Need help creating a Memory palace for school

Hello, I am currently a senior in highschool that just started school. I am taking on a heavy schedule of 5 Advanced Placement or AP courses. I wish to create a memory palace to store everything I learn in these classes (especially Gov, Bio and Chem). I want everything I learn from here until I get my PhD in neuroscience to be stored in a memory palace so I never forget what I learn and not waste time studying for exams to get information back in my head when I can work to get it stuck in there in the first place.

As you imagine, a memory palace for even one year of school with 5 classes requires a lot of loci. But the problem is I don’t know exactly how to go about making a palace with that many loci. The places I know and have mapped out in a memory palace do not hold enough loci to sustain all the information i’m going to learn. So I decided I was gonna create an imaginary mind palace. However, I do not know how to organize all the information in this palace. For example: Should I organize my information into the units I learn them in school (i.e putting all organic chemistry I learn in AP Chem separate from the nuclear chemistry), and how? Also, a huge problem is just coming up with enough loci to hold everything i’m going to learn. Has anyone used a memory palace for school like this? If you have, I would love some tips. Thanks!

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Check out gavino’s massive memory palace system, and part 2.

Bateman

My recommendations:

Continue studying using traditional techniques, especially for topics that require understanding, reasoning, etc.
Utilize Mnemonic techniques to ASSIST in your studies, not to REPLACE them

Mnemonic techniques are best for factual information
For example:
Dates
Numbers
Names
Sequences

In chemistry, use Mnemonics to memorize the periodic table, but utilize traditional methods to understand chemical reactions
In history, Mnemonics will rock
In calculus, less so

First start relatively small
Here is a link on starting one for the periodic table

Hope that helps!

Ray

Hello Ayen,

I am a medical student and have utilized memory palaces extensively throughout my studies. As to how it relates to your classes, obviously biology and even chemistry are right in line with my subjects, gov not so much but I think it would translate pretty easily.

Disclaimer: I have worked with mnemonic techniques for over 3 years now, so I have a little jump on you, experience-wise.

Nonetheless, I’ll give you what I have learned works best for me.

First off, I have plenty of memory palaces (which I think is key and very easy to accumulate - there are great threads on this site in reference to this topic). This allows me to have a greater amount of time/lectures before I need to re-use a palace. My best palaces come from friends’ houses I’ve visited regularly, restaurants I’m really familiar with, even stores I have shopped in a lot, and yards or parks (outdoor areas) are actually by far my best because they feel very uninhibited to me, but really just any place I can visualize myself walking around in. I haven’t delved into movies or video games, but it sounds like those are great options if they are detailed enough in your mind.

Within the palaces, for this technique, I don’t have a strict passage throughout; I do have general idea of the directions I want to go. The reason I don’t have a strict passage is because in these lectures you never know what information you might have that needs to be plugged in at the next loci. For instance, if I have a simple definition then it’s fine to put that on a loci that is small and maybe doesn’t have the space around it that I would like to have if the next piece of information is a list of symptoms for a disease — that would need a loci with more room to visualize more data.

I use one palace for each 1 hour lecture and I have had no problems whatsoever, even with how dense our lectures can get; however, the palaces I’m using have, on average, around 40-50 loci so if your palaces don’t have this many loci, you may need to use one or two more per lecture. The next thing to know is that we also have multiple “subjects” going on at once (for instance, biochem, physiology, histology, etc) so this system has worked in this respect as well. All that I do is keep a word document on my computer (a sheet of paper would work just as well) and keep track of which palaces I use for each lecture of which subject. I have tried the technique of using restaurants for this subject, friends’ houses for this one, etc., but I haven’t noticed a difference in just picking and choosing whichever palace I want to use at that time — after all, some palaces I can utilize better than with others, so for harder material I use my stronger palaces.

In reference to the information itself, I first like to go through the power points (or maybe book chapters in your case) and as I go through just jot down each topic I can separate out. This is not taking notes. In a chemistry lecture, it might be each periodic table element you were focusing on that day, or maybe each chemical reaction discussed. In bio, maybe it’s each bacteria discussed, or each species, or both—whatever is in that particular lecture. On some days there might be 3-7 and I would just put those in separate spaces (1 per main room, or one per main space - front of house, middle of house, back of house, despite the number of rooms in that division of space); on other lectures, there might be 20-30, maybe more, and it doesn’t seem like they can be divided up other than just each piece of information. In this case, I just pretty much go loci to loci. Going back to when I said there may be 3-7, obviously there will be a lot of information inside of these main topics, so that is when you will just make use of the loci in and around those main spaces you divided up, but it will allow you to easily go straight to that room/space and know that information is all connected somehow. The reason I do this beforehand, and not just going through and plugging in the data as you study, is because it’s nice to know just how many loci you’ll use so you know how far you can spread them out. As an aside, I also use the major system when needing to plug in numbers, and other techniques when needed as well — i.e. if it’s a chart that isn’t somehow divisible or it’s easier to learn in chart form this would require a different system that you can find elsewhere on this site.

Plugging in the specific information is then pretty easy. I make a strong association between the piece of material and the loci and spend the majority of the time doing that, because that is really the crux the technique and without that association I could never recall the piece of information when it comes up on the exam. As for linking the specific loci, I use the journey that I walk as the link and can see myself walking from loci to loci, otherwise if I can’t, I know that I haven’t really locked in the material; so I don’t really spend time linking the 2 subsequent loci other than that.

This is the gist of how I have utilized the system. You can really only get an actual sense of it once you’ve tried it, as with many things. I really feel that once you have enough palaces where you have really locked in good strong loci, this method will work well. At lease, it has for me :slight_smile: -[sorry so long!]-

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@Langerhans: Thank you for your detailed explanation, this was very helpful! Could you perhaps tell us, how many Palaces and Loci you have assembled so far? I have started to work out Routes of different lengths to get an overview about how many Loci are realistic for me to collect. My problem is that, probably due to my Asperger’s, I do not spend so much time outside my home. I have only very few friends, so there would be only 2-3 homes I could use. Also going to supermarkets, cafes, restaurants and so on means a lot of stress for me, so I avoid this as much as I can.

The idea with video games also sounds interesting to me, but there’s a similar problem that so far I have not played a lot of games. So it would take me some effort in the beginning to start playing first. Watching walkthrough-videos does not work so good for me.

Have you ever tried to build up an imaginary Palace, as Ayen started to do?

You also said you will reuse your Palaces after a while, is that right? Do you do this after the information has moved on to your long-term memory, so you don’t need the Palace any more?

And how often do you review your stored information?

Greetings and thank you again for sharing your experience,
Sunny

Florian has a website that has a memory palace/journey based on the world map

Sunny,

First, please don’t sacrifice going through a stressful situation in order to get more palaces. It’s not worth it.

As to the number of palaces I have, I have a program that holds the lists of my palaces divided up into houses, buildings, and outdoor groups. I have around 20 houses, 30 buildings, and 20 outdoor spaces (yards, trails, parks, street routes). So that adds up to about 70.

I’m not really the right person to ask on how to get more palaces since I don’t have any experience with sources other than real places I’ve known well. I have never tried to build an imaginary palace. It works for some, but it seems like a lot more effort upfront and I haven’t felt the need to make one. In your situation, this might be useful. Since you’ve just started, I wouldn’t try too much at one time. Since there is a lot of imagination and visualization and connecting objects to places and numbers to people or actions, this puts a lot of stress on your mind, especially when you’re just getting started. It’s an enjoyable process if you take your time and do it right.

As for usage, I will only use them at most twice a semester. I divide the material between pre-midterm and post-midterm usually. And I rarely use the same palaces for the same subject (it’s hard to explain, but for me this is more effective).

Pertaining to what I do once I re-use a palace: yes, by the time I re-use the palace I have really worked on actually understanding the material and have probably reviewed the material around 4 times (it should get quicker with each review). I have a schedule for reviewing that I try to stick to but I’m not as good at this as I should be — not enough time in my schedule is usually the problem for me. My review schedule is: day 1, obviously I plug in the information; review #1 the next day; review #2 is 5 days after that; review #3 is 10 days after that, review #4 is 1 month after that. So this 4th review is actually close to 6 or 7 weeks from the initial lecture. In my studies (medical school), there is so much material that I have to review it in quicker intervals than most others have mentioned. Also, if my test is coming up before the next “scheduled” review, then the schedule goes out the window because I need to see all the material within a couple of days before the test. It gets a little tricky after that because I then tweak my schedule going forward depending on how many reviews I’ve had to that point. But for long term review, I usually try to stick to 6 weeks, then 2 months after that, then 4 months after that — I have a small daily calendar in which I write in future days of which lectures I need to review. Again, these reviews don’t always get done and some lectures I pretty much only review a couple of the bigger points, since there are a lot of little things we learn for tests that aren’t as relevant moving forward.

The next question I anticipate is if it’s hard for me to “clear” my palaces after reviewing information in it multiple times. For me, it’s a resounding no. The information I’m using at that moment is very clear since I spend a lot of time and effort up front connecting to the loci. The strong connections from previous material does however get pretty fuzzy pretty quickly, but if I’ve learned it like I should have, then I will be able to see the previous topic faintly at its loci. When I think of this connection, it’s really just a key for my mind to easily visualize the material again; it’s not used to help me re-learn that information. This is why it’s so important for me to really understand the material before I move forward.

Another thing about reviewing is that you do have to have notes somewhere, because this allows you to make sure you haven’t let something you need to keep reviewing slip through the cracks. I mostly use review books (you may just use your text book or powerpoints or whatever book has the material you’re learning). What I like to do is after I’ve made the connections and reviewed them to make sure I like the way they are set up, I then just go through and when I see something that I feel I want/need to remember going forward, I write the palace and loci that I used for it initially out beside that topic. Then as I review that lecture/chapter, I can quickly know the points I wanted to remember and it takes only a couple of seconds to see it’s connection to that loci that I made in that initial setting.

Hope this helps.

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Hi Langerhans,

thank you a lot!

You’re right, for the beginning I have more than enough routes. I have things like my current home, my earlier home, my former school, doctors where I have been, the park… I made a list of routes and currently I’m writing down the possible loci so that I have a better overview about which route to take for which topic.

In the meanwhile I love to read about the experience of people who have been using this technique for a while already because I feel like I want to use this for the rest of my life :slight_smile:
I try to train how to set up new routes by going for a walk. One user of this board (I’m not sure who it was) wrote that he only needs to walk somewhere one time to grab this place as a new route. Only sometimes he takes some photos as a reminder. This does not work so fast for me, but I notice that I see the world very differently now. I pay much more attention to my environment now and also my imagination skills seem to approve, at least a bit.

Also thank you for your thoughts about reviewing! This is something I have neglected to much in the past. I never used a repetition schedule rather than drumming everything into my head one week before the exam… Which worked at school, but not very well at university…

:slight_smile: