Techniques for learning highly analytical subject matter

New to the world of memory and rapid learning, and am VERY excited to find this community here !

What techniques are you using to rapidly learn, retain, and recall subjects like Mathematics, Engineering, Computer Science, and Physics, etc.? I am interested in knowing about your (speed/active) reading, comprehending, summarizing, visualizing (aka Mind Map or anything else, if applicable), and of course, memorizing techniques.

Also would like to know any additional tools you use (software?). I see Anki, SuperMemo etc. being mentioned several times, so was just curious. I have so far just stuck to paper and pencil :slight_smile:

I know that this is a very broad topic indeed, but am putting it out there just to see what comes up :slight_smile:

Thanks in advance and I am looking forward to hearing from folks here !


Id pick up one of the well rated memory books on amazon and read the starter guide here for a base line.

For quick benefit I would get decent at two things to keep this post brief. Coming up with number visual system for at least 0-100 using your technique of choice and getting strong at making abstract terms and ideas into images to help you remember them.

Otherwise I am not sure since I only took two physics and a few math classes back before I used these techniques. But for MCAT studying I used the above to help memorize formulas but then again the math you speak of is probably a lot more intense than MCAT math

I am sure a few of the math people on this site will chime in soon, good luck


Thanks for your reply and suggestions.

I have bought and skimmed through one book each of Harry Lorayne and Dominic O’Brien. I have the Memory Palace and the Link methods locked down, though haven’t practiced much. I am currently also skimming Ramon Campayo’s book. It has some very interesting speed reading drills, and a study system.

The key challenge for me is to combine these powerful techniques, viz. speed/rapid reading, memory techniques, etc. etc. into a comprehensive learning system or a philosophy. I feel like I have been given the pieces of a gigantic puzzle, and don’t know how to put them together.

I was wondering if anyone else (@Josh? @LynneKelly?) had any further thoughts on my queries. Basically I need a way to translate these abstract ideas into concrete working solutions.

Hi Mailandy,

I have a lot of ideas, but they include the memory palaces but also a great deal of other techniques. I could write an entire book on this topic (and have) which is why I can’t answer here. My new book Memory Craft has lots of techniques which differs from those in the books and technologies that you mention. My background is engineering, physics, IT, teaching … but your question is too broad for me. It would depend on what type of information specifically, and I would likely combine a range of techniques. The tools I use are rarely computer based. There are a huge swag of mnemonic devices in other formats.

I am flat out with the overwhelming reaction to Memory Craft, which is out of stock in its first week and already gone to reprint. Tag me again in a few weeks, when my life will settle down, if you have specific questions about specific techniques for particular knowledge genres.

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@LynneKelly Thank you so much for your reply Lynn. I am delighted to hear from you ! Yes, you are right in that I need to be more specific. I am myself doing some readings at my end and going through the forum in detail. I think in a few days once I have made more progress, I will break down my question into small pieces and ask separately.

On a side note, I am looking forward to receiving your book. I am based in the US, but traveling in Asia these days, and your book is not to be found anywhere thus far :sob:. I will keep trying my luck though.

I’m eager to hear what Lynne will add to this conversation once she’s got a moment to breathe…

The thing that’s kept me from responding earlier was your emphasis on speed. I don’t have any experience at all with trying to learn something quickly. (I’ve been out of school for decades.) But after reading a number of books by memory competitors, who do need to memorize some things very quickly, I think the biggest aid might come from taking the time to review your material. Regularly.

I know some like software for that. I don’t see the point, personally. Just mentally walk your journeys on a regular basis. Or sit down with pen and paper (or keyboard and screen) and test yourself. You’ll need to keep a file or journal or list (or whatever) of what it is you’re memorizing, so you can check your progress down the road. But however you do it, I think checking/reviewing is absolutely essential.