I’m from Switzerland and my big goal is to get into med school this fall. For that, here in Switzerland we have to take a special exam and around 20-25% make it.
The exam takes around 5 houres and is divided into 9 sub categories, and 2 of the 9 sub categories are memory exercises. I’m quickly going to explain the two sub tests:
- You are given 4 minutes to look at 20 different figures.
- Each figure is build of 5 parts, of which 1 is colored black.
- You have to remember which part is colored.
- After 45 minutes, you’re given the same figures in a different order, no part is colored and you have to determine which one is colored
- You have 6 minutes
- You get a list with 15 people and for each person a name, gender, (age), profession, charateristic and illness which you have to remember
- The 15 people are subdivided into 5 groupes of 3 people of the same age.
- After 45 minutes, you have to answer 20 questions. Here two examples: The person who is introvert is called: A/B/C/D/E; The person who suffers cancer is A) introvert B) confident C) shy …of course they are way trickier in reality and sometimes people have the same
I have attached two images of each test - it’s in German but I think it still gives you an idea how the test looks like.
My strategies have so far been the following:
Figures: I try to associate the profile of the figure with something that comes to my mind. Could be a face, a donut, whatsoever … and then I try to create a memorable/crazy picture in my mind together with the darkened part.
–> Problem: If the profil of the figure is unique, it’s not a problem. But very often, all the 20 figures are very similar which makes it hard for me to distinguish them.
Facts: I use the loci method and use my house for it. I use five rooms (kitchen, living room, my room, bathroom, office). Since the people are subdivided into groups of 3 with the same age, I always put these three in one room and create active images for them, one item for each fact I have to remember.
- Here I struggle very much on time. I’m practicing on 10 minutes (in the test I’m given 6 minutes) and get around 75% on average right.
- I have problems cleaning up my memory from old pictures which disturbs me sometimes
- I don’t know if I need a better structure in order to improve more and how it could specifically look like. Right now, if I have to remember a person and their facts, I just create animated/active images and each item stands for either characteristic, illness and so on. The problem is, when I’m answering the questions and I have to find out what characteristic for instance this person has and I’m going through the picture I have created for that person, I don’t always and automatically know which of the 5 elements is responsible for saving the characteristic. Sometimes it’s something on the person’s head, sometimes the car in which she sits and so on. With having more structure I mean maybe say I always remember the characteristic with something she does with the left hand, then illness with something she does with the right hand, and so on … I’m just not sure if that makes sense or if it restricts me too much on creating images.
Why I am posting here is because I’m hoping that you guys could give me some feedback what I can do differently and how I can improve in these two subtests to hopefully pass the test for med school. I have actually just read Joshua Foer’s book “Moonwalking with Einstein”, which is the reason why I am doing a little bit of research now.
Thank you very much for helping me out and that you’ve read so far!