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Articles > Student Life May, 11, 2015

Unique method to boost memory [Study Tips]

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If you’re anything like Homer Simpson, you feel like new knowledge is possibly pushing old knowledge out of your memory… you’ve been eating, sleeping, breathing revision, and there’s still so much to memorise. Fear not! We’re here to help – there are certain tips and tricks you can use to enhance your memory and information recall. I came across a bizarre, but ingenious (old school, ancient Roman) way of helping you learn those revision notes. Although it involves a bit of imagination, take out 5 minutes and this bizarre technique is bound to help you more vividly remember a list…

The Loci method of revision, bizarre but effective

A tree that grows pizza slices. The loci method of revision, bizarre but effective

Method of loci/the mind palace technique is the worlds oldest mnemonic strategy. It works on the basis that we best remember familiar places such as the inside of our homes, and works by associating something unfamiliar (such as revision notes) with something familiar (a room in your house) so that room (or object) serves as a cue to help you remember certain things. Essentially, this helps you boost your ability to organise, store and recall information and throughout history, winners of memory contests swear by this technique. So, it has to be worth a shot!

Throughout this article, we’ll describe a simple example of how you can memorise a list. For example, in GCSE Biology, you may have to memorise the characteristics of living organisms; movement, reproduction, sensitivity, growth, respiration, excretion and nutrition. Now let the ‘fun’ begin…

First, think of a route or place which you are familiar with e.g. your house. The vivid memory of your house, its rooms, and what is placed where, will help you to organise and remember information. As it works by visualising something unfamiliar (revision material) with something very familiar (something happening in your house), the more bizarre, outrageous, extreme and random the imagery, the better your memory will be.

1.Close your eyes and give yourself a starting point e.g. the front door of your house. The first word we want to memorise is ‘Movement’. Which action, item, or event could trigger your memory for the word ‘movement’? For me, it’s something bizarre such as driving through the front door of my house on red tractor at high speed, making lots of noise and mess. Told you it would be random –  movement sorted.

Remember… we also need to join each event together…

2. Reproduction: I’m sure you can use your imagination for this one. Imagine jumping off the tractor, and for me, turning right into the first room in our house – currently my Grandparents’ bedroom… The word Reproduction and Grandparents being in the same sentence are shocking enough for many, so in this case works perfectly! Imagine what you will… and let’s swiftly move onto the next word.

3.Sensitivity: Imagine running out of the room (after what you may have witnessed) and seeing a blinding beam of light shining above you. Of course, it’s an alien spaceship above your house shining an intense beam of light on you. It’s so bright. You can even feel the heat radiating from the abduction ray of the spaceship. Imagine squinting your eyes and looking away – sensitivity.

4. Growth: You run away into your living room, in fear of being abducted by aliens. As you walk into the room your family spends the majority of their time in, you see your floor covered in pots of Marijuana. Yep, there’s a weed farm in your living room, in front of the TV and you don’t know where it came from – growth!

5. Respiration: now this was tough, and you really have to use your imagination for this one. Imagine yourself backing up out of the living room, and running up the stairs away from all the madness. As you reach the top, you’re out of breath but with every inhalation, you breathe out intense, rainbow coloured air – respiration.

6. Excretion: As you reach the top of your stairs, you’re headed towards your bedroom, but you can’t quite make it past the giant Wooly Mammoth, casually grazing in front of you. As you try to squeeze your way past through a tiny space, he decides to take a poo on your shoes! Excretion sorted, too.

7. Nutrition: Lastly, you turn into your bedroom after a long and bizarre day, only to open the door to see a huge tree growing from your bedroom floor, but it’s not growing leaves, but pizza slices. Your dreams have come true, and that’s nutrition sorted.

And there you have it. If we haven’t lost some of you yet with our weird imagination and ideas, then this trick will surely make revision a bit more interesting, and easier. Using mental checkpoints, you place an action or imagery at each place, associated with the word you’re trying to remember.

You could even have a different room for different topics. Have fun with it and use it to make the most of your memory.

Do you have any unique revision tips of your own? Share them below!

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