Regarding rote memorization + how much time/how many repetitions it should take?

I’m starting to rote memorize a book of 300 pages. I plan to finish the rote in 2 days.

I’m novice in this practise. I pick one line from a paragraph, repeat it 5-6 times then next line then next line and so on. Then I try to recall the paragraph. Sometimes I can recall, sometimes not. Then I let it go and sleep in night and next day I vaguely remember whatever I’ve memorized. Then I try to recall it which takes too much, is a struggle (became I can’t recall everything) and gets boring.

I have no other option but to rote memorize. I’m bad at memory palace and story learning. Although I’m putting the efforts, I’m worried about two things=

  1. It takes too much time. Sometimes I can but most of the times I can’t recall the paragraph even after repeating many times that causes frustration.

  2. Second repetition gets even more burdensome. I memorized some parts yesterday (whole day) and today I tried to revise it. But I got frustrated seeing that I recalled only some of it and it was taking too much time. I thought I’d spend even whole day today to just revise the same book. So I left it.

  3. I have never memorized before, so I don’t have any experience with this practice. I’m worried what if all my repetition goes into vain? And when will it become solid in my brain? What about those parts that I can’t instantly/on second repetition recall? Do I keep going and going and going? Just repeat, repeat, repeat then recall, recall, recall and trust my brain that it’ll store everything? If yes, how much time or how many repetitions are ideal? So that I know when to set deadlines and when to move on to next book. Since I don’t trust my memory, I waste days on one book (sometimes on the same topic) trying to memorize in a “perfect” way. I really want to know how much is the ideal time for rote memorization? Thank you!

It’s in vain if you do not apply spaced repetition.

followed by spaced repetition cycles. Think about this logically. 300 pages, reading the entire book as fast as you can is likely spending some hours. You are reading it X times the larger X is the less time you will have. You want to memorize it in the least amount of recall times, I assure that you really shouldn’t do it more than 2x per verbal capacity followed by a spacing cycle.

If you know very well how to apply spaced repetition you can finish this by rote in a day.

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Write what you have read down on a paper just after you have finished reading! Write from memory(you will be disappointed seeing not much can be remembered easily!!!) :wink: But as you keep writing what you read,remembering gets easier!
Record the passages/notes with your smart phone,and listen to the recorded audio in your leisure times…or before sleep!
Use “Spaced Repetition” to lighten the stress of reading so many stuffs! :smiley:


In America, we have the phrase, “You must learn to walk before you can run.” I can’t help feeling that you’re jumping into a very difficult—and advanced—memory challenge without having learned and practiced the foundational techniques that will help you to achieve your ultimate goal of memorizing a book.

I don’t want to discourage you and your efforts so far. But I can’t help feeling that you are setting yourself up for failure because you are starting with one of the most advanced memory challenges you could choose. You say you have not been able to memorize information using either the memory-palace method or the story/linking method; it’s possible that the underlying reason for that may make it difficult for you to do memory work of any kind. I think there may be value in trying those approaches again and figuring out what may be holding you back from being successful with them.



For memorizing books, there are several posts on this forum. I haven’t read any of these, so if any of them are not relevant, please tippex them out.

The following link contains links to other posts: