How do they create memory palaces so quickly

I think I made a thread in the wrong topic so I’m going to add it here…

It takes me about 10 minutes to create one loci fully.

How long do you think it would take an expert to memorise a 300 page biology textbook?

I need to memorise half of my textbook and I want to do it within a few days. Any ways that I can speed up my technique or does it just require continuous practice to get good at it.

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I think u have to understand each topic of your book and then relate that topic with your loci.
I am a biology student too.
the method I have mentioned here 'll help you store each and every topic of your book in your mind
and you just have to walk through the palace when you are in search of a topic.

Can you describe what your memory journey looks like?

Biology is also mentioned here:

Here are some suggestions that I think will work wonders for you:

-When you feel like making a memory palace, open your Biology book and read a little bit instead.

-Use a highlighter for important points in the text. This will jog your memory when you review the material. (note: review the material from time to time).

-There is usually a practice quiz for every chapter in your textbook. Keep searching until you find the end of the chapter. Put a bookmark on this page. (note: you do not need to purchase an actual bookmark. Almost any thin object will do. I recommend resisting the temptation to use double-sided tape for this). This will help you identify what material in the chapter qualifies as “important” along the way.

-Find yourself in a place that looks like where a very small palace (10 loci) could be made. There’s probably a place like this between your apartment and your Biology class, but you’ll have to check for yourself to be sure.

-Bring two pencils and a notebook along with you. The second pencil is just a contingency plan. The first might break. Even if you are using pens, you should bring two in case the first runs out of ink.

-Do not use the actual Biology classroom for this experiment. It is a better use of this time to listen to your lecturer and take notes.

-If it is difficult for you to hear the lecturer or see the board from far away or focus on the material, try sitting in the front row during class.

-Make a daily planner concerning your school work. Then you will know what to do and when. Obey the planner even though it isn’t as fun as other activities, such as drinking until passing out, just to take a random example.

-Set a timer for 3 minutes, and create a 10-locus palace during those three minutes. It almost certainly will be bad, which is okay - that’s part of the plan. This is rapid-fire work, and it’s all about speed, not quality.

-The first locus of the palace should be whatever you are looking at on the moment you decide to make the palace. Find 9 more loci by keeping your eyes facing straight in front of you to the best of your abilities and rotating your body about 25 degrees. Pick a locus in front of you. If you are on a planet, there is a viable option. The floor is a last resort, but if it is the only thing in sight, go ahead and use it. (note: if this continues to happen, you have selected either a large parking lot, an empty field, or the moon on which to create your palace. Please reinterpret bullet point #1)

  • You have only 18 seconds to select each locus, so keep your stop watch visible. If the 18 seconds elapse, use the floor and move on to the next locus. I arrived at this number by multiplying the total number of minutes by 60 and then dividing by the total number of loci. (note: this formula works every time).

It won’t be the Parthenon. But it will be work at 33 times the speed you are used to, which is a great success. Pat yourself on the back. Scan your eyes over it again and again until you can go through it by heart. This may take many days of repetition, but since it’s on the way to your Biology lectures, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Next time, add a little more time to the 3 minutes - just a little closer to whatever you consider to be an acceptable pace for creating palace. Repeat the entire procedure (including reading your Biology book). Try to use the extra seconds to make the palace slightly better than your first attempt. Think of ways that you weren’t happy with it, and try to fix them. Never set the timer slower than what you consider to be an acceptable pace, and always succeed at the task. (note: selecting the floor when the time for that locus runs out makes your chances of success 100% unless you are in a sensory deprivation chamber, in outer space, or sleeping. These are poor candidates for making palaces).

Good luck!

What a fantastic response, LociInTheSky. As a teacher for decades I can attest that you are so right about the school end. Clearly you really understand the memory stuff wonderfully well.I’m going to try your advice. I am slow at creating locations and associations, but they are firmly placed - so much so that I have to be careful to add new information accurately, because wrong information sticks like glue and needs another link to get it out again.

I am going to work on speeding up my very slow approach.

Ha, ha, Lance. You’re a great writer. Sort of the Dave Barry of the Memory Sports world.

Lynne, thanks for backing me up!

“I am slow at creating locations and associations, but they are firmly placed - so much so that I have to be careful to add new information accurately, because wrong information sticks like glue and needs another link to get it out again.”

There are worse problems for someone in your situation!

Just “get over it” with the slow stuff. I’m working on speeding up the palace building myself. It has always been too slow, and that just isn’t necessary when repetition is what’ll hammer it home. I’m getting better, but sometimes I accidentally leave my protractor at home and don’t know what to do. But seriously, I am getting quicker and quicker without my palaces’ quality diminishing. So good luck to you.

By the way, I was talking to Alex about creating loci at the WMC. He tells me that he likes to remember anatomy/bio in loci created to remember discrete, individual facts. At that time, he had not reused these loci and did not intend to. In the cases we were talking about, he would create these loci by looking around him and learning at just that moment. I know in the life of an academic, the ratio of “things to remember” to “new locations you find yourself in” is quite high. But maybe you can give this a try sometime too.

“Ha, ha, Lance. You’re a great writer. Sort of the Dave Barry of the Memory Sports world.”

Oh, boy… I know that it’s an overstatement, but even so, I’m so pleased to have elicited this comparison. Dave Barry is the only author whose work makes me regularly laugh out loud. Can’t say I read much other literature in the “comedy” genre, but truthfully I’ll probably finish his bibliography before moving on because he’s a sure thing.

But in my writing about memory to be published, perhaps I should try to maintain a comedic theme. It wouldn’t be easy, and it would require a ton of peer commentary, rewriting, editing - but if it all finally resulted in an informative book which was generally agreed upon to be a funny book, that would be a work to be very proud of…

I have tried some faster memorising over the last few days and have found that most sticks fine. The few that don’t just need reinforcement. What also happens is that I am not forcing really good links, just going with what comes easily. When I go back to the weak ones, often much stronger stories suddenly appear in my imagination that I hadn’t thought of the first attempt. The repetition then works a treat. I shall keep experimenting.

You should write a book on memory. I have just finished one, but it comes from a very different perspective and is a serious book, of no use to anyone wanting to be memory champions. I did have a few moments of humour in there. My editor marked one with “This sounds very pompous. Or were you trying to be funny?” I gave up on the humour.

I would love to buy a book by you on humour using the wonderful turn of phrase you display in your posts.

Lynne

So I finally got around to reading your post, Lance. Great tips, and I have to second the popular opinion on your writing style - I absolutely love it! Of course, I’m a humor writer by nature (sometimes I’m even good at it :P), so it’s hard not to appreciate something as awesome as that.

Anyway, I thought I’d offer a little bit of input regarding my personal experience with creating palaces quickly. This is going to be a little bit back and forth, because I’m horribly inconsistent. You’ll see what I mean.

I have two methods that I typically use. One of them, which probably won’t be of much help here, is the one that I use when I have time and I’m memorizing something just because I think it would be good to memorize. In this case I decide on a place to use, pick maybe one or two loci, fiddle about until I’m satisfied that these really are the loci I want to use for my first couple of points, consider adding a few more, and then give up. I wouldn’t recommend following my example here, but I thought it worth mentioning.

My other method is to realize all of a sudden, last-minute, that there’s something I need to memorize and then to hurriedly pick a random room and stick information on loci that I pick as I go, and then to review it a couple of times. This is about as haphazard as it sounds, but oddly enough it works really well. I once memorized engineering exponential notation off of a powerpoint slide as it was being presented (giving me a minute or two max, while still listening to the guy talk) and I can still recall it all today. I “built” the memory palace on the spot in the room that I was sitting in at the time. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this one either, since preparation is typically a good idea, but at least it actually works.

All of that to say that I find working as I go is the best method for me, without letting myself get to perfectionist-ish on it. I’ve never actually been one to spend much time placing my images - I did that really quickly even when I was first learning the technique (it took me maybe eight seconds at the slowest back then, and today spending eight seconds on an image would feel like an eternity, but that’s just the way my brain works).

I dunno. Just some thoughts, if anybody has a use for them.

  • Jon

Lynne,

“I would love to buy a book by you on humour using the wonderful turn of phrase you display in your posts.”

Wow, Lynne. It is really encouraging hear you say this. I just feel so fortunate to know it ahead of time since there is zero chance that I would give you a book that I toiled over for free.

Preo,

“I once memorized engineering exponential notation off of a powerpoint slide as it was being presented (giving me a minute or two max, while still listening to the guy talk) and I can still recall it all today. I “built” the memory palace on the spot in the room that I was sitting in at the time. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this one either…”

After rereading my own post above, the description Alex’s and my conversation at the WMC now looks unclear. Must have been, because this is exactly what I attempted to describe. My suggestion that OP not do this in her Biology class doesn’t extend to anyone else.

I do disagree with you about how good this method is. It is a superb method, and contradicting you on this point isn’t too tricky since you did assert that using this method yielded outstanding results. Really - outstanding. And that is how good I think the method is. You are using this same cognitive function we are all forced to exploit, but you’re using it in the way that is closest to home. We all must imagine that we are in a certain place where certain things are happening around us, but you were in that place. What could be better?

You know when you run into someone who seems to know you, but they are only vaguely familiar, or perhaps not familiar at all? You will eventually ask to be reminded where it was that the two of you met, and if their description enables you to remember that occasion, do your chances of remembering who that person is not skyrocket? They do. The place you are when you learn information tends to be deeply associated with what you learn. It is so wasteful to use your imagination to pretend you are at home when the impressions on your senses are of the most relevant environment.

The method is limited by how impractical it is to travel to a new place any time you want to learn something, but if you have the chance, I say take it.

Kudos for converting auditory information by the way. You and I are cut from the same cloth.

And thank you all for the kind words. It is all very encouraging :slight_smile:

You know, you are absolutely right. :slight_smile: I guess the part that I wouldn’t recommend is waiting until the last minute and panicking. :stuck_out_tongue:

“Wow, Lynne. It is really encouraging hear you say this. I just feel so fortunate to know it ahead of time since there is zero chance that I would give you a book that I toiled over for free.”

As an author, I know all about people thinking I have lots of the book to give away and expecting a free copy. I get emails from total strangers saying they can’t afford it, could I please send them a copy. Writers make so little from a book, and then need to buy, albeit discounted, any extra copies. Happy to buy your book!

Lynne

:slight_smile:

I think your response is real dope and I definitely will take heed.

However, I think @BluberryPassion meant it takes 10 minutes to convert THE INFORMATION into an image that goes onto one of their locations in their palace.

I could have interpreted their post wrong, but I’m very interested in how would you respond to this different question?