Would you like to know the Memory Secrets of an A+ Student I used to fly through university on a high note despite many terrible experiences with depression?
If so, then you’ll enjoy this video and transcript of a webinar I gave for students several years ago.
Before I introduce myself,
I want to welcome and congratulate you for making this decision to learn about memory skills and improving the quality of your mind with the major A+ secret you’re about to learn.
And maybe get yourself a pen or a pencil and a piece of paper as it might come in handy later. I also recommend shutting of any distractions so you can fully benefit from the information you’re about to explore. I understand that there will be a recording of this webinar available, so you can easily allow yourself to take casual notes, but do keep one side of your piece of paper free to make a quick drawing later.
So, as Stephan mentioned, my name is Anthony Metivier. Amongst other degrees, I hold a PhD in Humanities for York University in Toronto, and I’m author of books like The Ultimate Language Learning Secret, the How to Learn and Memorize Foreign Language Vocabulary series of books and courses. I’m also the founder of the Magnetic Memory Method.
This “Magnetic” memorization and recall method, which is specifically called a “method” rather than a memorization “system” because of how it allows you to adapt the techniques to your own learning style and situation, gives you the ability to take the information you’re studying in books, lectures and from other sources and position it in your long term memory.
It not only solves the pain and frustration of forgetting important details sometimes minutes after you’ve learned them, forgetfulness that occurs due to the fickle nature of how unassisted memory works (or rather fails to work) but it also allows you to free up your time and build confidence about what you’ve learned by letting you see connections between the general concepts and the specific terms and terminology of the areas you are studying. And when you can do that, you will succeed in many areas of life in addition to having your transcripts loaded with A+’s.
And whether you’re studying law, medicine, literature, psychology, economics, information studies, the Magnetic Memory Method also builds better cognition, critical thinking skills and the benefits extend into writing and presenting as well.
So how do you do this?
Well, first, we need to understand more about the problem.
I’ve been developing, refining and implementing these skills has been a project of mine for over fifteen years.
Because I nearly flunked out university due to the stress and overwhelm of having to deal with several hundred books to prepare for field exams, writing a dissertation and the high pressure stakes of defending my knowledge for both the exams and the dissertation in front of committees. One of my major concerns was what I believed to be my poor memory skills, which was also tied to really bad concentration and an overall lack of focus. But after discovering memory techniques and getting good with them very rapidly (because they’re super simple to use), all of this anxiety literally faded away.
And by the time I defended my dissertation with a mind action-packed with information from my field of study (which was friendship in film, philosophy and literature), the external examiner who came up to Canada from the US to give final judgment told me that he couldn’t believe how relaxed I was during the defense.
In fact, he said that he thought I was cooler than Miles Davis. And he was pretty impressed by the depth of my knowledge too.
It’s experiences of success like this that are my goal for you.
So how does all of this work?
I’m going to assume that many of you already know something about memory techniques and have probably heard the word “mnemonics.” This word simply means “memory techniques” and is an umbrella term that encompasses anything that serves as an aid to memory, ranging from acronyms to rhymes to basic visual associations and Memory Palaces.
The Magnetic Memory Method focuses primarily on the last of these, Memory Palaces, which is what I want to talk to you about today.
Simply put, when you learn to use Memory Palaces, you can use every other memory technique within them. And it’s the lack of a central method that stumps a lot of people. They don’t have a means of centralizing everything, which is why so much from the world of mnemonics seems abstract and vague to people and ultimately turns them away.
So what are Memory Palaces and why are they such a great point of entry into the valuable world of memory techniques and A+ grades across the board. It’s primarily because Memory Palaces are mental constructs based on real locations, and because they are based on real locations with which you are deeply familiar, whenever you use mnemonics within them to memorize and recall information, you can easily “find” that information.
And because Memory Palaces are based on real locations, there is almost no effort spent on developing and using them. Locations are the ultimate tool.
And if you think about it, you already have dozens of places perfectly prepared in your mind.
Locations Are A Free Resource
And because they use the spatial elements of your mind, you can use these recreated locations to welcome information into your memory like you would a cherished guest.
And this is a key difference between students who succeed and students who fail.
Most students go about their studies with resistant minds like brick walls that they have to spraypaint the information onto, which makes what they’ve learned like disorganized graffiti, from which they hope that a meaningful picture will emerge.
This is a not a good way to proceed if you want a pluses … And I’m certain that you do.
Turning now to what is a good way to learn and memorize, the first Memory Secret I want to share is mindset.
One way to achieve the right mindset with respect to memory and all learning, as I’ve already hinted at is to imagine yourself being like a charming host to the information, and like I said, to …
Treat Information Like A Guest
You open the door with a warm plate of cookies and some milk and you literally guide the information to the location it’s going to enjoy in your memory so that it not only wants to stay for awhile, but it wants to help you invite more information so that the information takes root, builds lateral networks and enables you to reproduce the knowledge that you’ve memorized and even create new knowledge because of the deep connections and decisions about what information to choose to invite into your mind you can now make on an informed basis.
So with the crucial understanding that mindset is always important in our minds and memory, let’s look at building a Memory Palace by first understanding some best practices. You’ve probably read some stuff online before about what Memory Palaces are and they’ve probably left you feeling kind of vague. Usually they tell you to use your home and teach you how memorize a shopping list.
Using your home can be and usually is good (though not always), but shopping lists, quite frankly, are boring.
One of the best tricks to getting a quick victory with Memory Palaces is to actually practice using them to memorize information you care about. Whatever you do, when you try what I’m going to demonstrate, start with something that interests you, like a fascinating poem or facts about a favorite author so that you can see how they work and understand how that once you’ve made headway, information will in effect never be boring again. And I will be demonstrating how boring information can be exciting in just a moment because it’s one of the things that makes the difference for people just getting started with memory skills.
All that said, let me give you the major guidelines for building effective Memory Palaces followed by a quick example using information I originally found quite boring and had no particular connection to or interest in.
The first major principle I’ve already mentioned:
Use A Familiar Location
Later, I can teach you how to use fantasy locations or virtual Memory Palaces in the most effective manner, but at the beginning, the best zero effort strategy is to use a place that you’re intimately familiar with and even fond of. Obviously if you once worked at McDonalds and you hated it and in fact are attending university and need memory skills so that you never have to be a slave to a fastfood chain again, then McDonald’s may or may not made an ideal Memory Palace for you. I myself tend to be very neutral about locations and have made great use of a paint factory I used to work in, for example (not the nicest of places to be), but it’s up to you to decide what kinds of familiar locations work for you, positive or negative.
Whatever location you choose, it’s as simple as doing something you do all the time or have done anyway, just with a slightly different perspective. Instead of literally walking from room to room in your home or workplace or school for example, you walk from room to room in your imagination.
And if you’ve got your piece of paper and pen or pencil handy, you might like to start sketching out a floorplan of what this place you have in mind looks like. A square for the bedroom in relation to a square for the kitchen, etc. Just a simple floorplan.
And again as you continue listening and you start to draw, pick a place that you are familiar with and have a generally positive feeling about.
And as you sketch that out in just a casual way, I’m going to invite you into a Memory Palace of my own. I often use my office as a Memory Palace. As you can see here, I have, among other things, a desk, some musical instruments and a bed.
The bookcase stores books and memories, the bed is for researching meditation and doing experiments with dream recall, the desk is for my laptop, the chair and musical instruments for studying music memorization for a book I’m writing, the wall is for leaning my guitars on and the bike is for traveling home.
But all of these are also good for storing memorized material.
And I point out these different areas because that represents the second memory secret principle.
We can divide up individual rooms in a Memory Palaces into what I call stations. So in the Memory Palace you see here, my bookcase would be a station, the bed, my desk, my chair, the middle of the wall, where my bicycle stands is a Memory Palace station and so forth.
There’s a lot more detail to be shared about these stations, and I’ll be happy to talk more about them in the q & a.
Create A Linear Journey
The next principle that you use while identifying these different stations is having a linear journey. Now, one of the main objects that people raise immediately is that they are not linear thinkers, they don’t learn in a linear manner and that it’s counter productive to try and do so.
The fact of the matter is, however, that we read, speak, and formulate speech and writing in our minds for production in a linear manner and we can use this fact of communication to map out or layer information onto a linear journey in order to assist recall. And just as you can easily pluck out a word from the middle of a sentence and speak it without without speaking any of the rest, you can easily zoom to a particular place in a Memory Palace and find just that piece of information you’re looking for while drawing connections between it and information situated in completely different Memory Palaces with their own unique journey.
The linear nature of the journey is also important for practicing recall in preparation for an exam and in fact makes things much more flexible and less linear than studying from pages of linear notes and flipping through the pages of a book in either linear or random order. The ability to access this information for the purposes of studying it without having to review external materials as you go along while also making connections and building knowledge is exclusive to those who know how to use memory skills.
Now as you can imagine, the mistakes that most people make as beginners involve not using a location that is familiar, not dividing up the rooms distinctly enough and not creating linear journeys for storing the information.
You’re now in a perfect position to avoid those mistakes, so let’s talk about exactly how to place information at these stations.
But I must tell you that we’re actually getting into very dangerous territory.
One of the problems in the world of teaching mnemonics is that at some point, you have to give people examples of how the actual process of memorizing something using images placed in Memory Palaces works.
It’s actually very simple to understand.
It involves crazy imagery filled with vibrant colors and zany actions that enable you to recall information quickly and easily and with a minimum of effort. But when you’re peering into the head of another person, it can be very difficult to see exactly how that person’s pictures enables them to recall the information in question.
This is why the popular Google search for “mnemonic examples” in, say, medicine and law, is largely a waste of time.
Mnemonics and Memory Palaces work wonders when you learn to use the natural abilities of your mind to create powerful associations. Far too many people overthink this and get in their own way, but I’m happy to help you learn how to troubleshoot that and I’m going to give you a major tip concerning how to overcome any and all doubts you may have about you abilities to use memory palaces at the end.
So with the caveat in mind that you need to learn to make your own associations, and knowing that I’m very happy to teach you how to amplify your imagination beyond belief (even if you think you’re not a visual person), one of the things Stephan asked me to do is to demonstrate how I would memorize something from either the world of law or medicine.
And I thought, why not bring the two together?
I found a medical case with an ethical issue that involves the law, and without burdening you with the whole case or going very deep into this example, it boiled down to the following facts:
– A 32 year old woman wound up in Intensive Care following a car accident
– She developed Adult Respiratory Distress syndrome
– She was one month away from a divorce from a physically and mentally abusive man
– The woman’s parents decided not to notify this man of his wife’s hospitalization, even though he is still her legal next of kin.
– The question is: do the parents have this right to exclude him from making descisions about whether she should be removed from the ventilator or not?
– The answer is that medical staff should contact the patient’s lawyer and depending on the nature of the divorce, the husband could be removed from the record as the primary surrogate.
I’ve broken this down to six pieces of relatively complex information.
Now, you can’t quite see it in this photo, but there is a book case here on the right and this is the first of the stations i will use to memorize this
The bed will be station number two
My desk is three
My chair is four
The space in front of the wall between my desk and my guitar is five
… and my bike is six
This short journey is linear and I can add new stations if I need to proceeding out to the door and into the rest of the apartment where there at least two dozen more stations to be used and I can always make virtual stations, which is a bit more of an advanced technique.
For reasons I can’t get into due to the limited amount of time we have as e move together into the demonstration, the number 32 in my personal adaptation of the magnetic memory method is automatically associated with the Hoover Dam in a tin can.
This concrete-stuffed can is held in the hand of a woman experiencing a car wreck with the intensive care ward of a hospital that is also sitting on my bookcase. All of this is large, even though it is contained in a smaller space, it’s vibrant, colorful and filled with action. It takes me just a second to add these features.
On my bed, moving to the next station, I see this woman now attached to a respirator. She’s in distress because a man with a wedding ring is punching her while her parents watch on, the father wringing a divorce certificate in his hands.
On my desk, I see Patrick Swayze, who starred in a film called next of kin. He’s got a kind of Indiana Jones hat on, like he does in the film, but is otherwise dressed like a doctor and is whipping …
… the lawyer sitting on my chair with a telephone wire, who happens to be Saul from the Breaking Bad series with which you might be familiar. In fact, one of the funniest lines from the series is his infomercial, which says, “Better Call Saul.”
Now as it turns out, I personally don’t need the next two stations for any more information because it’s now entirely clear to me that a 32 year old woman who developed Adult Respiratory Syndrome following a car accident whose parents need to decide whether or not the husband she’s trying to divorce has the right to be involved in decisions about her death and that the medical staff needs to contact the woman’s lawyer to see about having him removed from his legal position as the primary next of kin.
If I wanted to add the American state in which this case occurred, the year, or the outcome, or some terminology that describes such cases, that would not be a problem because I have these two stations left to fill a and many more beyond that leading out of the apartment to the park, the S-Bahn (or train for those not in German-speaking countries) and beyond.
In order to test my recall of this information, I simply remove myself from the medical-legal textbook (or in this case, a website) and rewrite the information out by hand by drawing upon the combination of stations along a Memory Palace journey with images and actions that have been mapped onto the target information.
If, when I come back to the original information to compare, I need to troubleshoot, this is easily and quickly done by running along the linear path and amplifying images or using the Magnetic Memory Method Principle of “compounding.”
It’s really that simple, extremely fun, and because the Memory Palace was prepared in advance, something I’d love to teach you to do with multiple Memory Palaces, I could quickly map out the information in this case study using associative-imagery and amplifying it.
Now just imagine the short investment of time it would take to think about and organize a dozen places you’re familiar with, be they coffee shops, restaurants, your church, buildings on your campus, movie theatres, your home, the homes of your friends and relatives, and many other options that we all have available to us …
The world is a big place, and just by taking a short while to develop these Memory Palaces by following the principles I’ve just taught you so that you can recall information like this with ease …
Well, I’m not talking about magical spells or fairy dust.
I’m talking about a practical method that will open the world for you when it comes to quickly memorizing information and recalling it with greater ease than you’ve probably ever imagined possible.
So to sum up, the first thing to do is to create a Memory Palace, ideally more than one. Even if you just start thinking of places that you can use, you’ll be ahead of many people who are aware of these techniques.
Then, divide your first Memory Palace into different stations. Just start with a handful to begin with.
Pay attention to making sure that the journey is linear and that you can add more stations if you wish.
Practice making up images and actions that help you recall the information you leave at each station when you mentally follow those routes again.
And finally, find a list or a case study like the one that I’ve demonstrated in this webinar, keeping in mind that as a beginner it should relate to something that interests you and try to map that material onto your journey of stations using imagery like the kind that I’ve described.
For many of you, you’ve just received more than enough to get started with creating Memory Palaces and using them to memorize all the material you could ever need in order to become an A+ student and master of knowledge.
However, if you want more in-depth training, including the best ways to recall this information in the best possible conditions with total confidence, concentration and relaxation, then a program of study will be made available to you
There are a lot of finer details to making sure that your imagery works, and I’d love to talk to you about information division and bridging figures and some of the finer points that will make your use of associative-imagery not only easy and mostly effortless, but extremely effective and super fun to use.
And in the ideal future I see for you, you never need to tackle difficult information again in order to get it into your memory. I know from long experience with my own practice and years of teaching others to use these techniques and corresponding with my readers that you have a very bright future indeed when you choose to use these simple skills to assist your studies.
As a final note, you should know that anything else someone else has done, particularly when it comes to mental achievements, is something you can do too. But if you hear yourself saying to yourself, “I couldn’t do that,” now is a good time to go in your mind and think about why don’t I believe that I’m valuable enough to do what thousands of other people have done? There could be an issue of self-worth that you need to tackle.
Or it could be that you’re just starting out with something like memory technique – just like I once was a beginner along with everyone else who has gained mastery over their memory.
And if you’re starting out, my greatest advice for you is to never let the small steps you have to take now make you small-minded about what is possible for you to achieve. I know you can do this and I know that you can store and maintain more than enough information to become an A+ student. In fact, I know that you can develop your memory well enough to make it a central part of your ability to make a true impact on your own life, your community and even the entire world.
So I hope that this small set of memory secrets has served you and if you have any questions whatsoever, please send them in. I’m interested to know what you think about all this stuff!