How would you approach this memory test?

Hi all, this is a question about technique/approach relating to a psychometric test for a job application. Getting this job would be life-changing for me and I’m at the final stage so I would be delighted with any advice :grinning:

The test is very time pressured. I will have 10 minutes to learn and memorise information presented on 2 sides of A4 paper, mostly based around a fictional travel company. I am allowed to take notes. After 10 minutes the text and any notes are taken away and I have another 10 minutes to answer 30 multiple-choice questions from memory. The pass mark is secret but I know it is lower for my position than for some other roles.

To get an idea of the kind of information you can download a sample test here. The real test on the day will be about 6 times longer:

As you can see it’s a real mix of abstract/numerical, and not so abstract information. There’s also a lot of information with several components (the shop is open at 8am on Monday but not Saturday)

I am aware of the memory palace and major system but are these techniques useful given the timescale of the test and the nature of the information? How would you approach it? I feel like 10 minutes is really tough to read and memorise this type of stuff, and I dread turning up and not reaching my potential because I panic and approach it haphazardly. I would love to at least have a method so that I could feel I did my best, whatever the outcome.

Thanks in advance for any advice!


Two things; action and time.

Example 1; The website is 24 hours a day (Time) avalaible for people who want to order tickets (Action).

Example 2; The tickets must be booked (Action) 3 days in advance of travel (Time).

Example 3; When the tickets are booked (Action), the tickets must be paid (Action) two days in advance of travel (Time).

Sentences like these are often everywhere and are pretty easy to spot if you know what to look for.

Try to memorize as much numerical data as possible like dates, time, value, amount etc. Look out for information that are too specific and cannot be guessed like personal information, links, emails, videos, names etc.


The approach in this type of situation is always the same:

  1. Convert the abstract ideas/terms into ‘concrete images’
  2. Put those images into the loci of a Memory Palace

For 2 pages,you might not need more than 70 to 100 images! So,you need to prepare a Memory Palace that has 100 loci! Practice putting images in the loci and recalling them from the loci.

For example,from the link you have given,I have chosen the following ‘words/terms/digits’ to put in my loci of MP and encoded them in order to memorize this line from the PDF >> Shop consultants can only take ticket bookings in the shop between the hours of 08:00 - 17:30 Monday to Thursday

Shop>> A shop
Consultants>> Con(icecream)+Salt
08:00>>Owen Heart+Octopus(Dominic System for number)
17:30>>Alexander Graham Bell+Coal(Dominic System for number)
Monday>> Moon
Thursday>> Trash can

Now,put these eight images in the Loci in your Memory Palace,you will be able to recall the main idea of this line from the PDF file in the link you posted>>>> Shop consultants can only take ticket bookings in the shop between the hours of 08:00 - 17:30 Monday to Thursday

Should be very easy to recall…!!!

But how fast you will be able to recall those info depends on how skilled,experienced and committed you are in mnemonic techniques like “Memory Palace”,Number Systems like Major System/Dominic System,converting abstract ideas/words into images,etc!!

But from the example you have provided, I can say it is not a very complex exam and the recalling should be quite easy with Mnemonic techniques. I believe,if you use the proper methods,the exam will be very easy for you to pass!!


Wow these are great and very encouraging answers, thank you @albinoblanke @elitely.

I have no idea if the content will be similar. It might be more related to safety procedures on the day rather than shops/transactions. But such information may even be less abstract and easier to remember.

I think this will be the biggest difficulty for me @elitely as I am not very experienced with these techniques yet, although I have used them in isolated cases in the past. 70 - 100 images sounds like a lot in 10 minutes for me. I have a couple of weeks to practice though so hopefully it is at least time to improve if not master. The key here is just doing well enough - I don’t have to be perfect.

Thanks again!

I think,you can still encode at least 7 to 9 images in one minute(whatever your skill level is). That means,you can actually complete the review within 10 minutes.

One thing is interesting. The pdf you uploaded had easy to encode images. So,you should be able to encode data fast…

But anyway,I think,you should really use “Memory Palace” as even if you don’t encode the words,you can still benefit from MP…One technique is to just ‘put the words you want to remember in the loci’ of your MP. Not need to create images or convert the images into words. Just imagine/think that there is a word you have put in a loci…In most cases,you will be able to retrieve it later!

Funny thing is,I cannot forget the words above that I encoded from your PDF. I can clearly remember all the images that I have put in my MP! And I didn’t even review them later;still I can remember the images and the line from the PDF! Memory Palace is so very powerful… :slight_smile:

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Just an update. Thank you for these tips, they have already improved my memory in many useful ways, however as far as using them for the test is concerned I have a few follow-up questions:

  1. Would you write notes? If so would it be: “1. Shop 2. Con(icecream)+Salt” or should I be writing the notes like “1. Shop 2. Consultants” and then just imagining my mnemonics in the memory palace at 1 and 2? Or no notes at all? (remember I am not allowed to keep them)

  2. I’m finding that it’s hard for me to encode the relationships between things. So for example I might write (like you suggest):

Owen Heart+Octopus
Alexander Graham Bell+Coal

next to notes numbered 5 and 6 (for loci) in my memory palace, so I’m retrieving the numbers 8:00 and 17.30 but not, say, that it means tickets can be booked monday - thursday (which would be numbers 7 and 8 in memory palace). It just all seems jumbled up in my head or takes too long to write down as notes.

If I had to go without notes, I feel like I would just have a mess of images and numbers inside my head; like I would be confused between the loci number and dominic numbers.

It would be much easier with an higher time limit, at the moment I am slow deciding how to memorise the relationship between things I want to memorise. I wasn’t able to do the example I gave you in 3 minutes, I was too slow to decide how to write the notes.

Thanks again!

Oh and would you just skim read through quickly first and underline words, to separate information that is common sense/easy to remember from information that requires encoding with mnemonics/dominic system/memory palace?


I don’t write ‘notes’ when I am converting an ‘abstract text to concrete image’. I just visualize the image in my mind eye(either closing my eyes or keeping my eyes open). Writing notes would be a waste of time and I never felt the need of it…

I imagine an ‘image’ and put it in a loci/locus of a Memory Palace. I do this for five images. And then,I review them by visiting the loci to see if I could remember them well.
Then,I imagine/encode the next five images for five words and attach/associate them with my loci…

I don’t write anything like I said above. I encode the info on the fly. I think,you can do that,too.

If you find it difficult for you to encode two different images,then,just put one image in on ‘loci/locus’ of your Memory Palace. So,Owen Heart in one locus and “Octopus” in another.

However,I don’t understand why it is hard for you to imagine “Owen Heart eating a raw Octopus”! :slight_smile:

I think,you are feeling this way,because you are not having confident in the system. Your lack of confident may be because you have not used ‘mnemonics’ for a long time.

Btw,you don’t actually need to ‘number’ your loci. You can use ‘clockwise’ arrangement technique to visit your loci. This is a common technique in mnemonic world. Start from the left,move clockwise. You should always move in clockwise direction in your Memory Palace…This way,you will always feel ‘organized and in control’.

You have to do things on the fly…Writing will slow you down,man. Just select the keywords,convert them into images,put those images in the loci(clockwise),review the images to make sure you can recall them and the concept! That is it…

Try the technique with very simple thing at first,so you can the gist of it. It gets easy once your brain gets the whole process practised a couple of times.

It depends. If I know,I have to encode the data of an article,I start to encode it from the beginning of my reading…There is a reason for this(my personal reason)…

If I ‘encode’ an article using ‘mnemonic’ techniques, I can understand the article very very well. Because I have to pay ‘attention’ to create images from the article,so it means,I am gonna remember and understand it better…This is “Active Learning”…

Skimming doesn’t help me much in preparing myself for anything,or understanding the article. I consider “skimming” a passive thing… So,If I know that I have to take the article seriously,I start to apply the mnemonic technique from the beginning…This saves me from wasting a lot of time and energy!

Btw,I use the techniques(I described above) of this course in reading articles>>


@elitely thank you so much. All these tips make sense and I will try practising them today. I guess you can get the relationship between things (shop -> day of the week -> hours ticket office open) from the order of the loci?

I think you are right about my lack of confidence. Luckily I already do the clockwise technique so I don’t have to start again with that!

One final post on this thread for closure: I took the test last week and just found out that I passed! :partying_face:

The methods you told me to use definitely helped and I would’ve probably failed if I hadn’t learned them - especially the dominic system and mnemonics. I think I only find the memory palace useful at the moment for a list of things or things in sequence, but that is just because I am inexperienced.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you. This has taught me a great skill for the rest of my life.


Hey, what exactly is the job about, if you can say, please do and maybe share that information in here:

Mnemonics are very useful for everyday task and any learning endevour, however, if there are jobs that require quick learning ability or great memory, it would be good to know, to encourage people to use and expand the art of memory.

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Without saying my exact role, I will say that it is with a transport company. I think they like these tests because certain jobs in this sector have many many applicants so it helps them narrow the field and standardise the recruitment process. They also say that the tests can predict how well the candidate learns and how well they will perform on a training course.

I’m a bit sceptical about this since the there are no real-life training situations where information is taken away from you in such a short time, different people might learn effectively in different ways, and people can have a bad day on the test because of nerves. The stakes are high because, in one sector at least, the companies generally limit a candidate from making more than 2 attempts at the test in their entire lives but I guess they have to find some way of selecting people!

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Forgot to say: I’ve posted on that thread - like you say, it’s nice if it gives even one person extra motivation to study the art! I’ve found it really rewarding in the short time I’ve been learning :slight_smile: I’d always thought of myself as having a pretty rubbish memory so this has been a big boost to self-esteem

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