Tips for Memorizing the (Textbook) Answers to 200 Multiple Choice Questions

Hi guys, I am studying for a South Asian History test and the professor has given us 200 possible Multiple Choice questions which will have 4 possible answers each. The test will only consist of 100 of these 200 questions, randomly selected. I do not get the possible answers from the professor beforehand.

The question that I have is very similar to this post ( ) but it differs.
I do have the answers (found in my south asian history textbook) for all of these questions but the test does not use exact wording from the book (synonyms, different sentence structure) and sometimes the answer will include only a small part of a longer answer found in the book. Do you have any tips for fast recall of the question with its associated correct answer?

Sample Questions:

  1. What were the two types of specializations that Brahmins engaged in? The royal priest/advisor (rajpurohit, rajguru) and the sage (rishi)
  2. Why was the region of Delhi important in ancient times?
    Gateway into northern india, where many built their capitals on the same spot
  3. What was one technical innovation introduced at Mehrgarh in the 5th-4th millennium BCE?
    -a drill moved by a bow
    -parts of a crucible for melting copper
    -potter’s heel to manufacture large amounts of fine ceramics
    (In this case, only one of these answers would appear on the test; all answers are correct)
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For me personally, 200 questions is not that many questions to study, I would just load them into flash cards software. It would have taken me few hours to have them in my short term memory. But I used to study old school ways and I studied for over 4000 questions for various tests. If you do want to remember the information forever, then memory palace is the best way. But it does takes more effort to create images and links in your mind, at least it would for me. I did not achieve efficiency creating images in my mind very fast yet, it takes a lot of effort for me, but absolutely worth it for information I want to remember permanently.

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I pretty much agree with what vplan says, ie if you,like me, are NEW to mnemonics then for this kind of test , an upcoming test, I would use flash cards and run through them until my fingers bled or maybe use Spaced Repetition. Only thing I’d do different to what vplan said would be to use actual card flash cards, because writing them out as opposed to typing is in itself a memory aid…and I like to rock things ol’ School and 200 postcards will never run out of ‘juice’ by lunchtime as your smart phone does.

To me, this is essentially just like memorizing the questions/answers on Trivial Pursuit game cards, which I’ve done in the past.

Presumably, you’re studying South Asian history because it interests you or could prove useful for your future career. (Unless you live in South Asia and it’s a requirement for graduation.) If you just want to pass a test, it doesn’t really matter how you cram the information: flash cards, exhaustive study, etc. But if you actually want to remember this information a week after the test is over, then I’d recommend using a memory palace. But that is a multi-layered technique that involves creating memorable images that represent the information you want to recall and then associating those images with something you already know, then “storing” it in a mental location representing a place you know well.

Let’s take Question #2: Why was the region of Delhi important in ancient times? You probably don’t need to know that question verbatim. So my image would focus on “Delhi” and the concept of its being “important” as a home for future capital cities.

As an American, “Delhi” sounds like “deli,” a place where coldcuts and sandwiches are sold. So I’d picture a New York City deli I like with a giant, snow-dusted (northern) golden gate at the front (which suggests “gateway” and importance). Inside, instead of customers, there are human-size capital letters (capitals) jostling and shouting in line to place their orders.

That’s my entire image for that question/answer.

The only step left is to “store” it in a mental location I can easily revisit later, like a childhood home or maybe a former school. Depending on how the test topics break out, you could store all 200 Q/As in the same palace (assuming it’s large enough to accommodate all 200 images) or you might have a separate palace for each of the major topics. As long as you continue to review the images in your memory palace, you should be able to remember the material.

If the concept of memorable images and/or memory palaces is new to you, though, you’re going to need to do some homework so you’re better prepared to memorize this material. (You don’t say when your test is, but I know it’s not unusual for folks to come here looking for help when their test is a week away. Which isn’t really ideal… So hopefully you have some time to actually memorize the material.) Start with the “Learn the Art of Memory” PDF here:

Bob

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Thank you for your reply. By the way, my exam is a few weeks away and not right away, fortunately. For Question #2, should I have a general idea of what the full answer is in my head using specific symbols from the answer? Or instead, should I just remember the symbols from the answer and nothing else? (By symbols, I mean the snow-dusted golden gate and the human-size capital letters?)

By the way I have been learning about the method of loci and the story/linking method for about 4 months but have only got good results from using stories/linking.

Last time I tried using method of loci for a very similar test to the one I describe in the original post, it was hard to recall entire links within loci although the stories were vivid. In other words, I had about 20 loci and a story combining 8 - 10 questions with their respective answers for each loci. (Question 2 would have about 4 links to combine the question with the answer and then the following questions would each also have about 4 links; so 4*8 links in one locus. The math isn’t exactly like that but you get the idea.)

Thoughts on this?

By the way, this was the post I was talking about: Tips for Memorizing the answers to 5000 Multiple Choice Questions?

The images—or “symbols,” as you call them—should be enough to help you remember all of the key elements of the answer. That’s really the whole point of memory techniques.

But if the gate doesn’t make you think “gateway” and the snow on top of it doesn’t make you think “northern,” then you should definitely choose different images that would trigger the meaning underlying each of the images.

Of course, I’ll also encourage you to actually learn/study all of the material you’ve been given, not just the very specific questions/answers.

Bob

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I find these interesting! If its no trouble, can you upload the list of the questions with the answers? And from what IVe read, you shouldnt have any problems if you use a memory palace. Focussing only on the main image to place in your location and after just revisit your 200 locations as often as you can : walking around, on the bus, etc. But passed the first review, focussing on the meaning, and less on the image. Have fun on your journey!

I’m not entirely sure I’m understanding what you mean about links and loci…

But think of the scene I gave you for Question #2 as one image. So it goes in one location. And that’s all that goes in that location.

If you’re using your childhood home, say, let’s assume there are 5 loci per room: your bed, bedside table, dresser, lamps, etc. (Five loci is fairly modest, but that number will ensure your spaces don’t get overstuffed or confusing.) And let’s say you store Question #2 in this room. In your real bedroom you had a movie poster on the wall, and that’s the location where you decide to store this image. So, instead of a movie poster, you see a picture of the scene described with Question #2.

Maybe this is stuff you already know, but I wasn’t sure, so I figured go into a bit more detail.

Bob

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