Struggling to create Memory Palace/Journey Method (for administrative law)

Hello there,

In order to prepare myself better for a public exam I’ve decided to better look into memorisation techniques. I’ve read a couple of books by Dominic O’Brien and searched various articles on the web, but I’m still struggling to apply a decent technique to my study.

I wanted to ask to more expert people a couple of questions in order to have a better understanding of the techniques.

First of all: is there any difference between the memory palace and the journey method? They do look the same to me

I’m trying to develop a journey/palace to better remember administrative law and various decrees, but sometimes it seems to me that the numbers of loci that I need to use is so great that memorise all of them (along with the creation of loci and their link to ideas) seems almost impossible.

That is why I’m not sure if I am applying the method correctly or I still miss something in the process.

These are my steps:

  1. Read and highlight book chapters/laws
  2. Create some sort of scheme in order to summarise them
  3. Starting with the creation of the palace/journey - this is where I get lost

Could anybody give me some advice?

Thanks a lot

P.s. I’m not English native, forgive me for my grammar mistakes!

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I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but I’ll add something.

A journey is a linear sequence of locations.

A memory palace can be followed linearly, and in that way it can contain a journey; however, a memory palace can be used in other ways, too.

If you think of each room having multiple locations, you can also group things together by room or by area (like a wall or “things on the rug”). In this way, you can look over an area and see things you’ve placed close together, or things in relation to the location (on the bed, under the bed, etc). Each room or area can be about a particular topic, giving you an overview. And, of course, when I say “room” it can also be a garden or any other 3D space.

So, dividing your palace into zones, you can arrange things more conveniently for your recollection. Look into the language learning category on this site, where people use zones to store word images, for an example. (I’m doing this on my phone, so I can’t easily link it, sorry!)

If you know what a Mind Map is, or basically a chart with words in bubbles connected by lines to depict the relationship between them, you could organise things that way to work out what to put where in your memory palaces.

Also, realise that you can expand into deeper detail by connecting images.

Perhaps you need to detail a particular subject that needs much more space? As an example: Put an image of your friend with his house keys there, and put that detail into your palace of your friends house; see friend with house keys, you know there’s more at his house in your memory palace.

Another method is to put a model of the house or other memory palace in the location, then you enter it to explore it. (Either it gets bigger or you get smaller, or there’s a weird space-warping effect, or you just see the image of it and then you’re there.)

The memory palace can be any 3D space. The usual first palace is where you live, or a place you used to live. The detail is up to you, and as a first run you could pick the most obvious object in each room, and see one location in each room. Then you can build up locations by looking at each wall and floor. It’s generally recommended to use the same pattern of motion if you wish to use multiple items in one area, such as moving left to right, from top to bottom, like reading a page, or up and down, moving slowly across the wall, like you were using a paintbrush in one walk past it. This can be for use as a linear sequence, but it’s also useful for reviewing what’s there, as it ensures you don’t miss something. Also, I’ve found that when using a house, rather than starting at the front door and going into the house, I find the innermost spot and worked my way out to the door that leaves the house, which then leads me to more places beyond that. But do what feels right for you and works for your palaces! :slight_smile:

Hope that’s helpful to begin with! :slight_smile:


These links below should help you out. They know there stuff well enough and much more.
Even though you read books on mnemonics, I recommend this.
This is useful to know and to do.
Guide to memorizing a book


Thank you for your replies guys!

Yesterday during my study session I realised that probably one thing where I fail is that I still have to learn how to create appropriate images:

For “Topic 1” I almost created a story that even for was difficult to recall, since I wanted to stuff every images of the mental journey with a lot of details and I finished to messed up somehow.

For “Topic 2” I created a journey by linking simpler images only at the skeleton details of the topic, relying on my natural memory to recall every detail. To me that was easier than the “Topic 1” journey.

However, I’m not sure if I’m doing things correctly:

  1. I memorise the topic with my natural memory
  2. I create an image to better remember that topic

Is that correct?

Or there’s a simpler way to do that, maybe by reading and directly create the image?

Today I’m going to change method and slowly apply the memory palace technique. Guess is just a matter of keep my memory trained in the end.


You might want to look into this to give you an idea for common words.

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Thanks, I will try my best to do it. Then I’ll post a comment.

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Thanks again for the replies guys!

I’ve watched everything and use the suggestions! I’ve also watched some of Anthony Metivier’s videos and I’ve to say that right now it’s more clear to me how to create a memory palace.

Right now I try to create one or two small memory palaces per day (5-12 Rooms)

Sometimes I feel that I struggle to create mental images. It’s still hard to find the right equilibrium between a vivid image and something easy to remember. Probably that is the part where the “art of memory” truly take place.

I’m truly sorry to ask again, but do you have any advanced advice for the creation of mental images? Or is just a matter of practice?

Kindly do meditation, you can use apps like Headspace, Relax and Sleep well which are available on android mobile platform or watch free videos on Youtube. Secondly, try to watch cartoon, or fiction movies to increase your imagination. Thirdly, try to associate target information with one of the character from movie, real life or anything that serves your memory best and create absurd images which you can remember.
You can take course of Dr. Anthony Metivier through Udemy on Vocabulary memorisation, it is an mind-boggling course.

And put an extra effort to be in those 10% of people who actually do it and become successful. Initially it will be challenging but once you get the hang of it then it is effortless.

Keep yourself magnetic.

Omkar P. Bankar

Your steps seem reasonable to me. I do it similarly.

I use memory palaces to memorize laws and legal concepts, too. When I started out, I felt quite exhausted even after creating just a few new locations. But with practice it gets a lot easier and you’ll become much more efficient in both creating memory palaces and placing mental images in them. Just don’t forget to review with spaced repetition, otherwise you’ll lose a lot of time re-learning things you’ve forgotten by neglecting the proper review schedule.

In how much detail are you trying to remember the contents of laws? If you have a specific example I could try to tell you how I’d memorize it.

I use excel spread-sheets to keep track of the laws I memorize. I have a column with the numbers of the Articles, one with the keywords I need to remember, one with the location in my palace/journey, and one last column where I describe the complete scene in one location.
Usually I start by writing down all numbers/keywords in order to know how many locations I need in the memory palace. Then I create the palace with exactly as much locations as I need and write down the locations. One day later I review that palace and start to place the mental images there. I’ve found that having one day inbetween creating the palace itself and putting information there seems to work better for me.

Memory palace, mind palace, method of loci, memory journeys, etc … Don’t get confused by these different terms which in the end all describe one fundamental concept: Placing mental images on locations, in order to make it easier to remember the information. Of course the types of locations you use and how you move through them can vary, but it’s really up to you how you do it. You might want to try different approaches in order to find what works best for you (for example: Journeys that are exclusively outdoors work far worse for me personally than journeys that have indoor and outdoor locations).

Yup. It’s finding what flows and fits for you. We can give examples, but only you will know what works best.

Practice can help you find your strengths, and then you can leverage them to success. It’s like athletics: some activities you will excel at more easily than others, but there’s almost nothing you can’t do reasonably well with some practice.

I try to keep in mind a few basic principles for images (this is my own list, there are others more extensive and detailed) :

Vivid - the image has clear, even luminous, colours, and is sharp where it needs to be. If you’ve ever gone into a place selling TVs and see the demo pictures, the imagery they use is designed to pop, catch your attention, draw you in, and impress you with the pretty pictures. That’s kind of thing. Colours that create good contrast can stand out, but you don’t want too many together. The white-painted face of the red-armed, black cloak wearing woman is clear enough without being confusing. I wouldn’t add magenta shoes with green and pink striped laces unless I already had a very clear image of those shoes elsewhere in my memory, or they’ll end up just one colour with little meaning. Clarity is often more important than detail in one image - you can always use additional images.

Interactive - action in the image itself, or that relates the image scene to its surroundings. A trick I picked up is to ask why the action occurs, which better relates the action to the image. If Jack Bauer is dancing on the table, why? Is he drunk, is he happy, or is he being a distraction? How does that relate to me or something else here? It creates more context for the image, which adds more connections in your memory.

Emotive - emotional content. Does this evoke an emotional response in me? Is there an emotional response I can relate to happening here? If the person in your image and you have related emotional states, that’s useful, too. Any strong reaction is usable, but positive seems to work better than negative for most people - that said, disgust can be strong enough sometimes to work; I think because we like to think of things that are positive, but we need to actively avoid things that disgust us, whilst things we dislike or find mildly disturbing we tend to not think about so much. But, you see what works for you!

Weird - anything weird or bizarre. Things that are too far out can get garbled, but a tiny elephant with a big blue bow tie can be strange enough without being insanely odd. That said, mythical creatures can be memorable (cyclops, pegasus, dragon, medusa, Griffin, giant) so if a three-headed court judge is what works, try going with it.

Sensory - using your senses, because each is another connection that might make it more memorable. As well as the usual five, you can include things like your sense of balance, or your aesthetic sense. If you have three items together, is it more memorable in a horizontal or vertical line, or staggered like steps, or in a triangle? Is the pleasingness of symmetry more memorable, or does asymmetry make it more detailed and interesting?

Vivid - Interactive - Emotive - Weird - Sensory.
Image VIEWS.

On top of that, it needs to be easy to see any one image at once. A mouse in a top hat is easy. An elephant with a different object on each leg is much harder.

Another tip is to have preset images for some things you’ll use a lot. Every telephone number I’ve used begins with a zero, so instead of encoding that zero with any other number, I put a yellow telephone at the start, which tells me it’s a phone number. I’ve used Wednesday Addams for answers to “when” questions - a fun image to use, because of her attitude and actions in strange situations! Images for months can save you a step in reading back a date, because one part of it automatically tells you there’s a month involved, and therefore a date. You can come up with any other similarly useful lists, but the important thing is to have these images as solid, fixed purpose images, so don’t use things you’ll need to use elsewhere.

(There’s incredibly few occasions I’ll need an old dial banana-yellow telephone, or to incorporate Wednesday Addams, in things I intend to memorise other than the purposes I’ve stated. Although those two are clear in my mind, I’m going to build a little imaginary amphitheatre and put them in thematic groups, for ease of checking & reviewing what they mean - so Wednesday will be in a group with Wyatt Earp, a specific Dr Watson, and a specific witch (“which”), while the yellow telephone, a bright blue bird, and a red outlined envelope will be another group.)

That’s all I can think of for now! :slight_smile:


Thanks again to everyone for the tips!

With that knowledge at my disposal I’ll stop writing and start practicing more! I’ll update the post with my progress and what I’ve learned (just to leave some milestone) maybe it could be helpful for beginners like me!

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1st Update after a week.
I’ve finally found a method to create mental images that works for me. I’ve decided to dig in the past and apply Pietro da Ravenna’s method (please don’t think I’m a pervert): using naked women in my images. Using the ”Naked woman-doing something-with” system works extremely well for me!

Moreover, I’m organising the palaces with excel sheets as @SilvioB suggested. It is really useful!