Hello beautiful reader,
Today, I want to discuss a topic that has helped me Ace (and Bce?) exams and give spectacular presentations (if you don’t take into account my fear of public speaking).
That topic is called The Method of Loci or, as it’s more commonly referred to, the Mind Palace Technique.
According to dictionary.com, the definition of mnemonic [ ni-mon-ik ] is:
1. assisting or intended to assist the memory.
2. pertaining to mnemonics or to memory.
I first learned about mnemonic devices when I was in third grade. I was cramming for a quiz on famous inventors and my mom taught me how to draw connections between what I needed to remember and what I already knew. We spent the whole car ride to school making up silly mnemonic devices for each famous inventor. For example, I still remember Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone because we said, “Graham Bell” like it was a landline ringtone.
A mind palace is like that mnemonic device’s big cousin. You might have seen a Mind Palace being used on Sherlock by Sherlock himself:
I remember watching this episode in my high school English class after we finished reading The Hound of the Baskervilles and I was enamored. This was the first time I had ever heard of a mind palace, so I did some research and started implementing it whenever I could.
So, what is it?
As Watson said, a mind palace is a location that you can construct and store in your mind. This might be a bit easier for visual or kinesthetic learners, but I do think it is beneficial for anyone who wants to give it a try. The sky’s the limit when it comes to what the location can look like. For example, you can reconstruct a location you know well from your real life (ie: your childhood home, your elementary school, your local park, etc.) or you can create a completely imaginary location that doesn’t even exist in real life. It’s all up to you.
Once you’ve constructed your mind palace, you can revisit it as often as you want to store information, retrieve information or just spend time getting acquainted with your mind palace.
How does it work?
- Here are some of the ways I have used my mind palace in the past:
- When studying for exams in college, I would color-code (via highlighters, colored pens & post-it notes) the topics I knew would be on the exam.
- I would write down everything I needed to know by mapping it all out on a giant poster board. This step helped me make sure I understood how all of the concepts interacted with each other by being able to see it all together, visually.
- Now, for the fun part. Each color would have a designated room in my mind palace. So, at this point, I would take the time to populate each room with essential mnemonic devices. These mnemonic devices would usually be in the form of outlandish visuals so they could really stick. Sometimes, I would add sounds to my mind palace as well.
- After decorating my mind palace, I would walk through it multiple times before my exam, making sure I knew what each mnemonic device meant.
- Public Speaking/Presentations
- From my experience, when you need to remember something sequentially such as a speech, it helps to create a route through your mind palace. This way, you can just walk along the route rather than having to search.
- This comes in handy, especially, if you want to remember to use specific terms or buzzwords that are not normally a part of your vocabulary.
- In these instances, it looks like I’m looking at the audience, but the truth is I’m walking through my mind palace, making sure I say what I’ve rehearsed.
Where does it work?
Anywhere! That’s why I love it so much. As Sherlock did, you can visit your mind palace anywhere at any time. But, unlike Sherlock, maybe be a bit more discreet if you are in public.
If you would like to learn more information about the Method of Loci or mnemonic devices in general, there are plenty of other sources out there including, but not limited to, YouTube videos such as The Memory Palace : Can You Do It?, Memory hack: Derren Brown teaches the method of loci | Big Think and How to Use the Loci Technique | Memory Techniques.
What are your thoughts on this? Have you ever used mnemonic devices? Let me know in the comments!
I hope you have a lovely day!
Until next time,