Memory Palaces and Why You Should Stay in Your Room During a Test
By now you are fully on your way to learning to speed read, but don’t forget that practice is key! You should see by now how memory and speed reading are interlinked, and this particular lesson will focus more on how to improve your memory so you can use it effectively when you start to speed read.
First, let’s have a look at one technique called the method of loci or journey method- that can help you to remember more.
It is rooted in the idea that we find it easier to remember places and journeys in great detail, utilizing it to improve the rest of our memory ability.
This “journey” technique involves building your own memory palace. Don’t get too excited and start creating a huge, magical castle; this palace has to be somewhere familiar like your bedroom. It is important to take a room that you know well so you can easily picture everything in it, for reasons that you shall soon see.
What do you do?
1. Simply imagine yourself in the doorway of your chosen room.
2. Then, working your way around the room in a clockwise direction, you associate pieces of information you want to remember with the items in the room.
3. Picture and visualize the associations by creating vivid images e.g. if you’re trying to remember a shopping list, you may visualize a carrot in bed, milk in the wardrobe, and melting ice cream on your laptop.
You can use this technique to simply remember a shopping list or for revision notes but, whatever you’re trying to remember, creating associations between the hugely familiar and the unfamiliar can help the new information stay in your mind.
Of course, these are simplistic examples but, as you practice, you can use it to remember more advanced information. One of the benefits of this method is there’s no real endpoint. You can always delve deeper, so you can go inside the wardrobe and itemize each individual piece of clothing hanging there, and even label sections of each piece of clothing.
Another great thing about this memory technique is that you are likely to be in your chosen room a large proportion of each day, so you can always remind yourself and test yourself of these associations. This should mean the information will become as familiar as the items you see every day.
However, it is best to use one room for one set of information, especially for beginners. Layering multiple pieces of information on top of each other will only lead to confusion!
But how will this help you to speed read?
Well, speed reading is all about absorbing large amounts of information at speed and, crucially, being able to remember what you read! As you read, you will need to remember the key points in the text, which could end up being a lot to memorize! If you have the practice of retaining large amounts of information in your memory palace, you will be much more efficient at remembering what you read, even at speed.
The more you practice remembering and recalling large amounts of information, the easier you will find it to retain information as you read. And the more information you are able to process and retain, the faster you will be able to read!
Hopefully, this has shown how interlinked memory and speed reading are, which should give you some motivation to work on your memory alongside your reading speed.
Tomorrow, we will delve a little deeper into memory processes and look at how you can use them to help your reading speed. We will focus on the similarities between mind maps and speed reading and how they can mutually benefit each other to get you remembering much more information!
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