The Memory Palace: Can You Do It?

The memory palace technique, also known as the method of Loci, has been helping people to remember large amounts of information since ancient times. Keep reading to find out how you can create your own memory palace.

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The memory palace is a technique to remember facts, numbers or other things, like a shopping list. It has been around since ancient times and it is also known as the Method of Loci. Memory Champion Marwin Wallonius used it to remember, in just 30 minutes, the correct order of 5040 binary digits and a complete deck of 52 cards in just 33 seconds. Here is how it works:

The memory palace

Close your eyes and imagine some sort of familiar physical space, like your house, school or office, and then add a mental image of the thing you want to remember. To remember a bunch of things, you can use different rooms and visualize how you would walk through that space following the same specific route. As you walk through, place the things you want to remember at specific locations. Ideally, imagining things in a funny or crazy way also helps to remember. Once we have placed all items that we want to remember our memory palace is complete. 

The day we return to our palace and want to remember what’s inside it, we have to go back in. We have to concentrate and imagine opening the door and walking our route. Once we pass by the specific location that we used to place our things, the item will pop back into our minds. Let’s try to remember 7 ingredients to make some pancakes.

Give it a try

  1. You open the door and see a full cup of flour next to some shoes
  2. You walk into the bedroom. Inside your bed sleeps a teaspoonful of baking powder
  3. In the living room sits a massive egg watching TV
  4. And on top of the TV is a cup of milk
  5. You go into the kitchen and see 6 teaspoons dancing around a bottle of vegetable oil
  6. You leave the house and enter the garden. But it’s full of sugar canes and in the middle, a teaspoon dressed like a gardener
  7. You turn around to check the bathroom. The only thing left is half a teaspoon and salt

Now try yourself! Close your eyes and think of a familiar place such as your home. We will now slowly list 7 numbers. As you walk through your space, place each one in a different location. Let’s go!

3, 14, 1, 5, 9, 2, 6.

Now revisit your palace, then write in the comments below what you can remember.
By the way, if you want to memorize Pi or something else for a longer time, forget this technique. Turn off your screen and start. Nothing beats learning by doing. 

“‘Nothing beats learning by doing’ well said 👏”

– Donkey Warrior


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Classroom activity

Use the memory palace technique with your class to prepare for any upcoming exams. Have each student explain their own personal memory journey to see who can come up with the silliest ideas on where to keep their information. Have fun!

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