The Memory Palace Method

I am writing about a memory palace that I once built. There are different ways to build memory palaces.

A saw a method recently that used a single picture from a single scene, and did the walk through without moving.

The memory palace that I built most successfully was for learning for a certification to work as a security guard in Germany. For this you have to learn the legal requirements that are the base of the job. The interesting part here is that as a security guard, you are nothing like a police men or women. You only have the exact same basic rights that any ordinary person has. So your room for legal maneuvering is very tight, and you need to know exactly what you are allowed to do.

To learn for the examination, I constructed a path that took me through the neighborhood that I was living in at that time. I took places that were each about 200 meters apart, and gave each location a name, and added a marker to a custom google map. I am right now actually trying to use the Open Source software Marble for this type of work, but I found that it’s bookmark handling is quite rudimentary. Not what I would expect from a popular Open Source Tool. Maybe I need to jump in, and create my own extension. However, at each I of the spots I marked I visualized an animal as vividly as possible, to give the location even more memorability.

After placing names and markers in a map, I transferred the ordered list of locations (with their names) to a table document, with several columns.And next to location and animal, I added one of the facts that I needed to remember. The thing about remembering contents for certifications is, that often it is quite a lot harder, to remember a list of more than 5 or 6 items, than it is to remember a list of 3 things. But these would be the exact types of question being asked in a multiple choice test.

There would be a question like „when you stop a person who stole some merchandise in a supermarket, which law are you acting upon.“ and „how long are you allowed to keep the person.“ And the answer would give you 4 or so, slightly similar sounding names of laws. And of course you are expected to pick the exact right one.So for multiple choice questionnaires in this type of setting, it is not enough to be able to apply to knowledge intuitively, or to talk yourself out of it if you get asked face to face. You need to be able to remember exactly what was asked, even if it does not make much sense in a practical setting.

So that is why a memory palace is a good tool here, because if you would mentally go through your list of laws, you would be able to easily distinguish, if the law was the one at the bus-stop, or if it was the one on the bridge.