How to use method of loci for med school

Hi, im in med school and as you might know, it’s quite hard.

But to be honest it’s not rocker science. Not at all. In fact we rarely even have to think; it’s just facts, laws, and names(of bones, organs, cells and other scientific terms) that we just need to recall. So it’s like %90 memorizing.

Now, method of loci is one method that I have been using for quite a long time. But not in a very “sofisticated” way. In fact I only stored a few names, that could be song names or a sentence that I want to remember. And I used my room for this. Believe me when I say that I really quite never do the “reminding the palace” process, which means: I just put a few words in that I symbolize which images, and come back to it a few months later when I need it. BUT thats the amazing part; whatever I have been putting in, I recall all of them. In fact, I even moved from where I used to live, so I had to create a new palace with my new house, and now: I remember both the old and the new palaces, with all the garbage I put in.

So now that I told you my experience with the method of loci, you quite understand that I really am not an experienced guy. But I still managed to use it quite effectively to remember garbage information.

Here is my question to you experienced ones: I am in med school, and we are litterally 2000 robot students, who for atleast 12 hours a day happen to memorize information. And at the end of the year, only around 400 of this students will be accepted into being doctors. So this is a real competition here. I need to know how can I used the method of loci to recall more informations. And when I say more, its really quite a lot. In fact, if I could only use my palace for the Anatomy, it would already be really really and really great for me.(And we have 5 other lessons apart from Anatomy, and still all about memorizing information). But If I could atleast get rid of Anatomy lesson with the method of loci, it would get me to the top 1000 on the 2000 students. THAT WOULD BE GREAT!

Now, for you guys to be able to help me, this is what Anatomy lessons look like: We have around 12 chapters. In all chapters we have around 5 to 10 diagrams, and each diagram contains between 10 to 25 information to recall.

Here is what a diagram that we should recall 100% of, looks like:

All advices will be well apreciated. How can I store all of those diagrams?

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I can share how I have used the method of locci to study a large amount of information. I am no memory expert but I will share how I have used it in the past.

I started using the method of locci when I had to prepare for a test at work. For my test there were 30 possible scenarios and I had to verbally recite a list of actions when presented with a scenario. For the test there were 5-8 scenarios chosen out of the 30 possible scenarios.

What I did was create rooms and for each scenario. I used pictures of a room because I had not created that many “real” rooms. I have found that using pictures of rooms is not ideal. It is much easier to use rooms that are real and you are already familiar with. I got the idea of using pictures of rooms from Scott Hagwood. He used rooms from a home magazine to win the USA Memory Championship. This technique can work but I’ve found rooms in my house or other real locations are much more effective.

So to prepare for my test I created locci in each room and printed out the pictures. I placed all the pictures in a binder and reviewed the pictures and the actions I wanted to learn. Using this method I was able to perfectly recall all of the scenarios and the actions I wanted to state during the test.

Here are the steps I would take if I wanted to learn the names of all the bones in the human head. I would first create rooms with locci for the diagram. Then I would create an order to the diagram. Maybe start with a bone on the left side of the head and work to the right… You could then create an visual association and place that association in a room you’ve created.

With the picture above you might not even need to create a room. Just place the visual association on the specific bone in the diagram. Using the method of locci with rooms might be more effective to learn something like the kreb cycle. Since the kreb cycle does not have a visual image like the human skull does. Keep in mind that you may not need to use the method of locci for everything you want to remember. Sometimes an association is enough to trigger your mind to recall the information.

These are just my thoughts and how I have used the method of locci to study. I’m still learning and there are people this forum who have way more knowledge about studying and memory techniques that I do. The one thing I have found to be the most helpful when learning about memory techniques is to use what works for me personally. If I read one thing and find it doesn’t work for me then I stop using it. I hope some of this is useful.


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You indeed helped me with your message. Because I think your last words might be all I need about this. Maybe I should use the method of loci for 1 of the other lessons, and take anatomy on a new way of memory technique. I am thinking of using the whole body as my room. What this means is, If I need to memorize a diagram about the penis, I will move to those parts of the body. Than If I need the skull I move upper. And I am thinking of using a “focus” technique. Which means, I can see the head with the nose, eyes and all of you see normally, and than I can focus under the skin, see the bones… For me loci works because of the image association. So why not take a skull and use it as my room, than just add the images on it. For exemple, the word “Orbital” on this diagram, I might just put the moon moving around the earth…

I will wait for more answers, may be someone does it better. But If nothing else comes, I might go with what I describes for anatomy. And use your kind of scenario remembering for my biology. Ty, very helpful!

You may want to check out World Memory Champion Alex Mullen’s website. He also a med student, and he created a video about how to memorize the Trigeminal Nerve. That may give you the basic idea.

I am practicing Dr. And did quite good in med school…got the residency of my choice …and i can say that if you want to memorize anatomy its best to go into the lab and start testing yourself in the lab. Make up mnemonics in the lab and , 1 hour of testing yourself in the lab is better than 10 hours of reading in the book. Also work past practice tests for the written test!
There is alot of info to memorize however you can cut down your studying time by realizing what is important to remember.


My question to you is how do you need to recall the information you learn? Let’s take the example you gave. Will you be given all the lines then have to label the skull? Do you need to just recall all the parts in specific sections?

I have learned the bones in the body, nerve systems, and much more. For some I used the method of loci but for others I used another method. It all depended on what I wanted to do with it.

Here is a video showing me recalling some diagram information.

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Hi chamil, this is coming very late, but hopefully it may still interest you and others. As Tracy mentioned, I run a site ( along with my wife, Cathy, where we explore memory palaces as learning tools, predominantly for use in medical school. There are plenty of tutorials out there that will tell you what a memory palace is, but we look at how to actually implement them for medical school. I got into memory techniques initially via competitions (I’ve won the last two world championships). It took some experimenting, but we’ve found the techniques to work exceptionally well for medical school when used properly. Our brief tutorial about the trigeminal nerve which Tracy mentioned may interest you. We’re looking to put out more anatomy-specific content soon. We’ve also got content about pathology and pharmacology as well as lots of general memory palace tips. Best of luck!


This is coming in a bit late as well, but at the bottom right corner of this web page you’ll see a “Master Your Anatomy” thumbnail. I’m not sure if it’s what you’re looking for, just thought I’d throw it out there.