothing. Simple steps and straight to the point!

Yes the guy has a cheap (but good) book about it, but it is not needed. I actually bought it afterwards more as a thank you donation to the creator of the Web site

Start right now without giving yourself a set time to do it, and try doing a bit every day at least for a week, you’ll thank me later!

Good luck!!!