Memorization | Memory Palace and Mnemonics | How to Actually USE Them


Lots of people emphasize the utility
of advanced memory techniques like the memory palace,
also known as the method of loci, or even
simple mnemonics, but how do you actually put
them into use as a student? I’m going to
show you how. What’s going
on guys? This is Jay from a
whole new MedSchoolinsider.com. Really excited to officially announce
the launch of my brand-new website, completely redesigned
from the ground up. I’m going to be having regular
blog posts from both myself and a few different
guest writers who are either going to be
other medical students or residents. So check out the website
if you haven’t already. So back to
the video. Deciding how to use
these memory techniques really depends on what kind
of information you’re learning. So, apart from the
medical school prerequisites, the information you’re learning in college
varies a great deal based on your major. I go over how to approach
studying for each type of subject in my how to study
for finals video. However, when you do
get to medical school, all those complex
math concepts, physics, and ochem –
all goes out the door. Medical school is almost
purely rote memorization, but regardless of whether you’re
in college or in medical school, you will benefit from the method of loci and
mnemonics for certain types of information. So, if you guys remember
from this video above, my memorization abilities are
definitely not my strength. When I come across information
that I need to memorize, I like to approach it by
one of three methods. The first is spaced
repetition using Anki. I went over how to use
Anki in a few other videos. The second technique
is mnemonics. And the last technique is an advanced
one called the method of loci, which is a
memory palace. So, first,
doing flashcards. As you guys
already know, I’m a huge fan of Anki for
memorizing information efficiently. Most of the information
I do try to memorize, I actually just place in Anki
in a regular flashcard. Either a cloze deletion, or a simple card,
or image occlusion, etc. These are quick
to make, quick to review, and they work
best for simple concepts. This should be your primary
method of memorizing information. Next,
are mnemonics. They require a bit
more effort to create, but they offer better retention
and recall for things like Anatomy
or lists. For example, if you’re
memorizing the branches of the external
carotid artery, mnemonics are
probably your best bet. Similarly, if you need to memorize a
group of drugs under a certain class type, mnemonics will
serve you well. Now you obviously want to use
mnemonics that are memorable, and therefore
effective for you, and this is going to vary
from person to person. So this means, you often need to
make your own mnemonics that you find personal
and you find memorable and that makes
sense to you. For certain concepts
like Anatomy, there are multiple
mnemonics floating around that you can
also just try out. I found that the inappropriate dirty
ones are particularly obnoxious, and therefore more
memorable for me. Next is the memory
palace or method of loci. For those of
you who are not familiar with this is
where you combine the information you’re trying to learn
with visualizations of familiar places. Therefore, you’re taking an
advantage of spatial memory. Generally, you move through
the familiar place on a route and this is more effective
than just being stationary. So, for example, you could
imagine waking up in your bedroom,
walking downstairs, and in the process of doing so,
visualizing multiple events happening. Each of these events
is tied to a certain concept or element that you
are trying to memorize. By having this
vivid memory, you’re better able to recall
the information at a later date. Again, this is
going to work best for images that
are really out there. They are grotesque, they’re
obnoxious, they’re ridiculous, etc. These are the
ones that stick. This is also
the same technique that the pros use
in memory competitions. Now, I would only
use the memory palace for concepts that
didn’t fit well into either regular
flash cards or mnemonics. If a concept was particularly
difficult for me to memorize, I would then go
with memory palace. The reason
being that the memory palace takes the
greatest amount of time to create, but it is also the most robust
way to memorize information. Now an intermediate
method that became one of my favorites
actually was creating brief stories that either did or did not
have a physical spatial setting involved. For example, to memorize the
adverse effects of a drug like tamoxifen, I imagined my
friend’s sister Tammy, I imagined ridiculous
things either about her or
happening to her, and each of these represented
one of the adverse effects. And years later,
I still remember them. So, for the medical
students out there, a great resource that takes
advantage of this concept is sketchy
medical. I used it when I was
studying for micro and I found
it very useful. They have now expanded it to
include pharmacology as well. Lastly, it’s important
to regularly review your mnemonics
and memory palaces. If you create
them once, you will not remember
them on the test day. You have to repeatedly
review them just like anything else you’re
trying to memorize. So there’s two methods
I recommend in order to do this and I
used both of them. One was that I created
a master mnemonics and story list in
my Evernote account. It can be a word doc,
notepad, etc., whatever works for you,
but in this note… so this note had all the
mnemonics and memory palace stories that I used and it was
divided up by subject, I could then go and review this
whenever I needed a refresher. I would also occasionally teach
my friends off of this list the various mnemonics
or stories that I used during our group
study sessions. Sometimes they would use them
and sometimes they would say that hasn’t really worked for me,
I’m going to create my own. Regardless,
in the process, I was reinforcing my
own stories and mnemonics which helped me
learn them as well, so it’s a
win-win this way. Don’t be
a gunner. The second method
was on Anki, that’s right. Anki, believe it or not, I’m
actually not affiliated with Anki and I don’t have any
financial stake in them, I just really
love the program. So, I would take my
mnemonics and my stories and put them
in on Anki decks. This way, I was able to review
my new mnemonics along with all the other information
that I was reviewing on a
daily basis because again, you have
to do Anki every single day. So, if you do decide to
use Anki for these methods, I recommend that you make
tags to indicate which cards are either mnemonics
or use the method of loci. My two tags were
mnemonics and story. By having
these tags, it becomes a lot easier to identify
these cards after you make them, in case you either want to
edit them or do a custom study session just
reviewing these cards. So, alright guys,
that is it for this video. If you do have any
questions or comments, please leave
them below. New videos
every week, so hit subscribe if
you have not already. And I will see you
guys in that next one.

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