Is it even possible to memorize verbatim using Method of Loci?

Is it possible to memorize something word for word by Method of Loci or any other mnemonic system for that matter?

Yeah… I’ve read an article of a japanese man who memorized around 112,000 PI numbers using mnemonics. The average lenght of a book is 64,000 words, and memorizing and connecting words is far easier than memorizing PI numbers, since PI numbers don’t show any pattern and are literally a bunch of random numbers. It’s definetly possible and has been done before.

It is not impossible, but that is where it stops for as far as I know for sure.
If I remember right, the english language has about 125.000 words, and I am not sure if for example words like ‘dog’ and ‘dogs’ or like ‘bake’, ‘bakes’ and ‘baked’ are counted as single or multiple words. Secondly, there are homonyms, are they counted as one or as two?

So basically you’d have to have at least 125.000 images ready to remember any text verbatim, even more if you have to include some words known only to the ond english language, and again more if you want to include both the american and british english. Though you could also make images when needed, so you only need images for the words you want to remember.

It can be done, but the amount of images needed for a single book… it will take a long time to make that system/palace. Smaller texts, like poems, have often been memorized verbatim already, so that can be done.

I am assuming that you don’t want to remember every word in the English language, but remember sentences or a script in the order of the wording - so a word in each location. A script of 10,000 words would require 10,000 locations. That I haven’t done. I have done speeches, but not word for word.

I suppose I do one system which is word-for-word. Sorry that this is going to sound a bit vague.

I have associated each of the 82 families of birds in my state with a location. So I am associating each of the scientific family names, word for word, with 82 locations and can reel them off in order. But the purpose isn’t just the words.

I then to associate all the species, 408 basic ones, and then all the information I need for each to form a field guide in my head. So I can do a word-for-word list of all the bird names in the order of the families - a taxonomic list of well over 1000 words (most birds have two words to their name) and that list would be word-for-word exactly the same every time I do it.

I am now adding all the vagrants and extremely rare ones, then the extra families for the rest of the country, so I will eventually end up with over 800 birds in about 100 families.

For any family with more than 4 birds in it, I use another memory palace for that family, some only 5 locations long. If it is 4 or less birds, I just do a story with the family location. If it is more I have a second memory palace associated with the location of the family name. It sounds messy but it works very easily.

As for using a single memory palace for a 1,000 word speech - that I can imagine. I have a different memory palace that long. But more than that? I am not sure. I’d love to hear of others have tried it.


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Lynne, just out of curiosity, how many loci do you have in total approximately?

See also: how to memorize a book.

Thank you all for the answers.

Memory palaces definitely help with memorizing text verbatim. It’s a little bit tricky, especially in the beginning, but always keep the following principles in mind.

  1. Make lots of images. Don’t just go for the “main idea” of a sentence; break it down into phrases and memorize the phrases separately.

  2. Don’t put too many images in each location. All the top memorizers put between 2-4 images in each location (when memorizing cards, numbers, etc). You should do the same for text. The reason is that if you put too many, your story will get insanely weird and the locations will be pretty messy.

  3. Find a review system that works. Spaced Repetition is a great way to review, but if you’re going for verbatim memorization, you need to review much more often.

Hope this helps :slight_smile:

I just needed to mention that the first answer’s logic is soooo flawed o.o

When you memorize numbers, you can memorize from 6 to 10 different digits as one image.
So memorizing 112,000 PI numbers would need minimum 11k loci, not 60k as for the amount of words.

Plus, you would need to know the meaning and the spelling of all those words if you want to have 1 image for 1 word.
Otherwise, you’d need to fragment every word into a mix of its sounds, making it 2-3 images / word.
OR, you can see them as a base 26 numbers. (a-b instead of 0-9) which would require 26263 images to make a PAO system, much much more then the 10103 you can make with base 10 numbers.

Well, unless you want to learn foreign words’ exact spelling, doing such a pao for words sounds like a terrible idea, but still. Just to point out that oversimplifying doesn’t always work so well :wink:

Just saw your post and you are right, my logic in the first answer is flawed. I didn’t consider people memorized PI in patterns. Which would make memorizing a book word-for-word much harder. I’m sorry