How do I memorize general trivia?


Forgive me if this has been asked, I couldn’t find anything that would fit.

Firstly, I’m a big trivia nerd and love reading and learning about a variety of different subjects. So, since I’m learning more about memory techniques I figured I might as well start committing some of the trivia that interests me to memory. So I’m here asking questions on what people recommend for different types of memorization.

I figured that for learning an ordered list, such as the US Presidents, I’d use a Mnemonic Peg System. I was thinking that I’d just use the major system for the pegs. Would this work? Is there an easier/better way to do this?

How about learning an unorganized list, such as all the moons in the solar system?

What about an alphabetical list such as US States and their capitals, or the counties in my state? Should I just rely on the rhyming song taught to kids?


I would use a journey method/memory palaces for the moons
For example, make a journey from closest planet to farthest planet
each planet will have a hallway room, leading to rooms
Jupiter would have a hallway called Regular satellites with two rooms:
1-Inner satellites or Amalthea group
2-Main group or Galilean moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.
In each room you would have a story:
Galileo with telescope has an eye on (IO) Europe, watching a Granny Call out to an Easterbunny (isto)
Another hallway called Irregular satellites
Prograde satellites
Retrograde satellites

Hope that helps!



I’m going to suggest something that really is outside of the box. It is really odd that this should be out of the box, but it really is an idea that I haven’t heard much about on these forums. Keep everything above except instead of using Easter Bunnies and so on, take 2 minutes to learn that Ganymede was a Trojan prince in Greek mythology. Callisto means “nymph” in Greek. Europa was a Phoenician princess, at least in Greek mythology, and Europe derived its name from her. “Io” is a Latin term which means “respectively,” or “in that order,” which has absolutely nothing to do with any of the above. And Jupiter is of course Zeus’ Roman counterpart. It is a Roman name, like the rest of the planets. Several of them, at least. So that’s strange. Don’t know what to say about the inconsistencies because I learned most of the above information on wikipedia in 2 minutes, just as I recommended.

THAT sir, will make you the toast of trivia night. And I’m sure this stuff interests you because your handle is “necronos,” a mix of the words ‘death’ and ‘time.’ Like just about everything else in this post, that makes absolutely no sense to me. But the etymology is ancient. I know that much, and that is what matters in this context.

My, my! Irony of ironies! Now that I think about it, it would be a great idea to use Easter Bunnies and the like to remember the above. That’s funny to a tired mind. Ha!

(Josh Cohen) #4

I sometimes lead a memory walk around a park in San Francisco where I teach people the presidents using a memory palace that we create as we walk around the park. One president goes in each location. By the end, most people can recite them forwards and backwards. I’ve also attached their term dates using 2-digit number images. See also this discussion about memorizing the presidents.

Edit: I think an advantage of the memory palace over a peglist is that you can use your major system images to encode the dates, where if you use them as pegs, you might get the pegs confused with the dates unless you have separate sets of images.

I think Dominic O’Brien talks about memorizing trivia in his audiobook, Quantum Memory Power.


Geographical data (and I think astronomic data too) can be memoriced by creating an imaginary world with the real spatial distribution of countries/states/planets but filled with the images you use to remember their names. I preffer to imagine everything in a reduced scale to be able to walk on it. This can also be used as a memory palace after you learn it, refreshing the data each time you use it. It´s not a fast method, but I like to use it and it builds lasting memories.


I would definitely use the loci system for something like the solar system, coupled with the mythological figures (and verbal queues should you need them) - for someone interested in trivia this will give you double the proceeds for almost the same effort.
After you finish memorizing the states or countries you want, I suggest GeoMaster (available for free through iTunes) to practice and test your skill. It is a great tool, especially if you have a touchscreen (blank maps of the continents or regions - the program throws the names of the countries and you have to click on the correct blank ones quickly).