Memory Training as a student

Hello from the United States! I’m currently a high school student, so as you may have been able to guess, I am often overwhelmed by homework and tests. I am currently reading “Moon walking with Einstein” by Josh Foer and became interested in the memory training community. With all that being said, what do you all suggest I should start with in order to better use my memory to study for tests/learn more in school? I’d be grateful for a response.

Get a memory palace. It’s likely you already have some like your house and your school, but I doubt it’s enough.

I believe you have already walked through one of the exercises in the Moonwalk book by placing items in your house and you know it WILL work.

Basically it’s the same with tests and exams, you turn the words into tangible things and do the same, place them in the loci in your palace in interesting ways, make them as wild as you like, no one knows what you’re thinking.

No need to practice much at all, I mean like no need to place unnecessary and irrelevant stuff into your palaces just for practice and waste limited locations. But make sure you repeat and revisit them as much as possible when you’re really using it for exams or tests.

Personally, the only problem I’ve come across is not enough loci. Just one exam, 700 words, used my entire school. So get ready to expand your palaces.

(I didn’t read the whole book, cuz a lot of it is just boring story telling, and the memory palace technique is already enough. )

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As a student your objective will be more of less understand what is assigned in your curriculum and be able to reproduce that knowledge when tested in some test to get credit of your learning. This objective will need multiple skills, and major skills needed will be ability to understand the content and to retain it in memory so that it can be applied to practical situations as well as to reproduce in examinations and viva vices

Retention of information and recall for that information will be necessary to revise the content, and memory techniques will help you there.

To use the techniques effectively to help your studies you should consider individual techniques as tools for achieving complex tasks of retaining content of your topics.

Just like we learn individual steps for dance and then the actual dance is performed using a combination of those steps. Similarly in sports we learn different steps of game as separate activity and in a game we combine all those steps to achieve objective of the game. The analogy can be extended to many areas like while drawing we learn many strokes, and techniques of using brush and colors and while actual practice we use combinations of those steps to perform the actual art.

My point in explaining this fact about individual steps and combining them to achieve a complex task is to understand that in memory techniques also there will be basic steps which may feel redundant and boring to master, but spending some time mastering those individual steps first will help you a lot in achieving complex activities of retaining content later.

The basic tools needed for memory techniques application can be listed out. For example I am listing some of them

  1. Major System (For converting numbers to words and then images)
  2. Dominic System
  3. Association - Bi-association technique( to link two concepts together)
  4. Story Technique (To combine multiple things in sequence using people, objects and actions)
  5. Peg systems (Major Number Number Peg System - PAO) for converting contents with lot of things in order, Alphabet Peg Systems
  6. Memory Palace Technique (Adding location to the content which is major part of learning memory techniques)

Once you have these basic tools practiced then you can learn how to combine many of them to achieve retention of content. This forum has many example where people have explained how they combined the basic techniques to achieve a certain goal.

Goals like

  1. Remembering formulae
  2. Remembering text verbatim
  3. Remembering books by chapters
  4. Remembering content which is necessary to do their day to day chores
  5. Preparation for a subject in order to reproduce in an examination

So my suggestion will be to figure out the basic techniques. Understand them and practice them even if they feel boring or redundant or very childish at first. These techniques are the tools which will help you learn complex activities later by combining them together in some sequence.


I tried the memory palace around my house to remember 10 things from my to do list and it worked very well, so thanks for introducing me to it. Now problem is I can’t get these images out of my mind.

Thanks for the response. Those basic techniques you listed are exactly what I was looking for. I’ll be sure to practice them with all this spare time I have and hopefully do well in school now.

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That’s the point, the memory palace technique is extremely useful for long term memory, you’re supposed to not be able to get them out of your head easily.

Some people say you can erase it like setting it on fire or not using it for a period of time, I doubt it’s sufficient. Important memories can’t really be removed.

Personally, I’d keep expanding my palaces to deal with this problem.