Memorization Of Physics Theory

Greetings Everyone!

Here is the sample paragraph (out of many) that i been trying to remember for the past couple of days. Please guide me as i am practically new to the methods of “memory palace”. Also, I have just completed reading “The Art Of Memory” by Frances A. Yates and currently reading Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer. I thought that i can pass my college exams using this method but now i’m finding myself a bit overwhelmed by this approach. I have used my childhood house as loci but i’m finding difficult of placing objects as images for the following text:

When a plano-convex lens of large radius of curvature is placed with its convex surface in contact with a plane glass plate, an air-film is formed between the lower surface of the lens and the upper surface of the plate. The thickness of the film gradually increases from the point of contact outwards. Of monochromatic light is allowed to fall normally on this film, a system of alternate bright and dark concentric rings with the center dark is formed in the air-film. These are called Newton Rings which can be seen through a low-power microscope focused on the film

I can also try other methods of remembering things like this. if you guys have any, kindly share. Thanks.

What exactly are you placing in the various locations? Are you trying to memorize the text verbatim? If so, why?

1 Like

Hi Maniyar,

If you are trying to memorise this text above (rather than understand what it means, which is a COMPLETELY different thing) I really would not recommend that at all. Until you understand what it means and have expressed the same thing in your own words at least a couple of times (and sketched out the mathematics -:slight_smile: and have several applied examples of what difference this knowledge would make in approaching say a design problem - then you will start to understand the problem.
After a few reviews, - just a few minutes a few sleeps apart - to get it perfectly clear on paper - then and ONLY then - that’s when most of us would recommend that you use the method of loci or whatever you want to call it - to help you recall it for even longer then permanently … you will still have to review it as you will know from your reading no one has yet overcome the forgetting curve - we can push it back a lot but we cannot (yet) overcome it.

So - Understanding will help a lot more than verbatim recall of the definition of Newton’s rings.

Even Convincing Parrots like Professional Actors don’t understand what they are saying…
The books you have read probably tell you that these memory techniques are great at helping you RECALL stuff. True, but it should add “Stuff you already understand”. It’s easy to employ Method of Loci and Journey method and all these others - which boil down to the same thing incidentally - using visualisation for familiarity and spatial location for retrieval - to recall list of things you already know and here ‘know’ I mean in the sense of comprehend not in the sense of being able to recite like a parrot. Even a very convincing parrot like a professional actor. Actors learn lines, they are good at that…they don’t necessarily understand what they are saying though. If you ever associate with actors you will soon realise this.

If you need to know this physics stuff and I suppose that you do as you are studying physics then learn to study. (I am not and never have studied physics beyond fifth year at school - but I worked on a project where lenses and prisms were used in a portable version of a mirror box was being developed for people who had a limb amputated - ) the designer wanted to use a series of lenses and a mirror but once we showed an engineer (who had studied such things and presumably had Physics…) and he said it would be better to use a prism and mirrors rather than lenses to invert (mirror) an image and they talked about interference patterns … the engineers won… There’s at least one moderator on this forum who has an Honours Degree in Physics so he might help… both you and me understand that…
Good luck with your studies - in Physics and in Applied Memory Techniques - and do tell us if you find a solution.

K in Glasgow.
(No I am not Kelvin!)


Hi @maniyar5496, welcome to the forum.

Good that u have started ur journey by reading up on memory related topics.
I dont have a background in physics, but the passage that u have presented is fairly easy to understand.I will try my best to help u with the text.

The first part in any text memorization is to break up the words and encode into a visual image.Then,link the images & Once thats done, u put ur encoded image on a loci.

Since u have just started,i will recommend u to use 3 loci(For me one would suffice)

Note:U may find the following process tough,but i assure u it becomes easy with practice.
It took me only 10 minutes.

I have broken down the passage into 3 parts:

Part 1 :

The first process is to encode:
plane-convex lens --we have an image
ROC(Radius of Curvature) = ROCky linked with the lens.
Air-Film = h(AIR) + reel FILM
Glass plate-- we have an image

This is close to what it should look like.


Part 2:

A thin girl with a THICK BUTT holding a film.


Part 3:

Monochromatic light:
Option 1:Monochromatic(replaced by Monocle) & light(replaced by candle/lamp)
Option 2: A PRISM(I’d prefer)

Concentric ring:represented by a hypnosis spiral

Newton ring & microscope: Image of Newton with one ear attached to microscope & other ear with ring.
(Alternative:Imagine a Large microscope ,and on its stage is Newton with a big ring is watching the hypnosis spiral thru a Monocle with candle)

For me,Newton’s cradle is a better image.

The image that i have provided below is not accurate since i m doing in a hurry,just take the various pegs on the microscope & link the image.

Once u have linked these images with ur loci,review it after 1 hr & then after 6 hrs.

Also for upping ur encoding techniques,search the forum on “Text Memorization”.
Maybe, @Josh can u help u with this as I m relatively new to this forum.

And lastly,a word of caution:
Use this technique only & only if u have sufficient time on ur hands.
I hope u r not asking this for a any licensing/Common Entrance test that u wanna appear in the coming few months.If thats the case,SKIP THIS PROCESS COMPLETELY.

Remember,if u r competing in a test,than u have to better ur test-taking capability.If u spend too much time on encoding,then u might spend ur precious exam preparation time and will eventually panic.I see so many newbies on this forum with such queries.This is no magic but just a technique that needs practice.So,first decide what u want to do.

Hope this helps & best of luck for ur studies :slightly_smiling_face:


If you want to memorize passages verbatim, then mnemonics will disturb you. You’re better off deeply understanding what’s being said there and review the passages regularly.

1 Like

Hi there…
Greetings of the day. I simply can not explain in words how thankful I feel when I read these detailed replies by people like you. Really, thanks a lot!! You guys are a real help!!

I had a few queries on this reply of yours. What do you mean when you say …’[quote=“HigherLearning, post:4, topic:47988”]
And lastly,a word of caution:
Use this technique only & only if u have sufficient time on ur hands.
I hope u r not asking this for a any licensing/Common Entrance test that u wanna appear in the coming few months.If thats the case, SKIP THIS PROCESS COMPLETELY .
[/quote]… Can you please elaborate.
Actually I’m preparing for an exam in Sep 2020. The material that I’m required to learn consists of approx 3500 A-4 size pages with text written in Arial font size 10. Should I go ahead with this technique or would you recommend otherwise.
Regards and thanks

1 Like

Woah! You did all this in 10 minutes. Man, I wish I could do this so easily. That “Rocky” bit made it look so easy. I think, in these 3 days left for my exams, I can do this too if focused and determined. I know, I don’t have sufficient time but hell I can try

1 Like

Ok. Now i understand how wrong i was in approaching this method. To first remember stuff, you have to actually understand it. But in this case, i only have a week left for my exams and the thing is that I DON’T want to understand all of this cause i’m severely late at completing the syllabus and only want to pass this semester.

I can understand all of this easily. But there are SO MANY Q&A that i am scared that i will forget them on the exam day. I wanted to use “memory palace technique” to make distinct
images so that i don’t forget.

Hey, initially, i was trying to make distinct images for the text verbatim and was placing them in my loci. But having a hard time making images out of each line but now i understand what to do. You wouldn’t believe but about a month ago, i was making stories out of 2 page answers like this and THIS was taking me so much time because i have to remember them again as images NOT as real answers. I was utterly confused by this process.

All the best @maniyar5496,I,m sure u can do it…Perseverance is the key!

Hey @HigherLearning Can you please tell me how you created those images? Those are so good!

Did you use Photoshop or something?

1 Like

Good luck! Now go and practice… Kind Regards K, Glasgow

First off @ranahydro,thank you for posting ur question in the forum section.
I did get ur PM & was about to answer there,but then i got the 2nd notification .
The benefit of posting it here, is that others can benefit from the discussion as well.

Since u do appreciate detailed replies, I’ll try my best to be as clear as possible.
I’ll first answer ur questions & then give u my thoughts.

What I meant was, if u r not in the habit of encoding & have relied on Rote-Learning all ur life(like many of us do),then its not a good strategy to change ur learning style midway of ur preparation

First I’d like to know whether u r relying directly on ur source material(3500 page notes) or u have made ur own Condensed Notes of it .(Also i presume its a MCQ type test).
If u haven’t, then I’d not recommend,in the least bit, to practice the above method.
If u have,then u need to be selective as to which sections u would want to use the memorization technique.

The passage that was presented by @maniyar5496 was fairly simple and which,according to him,is one among many.For a total newbie to change his method of learning just before the exam is a recipe for disaster.When u r starting off,it takes time to encode ,visualize loci & then repeat the process as well.
I see people posting here looking for shortcut to clear 15 to 20 subjects for licensing examination,which just aint gonna happen overnight.

Instead, what I’d recommend is, go for a 80/20 or 70/30 rule, where 70-80% is u do what u were doing earlier,be it Rote-learning/Re-Reading/making notes/Anki etc. &
for the remaining 20 to 30% use the above technique.

Use this technique esp. for volatile nuggets.
For instance in Law,Medicine etc. there are so many buzzwords that one has to memorize.
In those situations ,this will be helpful,but again be selective.
In the above encoding,I broke the question into many parts,which I wont do if it was for myself.I will try to be as minimal as possible.I was just trying to be succinct in my reply.

Also I’d like to mention that this technique would be more useful,if u r appearing for orals/viva test.I say this bcos then u r sitting in front of an examiner and if u have memorized it correctly,the confidence will be quire apparent in ur presentation.
This can also work well if its a theory paper.Then u can expand ur answers coz u remember the material so well.

The thing with an MCQ test,is that sometimes it doesnt matter how well u know the subject in its entirety.All that matters is that u tick the right answer,whether u know it or by sheer fluke.Therefore,its all the more important to go thru previous years question bank.U will have to think like an examiner yourself.Have any topics been repeated ,and if yes,then those become the High-Yield stuff.

If ur exam is in September,I’d go with the 80/20 rule.
After the exams are done,get in the habit of encoding.It will be of help for ur future tests.

Hope the answer was not too long for u.
All the best for ur exams…Cheers :slightly_smiling_face:


Well,Photoshop would be ideal.
I made this using a combination of powerpoint & an annotation tool.

P.S. It’s not important to make those images.

Roger… I get your point. I’ll stick to the 80/20 then. Once again. Thanks a ton…

1 Like