How to increase Memorization Speed


I have been a member for a while now, and must say that this site has changed my life! I recently decided to get more serious about learning and practicing the techniques on this site. I’ve had great success learning and memorizing using the Method of Loci for lists, formulas, etc. One area of improvement that I am sorely lacking in is the speed at which I can put something into the loci. I am terribly slow at this.
For example, for practice, I wanted to memorize a poem, so I tried did the “Ozymandias” challenge here.
Someone did it in 12 minutes, but it took me several hours over the course of a day to get it. Coming up with the images and placing them in the loci and then “playing it” in my mind seems to take forever.

This problem is seriously highlighted when I tried the dice game. The numbers flash so fast that I can’t even bring up my image for the number before the game flashes the next one. After two rolls I am too far behind.

I know the answer is “practice”, and I’m not looking for shortcuts, but are there any tips or “drills” for a beginner to increase the speed? I would say that I’m beyond what is in the Beginners Portal, but I’m nowhere near as advanced as even the dice game I mentioned above. In summary, my question is “How do you get started in speed memory once you get the techniques down?” When learning piano, you practice chords and scales with a metronome. What are the “chords and scales” for speeding up my memory-loci encoding?
Thanks again to all the great people on this forum!

(Josh Cohen) #2

Don’t worry too much about comparisons like that, especially at the beginning. I think that practicing good form is more important in the beginning (with anything one does).

I would practice slowly at first until you know your images very well. If you’re using 2-digit images, it might help to alternately flip your palm up and down when each die face flashes. That can help to avoid losing your place.

“one” (palm up)
“four” (palm down)
[14 => convert to your image]

“three” (palm up)
“one” (palm down)
[31 => convert to your image]


It might also help to practice “reading” your number images with these random number generators.

When I was learning my systems, I spent a lot of time reading license plates and other numbers that turned up in my field of vision. After a while, I could see the images instantly, even before I could find the associated sounds.


In the dice game you could combine two rolls for a two digit system. Then try to do two images and make them interact. Than you would have four dice rolls.

I do think this is the way to go for increasing memorization speed. Giving up control over the speed to the computer forces you to be fast. Other games to try are the flashing numbers and the spoken numbers. Another challenge here is that no review is possible. This forces you to be make the interactions very memorable.


Thanks everyone, that helps. I still need to think when I see the numbers, so maybe some devoted time towards the associations will do me some good, like the random generators.