How to memorize textbooks or heavily information dense material

I don’t know if I updated about this recently, but not too long ago I took the Japanese test.
All in all, I had to know 10,000 words, 2.4k kanji, and 1,000 grammar points.
I failed, but not for the reasons that you think.
The memory palace worked like a charm when it came to memorizing words, but I couldn’t get it to work for kanji.
After some time, I just forgot about actually studying Kanji, and the main problem was that I couldn’t read as well as I should have.
The problem is, the answers were written in Japanese, so I was only able to sniff out the answers from what I knew.
However, I did do very well in the listening section.
This took under a year and now knowing my mistake, I can continue and go back and do it quicker.

Speaking of which, I recently got into a Masters Program at NYU.
I have devoted myself to memorizing the subject material in the textbooks.
I have been having some problems actually thinking about how to take dense material and place it into a memory palace.
A lot of people mentioned different ways, but I have yet to see something that really clicks with me.
Any information you can give on subject would be amazing.
I am studying three months ahead of time, so if I can have all the information for the entire two years already pre-loaded, it would be amazing.

I do understand the amount of time and work it will take, and I am really looking forward to it.

So please, if you have any advice on how to do so, please let me know.

My first idea was to make a memory palace, not one that exists, and just have 2,000 doors.
But it seems the further I go, the more the information seems to blend together.
I assume this is due to lack of variation because all of the doors look alike.

Congratulations on getting into the masters program!

I am trying an experiment and am not sure what the results will be, but I am optimistic. I am creating a memory palace which follows the textbook chapter by chapter, point by point. In addition and quite separately I create mind maps based on various topics covered in the field of the textbook. In this specific case, I am studying a philosophy textbook which covers the subject historically, the first chapter starts in 700BCE and the last 2008. In a separate study session, I do a mind map on a specific philosophical subject, without accessing any notes or books, for example metaphysics. I then go back to my notes and to the book to fill out any areas/ideas I have missed. I then make a more complete mind map.

My sense is that the result will be that I will more easily be able to recall anything I need to quickly, having structured the material two ways using two different techniques.

I don’t know how you might apply any of this to studying kanji. I, personally, take a divide and conquer approach. I do a lot of extensive reading to get the general gist of words, and intensive reading to get specific meanings, and also do a separate study just focusing on writing the kanji off of a keyword or from a specific radical.

Good luck!

I’ve been memorizing concepts from a book as I have been reading, so I think I can help.

I would take the most important points and memorize those. I have found that sometimes having one single object to help remember one point may end up triggering multiple other related thoughts. Use the artificial memory to trigger one central point, and pick one from which you can remember multiple other points using your natural memory.

As an example, I am doing this with accounting terminology. I might use images to remember concepts such as these:

  • Going Concern
  • Paid-in-Capital
  • Call Option

I use objects to remember each of those (a gong, a toothpick, and a corded phone) to remember the words themselves only, but I can tell you this about going concern: A company has a going concern issue when they are not able to meet their obligations as they come due from the revenues generated in the ordinary course of business, and the company that is in danger of being unable to continue operations may need to revalue its assets at liquidation value for disclosure purposes.

I never memorized that definition artificially; I just remember it because the full body of thought is associated with going concern in my head.

I can tell you this about paid-in-capital: It is the total of premiums/discounts of stock purchased from a company, donated stock, and repurchases of treasury stock (I admit there’s one more item in this I can’t remember). But I didn’t have to use a picture to remember those precise details. I just remember them when I think of paid-in capital.

Experiment. See what it is you need artificial objects for, and what you can recall with natural memory. I think you’ll find that you need fewer artificial objects than you think.

Thank you both for your comments!

I was wavering on just doing it point by point, and some concepts just doing them as a whole.

Like I would do certain pathways of the cell cycle with one image in my brain, and then another loci would be with things that I have to remember. My main problem is knowing the difference between information and concepts.

Concepts you have to understand, information are things you have to memorize.

And how did it work for you?

Lastly, please tell me @chill how that goes, I am really interested to see which road comes next.

It works well for me. With practice things come easier, and you learn to embed abstract, complex thoughts into a single image.

As to what you ought to memorize and what you ought to leave to natural memory, I offer this just as a way of suggestion: memorize the overarching structure of what you want to remember. For example, can you break the cell cycle into broad phases? Maybe memorize that, get that down, think on it a little in your head, and then you can go back and memorize points related to the first step (repeat), second, etc. You will not only get down the facts, but you have put them in logical order inside your head where you can think about them. That should make concepts come easier, thus helping you remember more with less effort.

Also, even when there’s not much in the way of order or structure, or your memory structure is not necessarily logical to the subject itself (I am doing an alphabetical organization system for my accounting memorization, and not topical), you can still just have faith in the system. You’ll find your mind making many connections between facts and concepts just because they are now in your mind where the brain can work with them, whether or not you have the best organizational structure. You can do fine-tuning later.

Below is a link of the process I am starting to use:
And I will also post a picture of how my notes look:

But I definitely understand what you mean and that is how I am breaking it down now.
But I am going chapter by chapter, subsection by subsection.
So like each of the subsections have a room and in the room can have 40-50 loci per subsection. The loci are paragraph based and depends if I need to know that information.

So door one would be like Chapter 1, section 1.1. You open and inside are 3-5 loci to stand for what I want to remember.
This should have the least compared to the rest of the chapter because they try not to be as information dense as the rest of the chapters.

So far it feels like it is working well, by breaking everything down by paragraph and making them single bullet points, it is a lot easier to understand, and may not even need the memory palace, but it is nicer for organization.

Can you give some tips on how to use memory palace for memorizing subject like law .??

Common law or statutory law? @SilvioB has a few posts on the latter…