I received this question from a reader the other day:
Hi sir John,
I am your biggest fan and I read all of your mails but this time i am wondering how to really apply the memory palace in a specific way where you are studying theory.
I already know how to memorize lists. In fact, I have a record of memorizing 40 random numbers under 1:30 seconds but memorizing something like a book is difficult for me.
Here is picture of what I want to memorize:
I’m from Philippines by the way and I really love your mails. This picture is all about Philippine history. Thanks for reply I will really appreciate it and Godbless sir.
Thanks for your question. The Philippines is one of the few countries I have not yet been to in Southeast Asia. I would love to visit one day.
Using a memory palace to remember theories/facts from books isn’t too difficult. Here are some tips for how to do it.
1. Read 1 section or chapter at a time.
2. Highlight/underlinekey things you want to remember
You can do this as you read the first time through…or as you re-read a second/third time.
Simply highlight the parts you want to store in a memory palace.
Looking at your picture, it looks like you underlined a few facts:
- “Cry of PugadLawin”
- Supremo (leader) Andres Bonifacio
- August 3, 1896
3. Choose a memory palace that you want to use.
A memory palace is simply any place that you know well (your home, a friend’s home, a place of work, etc.) and can visualize walking through.
Just pick a place you know well and “warm it up” by imagine you are walking through it a few times. Visualize the general layout of the place and all the rooms you know.
This process won’t be crystal clear in your mind. Just having a general understanding of they layout/furniture/rooms/decorations will be all you need.
4. Create a mental image(s) / story(ies) to represent each highlighted fact.
Get creative. Turn the information into an image or simple story. Use the first thing that comes to your mind.
- Andres Bonifacio = a mental image of the San Andreas fault line cracking a bony face (Boni facio)
- August 3 = an auger drilling into a triangle (3)
You can use images that remind you of the word/information…or things that rhyme with it or sound similar to it.
These images will represent your information and help remind you of what the information is when you “see” it all in your memory palace.
5. Place these mental images/stories in different locations inside your memory palace. For example:
If you wanted to remember a book in chronological order, you would create a logical path (have a start and end…for example start at the mailbox, walk into the house and all the rooms. Then end at the back door) through your memory palace and place the images in order along this logical path.
That way when you want to remember the order of the book, you simply “walk” through your memory palace in your mind…in the same path/order…to remember the sequence of events.
If you don’t need to remember the book in order, but want to separate facts into different groups…you can separate your images into different rooms.
For example: Parts of the book that relate to names of historical figures you can store in the kitchen/dining room area of your memory palace. Parts of your book that relate to names of battles you can store those images in your basement. Etc..
In order to retain this information long term, you need to review the images you made (and what information the images relate to). Spaced repetition is the most effective strategy here.
I made a video on spaced repetition you can watch here:
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