Problem recalling the 'hook' of a loci

Hi All,

I’m currently studying for some professional Software exams where there are many subjects and many details to recall.

I’ve been using using my PAO system for important numbers, Imagery, acronyms, to memorize some parts, but what I don’t yet have is a way of easily recalling the information. It’s just floating.

I understand memory palaces can help for storing sequential related information but what about with non-sequential loosly related information?

If I start storing my thoughts in loci what do I use to get it back out again? Will I have to go through each loci and palace until I find the right loci?

I understand the storage side, it’s just the rapid recall of the specific loci/slot which I don’t understand.

I have a couple of extra questions…

I don’t know how much information I will be storing, and therefore it’s difficult to know the number of loci in advance. I’ve read that the order of loci should be fixed from the start, so how do I create these extra slots?

Also if I distribute the information in multiple memory palaces how do I know which memory palace to look in?

Final question. A lot of the subjects are related. It’s not a linear list of unrelated stuff. Therefore is there a need to have some sort of link between related loci, or will my brain do this itself?

Thanks all,

A memory palace is a structure composed of, let’s say, palaces, rooms, walls, and loci. The basic set up is sequential access: this locus, then the next, etc. But it’s possible to group your data by considering each level of the hierarchy a subgroup, so you can place everything for one subject in one palace, one part of that in a room or even a “wing” or region of the palace, and so on in detail.

The more closely related the data, the nearer you should place their loci, so one wall could cover what you need for one function, perhaps. It’s all about planning your structure.

This means you need two things:

  • A roughed out structure to your data. (Mind maps are a good technique)
  • A clear structure to your memory palace.

Remember that you can link palaces (or areas in palaces) together, by connecting images of one door or portal to another, or using an image that invokes the idea of that other palace to you. Then as long as you have additional palaces, you have space for expansion.

A palace can be one room, or one wall even - it’s just a collection that comes together geographically. A painting or photograph can be a palace, for example.

Do note that a lot of competition use of memory palaces tends to follow a sequential access method for obvious reasons, but this isn’t strictly necessary for other uses. That said, it’s good to structure your loci sequentially as this means you are able to check through them should you need to search - for example, you need a detail you know is in a given room, and you need to check through to find it - the ordering ensures you don’t skip something without noticing. It’s also useful when you need to put things in a specific order.

For this reason people use their palaces in a specific pattern that suits them, often being clockwise or counterclockwise around the room, and on a wall following either a left-right, or top-bottom, or reading like a page, or a up-down zigzag across it. Movement through a palace may be per room in a natural walk through, or spiralling inward or outward defying the need to consider walls - it’s all up to you, but consistency means you can stop trying to work it out each time.

The “journey method” is taking the palace idea outside, and following a sequence of loci on a journey you know well, and although this makes it less adaptable in some ways (as it must be mostly in sequence), it is sometimes easier to use or more useful for sequential information.

By the structure you create. You can always have an overview room, which has links to palaces based on what data you’ve put into them, but once you’ve learnt it thoroughly you’ll find you know which palaces you want to look at. Backup processes to determine access are always useful early on!

It varies, but there’s no harm in adding a locus with an “also see” marker to other areas as appropriate.

Just like anything, the stuff you use or access regularly will come to mind more easily.

(Have you read the wiki and pdf attached to this forum, by the way? A lot of good tips and ideas in there!)

Hope that’s helped :slight_smile:


Hi Ian,

Thanks for the clear and concise explanation. I have previously read the documentation on the site, and a few books by Domenic O’Brien, Tony Buzan, and Nelson Dellis so I’ve got a good idea of the different tools at our disposal. It’s the development, organisation and recall of items in memory palaces that I really need to work on.

Thanks again,

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