How to Build a Memory Palace: Proven Memory Palace Technique Approach

Memory Palace image to convey their power for the Magnetic Memory Method blog and podcastIn our modern world of omnipresent information access, memorization using a Memory Palace was almost a thing of the past.

Almost. Luckily, there’s a growing body of people who are using Memory Palaces because they’re noticing how modern technology isn’t always great for memory.

And this shift back to older memory techniques has occurred quite quickly. The question is… why?

Little more than a decade ago, it wasn’t uncommon that a person had to memorize a sizable list of phone numbers belonging to partners, siblings, parents and close friends.

But now, more and more, people are finding that their minds feel weak. They can’t recall what they did yesterday, let alone recall a list of important phone numbers.

Fortunately, the ancient Memory Palace technique is still here for people who want to get back to basics and remember key information reliably. And plenty of contemporary science proves that this technique works.

As far as learning techniques go, this technique is not a magic bullet. But as you’re about to discover, the Memory Palace for learning is one of the closest things to real magic we have.

Why The Memory Palace Technique Is Not Snake Oil

I get it. People are skeptical, and they should be. A lot of people sell inferior memory training products, one reason why I created this Consumer Awareness Guide years ago.

Yet, the scientific research you’ll find on this page shows that the Memory Palace, when taught properly, never was and never will be snake oil.

Far from it.

That’s because Memory Palaces have been used for thousands of years. If fact, many people arrive at the technique spontaneously when they realize that you can use your imagination to “store” information in familiar locations.

An Exact Definition Of The Memory Palace Technique

Using this technique is kind of like using a fridge magnet to hold receipts or concert tickets in place. Once locked in place, you can mentally think back to where you left these important items by recalling the space where you left them. The Memory Palace builds upon this concept by associating many things you want to remember with locations in space.

By using this concept strategically, you can remember a lot of of information at scale. People use the technique to help with language learning, passing exams, learning music and a host of other learning goals.

To help you understand just how powerful the technique can be, I’ll share with you my personal experiences using in addition to the scientific research showing just how well it works. You can also enjoy the experiences of several of my students, dozens of whom who have sent me their results for the public to read.

Another reason people are skeptical stems from a lack of self belief. Sadly, the modern world rarely encourages us to use our imagination. It might therefore be slightly challenging for people new to the technique to really get into it.

Because if there is a catch, getting into using the technique is it. In order to fully understand how a Memory Palace works, you need to develop at least a few of them and then use them to complete well-formed learning goals. You can’t just think about the technique. In the words of Yoda, you have to take matters into your own hands and just do it.

The good news is that using a Memory Palace is incredibly engaging. As I told journalist Rebecca Barry when she interviewed me for the New Zealand Herald’s Viva Magazine,  this learning technique is much more engaging than the traditional rote memorization technique. It gets even more engaging when you add Magnetic Note Taking as part of the process.

With practice, you’ll soon be impressing all of your friends and family with how good your memory has gotten in no time.

Since practice is so important, let’s talk about how to create a Memory Palace in depth before we get into some of the science behind why the technique works so well.

How to Build a Memory Palace

As you’ve seen, basic idea behind the Memory Palace is simple. You associate pieces of information with locations that you are very familiar with. A prime example would be your home.

But you can also build Memory Palaces based on:

  • Homes of relatives
  • Workplaces
  • Churches
  • Schools
  • Art galleries
  • Cafes and restaurants
  • Movie theatres

It’s also possible to use parks, highways and other outdoor locations. This approach is sometimes called the journey method.

However, I advise that beginners start with buildings. I make this suggestion because the walls, hallways and other features of buildings give your mind a kind of scaffolding to hang onto. This is especially important for people new to using visual memory techniques.

You might not be used to imagining things, so giving yourself the solidity of an actual building will reduce the cognitive load involved in using the technique.

Even after developing and using hundreds of Memory Palaces for high-stake uses like delivering a TEDx Talk, I still prefer using buildings myself to keep the cognitive load low. I do sometimes use outdoor locations, something we’ll discuss after going through the following steps.

Step One: Imagine A Location You Want To Develop Into A Memory Palace

Try this simple exercise:

Close your eyes right now and picture a room in your home. Your bedroom or a living room like the one you see pictured below is a great place to start.

a living room
To use the Memory Palace technique, you will place the associations on specific “stations” in your Memory Palace. For example, in the image above, the table to the right would be station one, the bookcase station two, etc.

If you’re like most of us, you can probably picture your home with a decent amount of detail. You know where the furniture is found, what colors the walls are, and even where small objects are placed.

Congratulations! You’ve just started the first step of developing your very own Memory Palace. You can start assigning a journey through your first Memory Palace.

To give you a clearer idea of what such a mental journey looks like, here’s a picture of me in a Memory Palace I used to memorize some song lyrics. By following a linear path based on the location of the walls and furniture, it was easy to place associations that helped me recall the words of the song.

Anthony Metivier Berlin Memory Palace Alan Photo Periodic Table
A Memory Palace example based on my studio bedroom in Berlin circa 2013.

Step Two: Make A Quick Sketch Of The Location

When just starting out with the Memory Palace technique, I suggest that you draw out a simple journey through the first location you choose by hand.

This simple step will help you quickly decide exactly how you will move through the Memory Palace in order to place associations. It will also reduce the cognitive load that you might experience if you’re new to using techniques like this.

Planning like this also draws upon Abraham Lincoln’s well-known wisdom:

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

This is exactly what I’m suggesting you do: spend a few minutes planning out your Memory Palace in detail by sketching it out and you will save time later when you use it to encode information int your long-term memory.

Finally, drawing or sketching out your Memory Palaces will help you avoid “Memory Palace renovation” later.

So that you know what I’m talking about, here’s an example based on one of my many personal Memory Palaces (here are several more Memory Palaces examples if you like):

Anthony Metivier Memory Palace of Berlin Apartment
Quick Memory Palace Drawing by Anthony Metivier (based on an apartment used to help with studying)

The kind of Memory Palace plan above takes most people only a minute or two to sketch out. Please note that it really is just a sketch. We’re not talking about artistic skill. Just a quick sketch that will save you a lot of time because you won’t have to fix things later if you realize that you’ve accidentally led yourself into a dead end.

Now, over the years, people have emailed and explained that for health reasons, they’re not able to draw Memory Palaces. If that’s the case for you, here’s a detailed tutorial with suggestions on how to build a well-formed Memory Palace if for any reason you can’t or don’t want to draw them out.

Step Three: Keep The Journey Simple & Direct

It’s easy to go overboard when designing a Memory Palace.

To avoid issues, I suggest that you use only the parts of the location that are clear to you. It’s okay to leave out entire sections of a location.

In other words, if you’re murky about how a basement looked, I would suggest leaving that part of the building out of the design. Less is more when using this technique.

To make things even simpler, set up a linear journey that lead from the first station in your Memory Palace to the final station without crossing your own path. Just as you wouldn’t confuse yourself while walking through a real location, you want to follow a logical path in your mental version of the location as well.

Step Four: Number The Stations (Optional)

When crafting my Memory Palaces, I like to number the stations for two reasons:

  • It focuses my mind on keeping things simple and not overloading the Memory Palace
  • Sometimes I use an additional 00-99 P.A.O System to assign an image to each Magnetic Station

The final option is an intermediate/advanced memory skill. But there’s no reason you can’t prepare to be able to use it as a beginner starting now.

Here’s another example of a numbered Memory Palace I prepared for one of my long-form Sanskrit memorization goals:

Pre-Numbered Memory Palace Example
This pre-numbered Memory Palace example shows you how I prepared to memorize the Atma Bodha in full. I know the text and the number of each verse in an ancient Sanskrit text thanks to my favorite memory technique.

Step Five: Mentally Move Through Your Memory Palace A Few Times

Before putting information into your Memory Palace, navigate it a few times.

Exactly how many times is up to you, but I’d suggest at least five times so you’re really familiar with it.

As a best practice, find a quiet area. Close your eyes and start at the first station.

Move in a deliberate way from station to station in the Memory Palace to make sure each station is clear to you.

It’s okay to refer back to your drawing while practicing. That’s yet another reason why I strongly recommend you go through the simple planning phase. The exact journey you decided upon will be there for you to refer to if you need it.

How To Use A Memory Palace

As you’ve learned, the Memory Palace helps you associate information with specific areas within a familiar location. Laying out your associations is done using mnemonic images.

As you mentally walk through a location you’ve prepared, exactly how you place pieces of information and link them to associations simply involves using your imagination. Later, when you want to recall the information, you revisit your mental route, and the information will be easily accessible.

The technique is made more effective when you add surprising or out-of-the normal features to your associations.

For example, let’s assume you want to memorize this sequence of words:

  • hero
  • drill
  • spacecraft
  • music

To start encoding the first word on the list, you imagine a hero on the first station of the Memory Palace. You’ll need to use your imagination to learn the skill, but basically, this is what the technique looks like in my imagination:

Memory Palace example for placing the word here on the first loci or station

But there’s a catch. The word “hero” is a bit vague.

To increase your ability to memorize and retain this word, you want to make the association more distinctive or unusual. Memory experts call this simple process “elaboration” or elaborative encoding. To elaborate any association in your Memory Palace:

  • Exaggerate how the association moves
  • Change the size of the image
  • Distort the image
  • Amplify its colors
  • Add sounds, physical sensations and even tastes and smells

For example, you could imagine the hero in your Memory Palace banging his feet on the floor. Really exaggerate the image, so much that you can hear the banging and even smell the wood as the floor breaks apart.

There’s another way to make each association even stronger. For example, for a word like hero, you can add Hercules to the association you place in your Memory Palace. Because the sound of Hercules’ name and the word hero are similar, you can easily make the image sillier and more striking.

Let’s extend the example further for the next word on the list.

When you think of the next station in your Memory Palace, imagine that there is suddenly a drill next to the hero.Memory Palace example for the word drill

To increase the power of this mnemonic imagery, use the elaborate technique we just discussed. For example, you could imagine that the drill is turned on and you have to leap over it to avoid being hurt.

If you want to practice, memorize these words for yourself. Once you’re done with hero and drill, use your third station to imagine a spacecraft flying around inside your Memory Palace. You can elaborate it by exaggerating its movement, or having it do something silly like leave a trail of glitter.

Finally, you sit down on the couch, and as your bottom touches the cushion, your favorite song starts playing. You might even imagine the word “music” written on the cushion before you sit.

Again, exaggerate as much of the image as you can in order to make it more memorable. This will help ensure you recall the item when you revisit the Memory Palace during the recall phase.

Here’s a summary of the main steps above with a few additional details:

  1. Draw a floor plan of a familiar location.
  2. Create a journey that does not lead you into a dead end.
  3. Make sure that your journey is linear so that you don’t create confusion by crossing your own path.
  4. Don’t clutter your first Memory Palace by assigning too many stations.
  5. Number each station and create a top-down list to help you mind remember the journey better and prepare for more advanced uses later.
  6. Use your new Memory Palace as soon as possible by filling it with information that will improve your life.
  7. Use the Memory Palace to invoke the Primacy Effect and Recency effect for each Magnetic Station by using the Serial-Positioning Effect and spaced repetition.
  8. Create more Memory Palaces and repeat the process, always taking care to memorize information that makes your life better professionally and personally.

How to Combine the Memory Palace Technique With The Linking Method

In addition to using the Memory Palace journey to help you trigger associations to call back whatever you want to memorize, you can link your associations within the Memory Palace. In other words, you can have the hero throw the drill at the spaceship. As I share in my post explaining how I memorize names at events, I use the room we’re in as the Memory Palace. Then I use associations that “link” together to make it faster and easier to recall all the names.

Anthony Metivier using a Memory Palace to remember names at a live event
At this event, I created an impromptu Memory Palace from the room to memorize everyone’s name. I used associations for each person and linked some of the associations together. This was effectively using two mnemonic devices at the same time.

These are just a few examples. The trick is to select what you want to memorize and then start to explore how the technique works by coming up with associations and laying them out in your imagination. It’s okay to make mistakes as you learn the technique. Just get curious about what you could do better and review the basic instructions to see if you’re missing any of the key steps.

Quick Answers To Common Questions About
Successfully Placing Your Memories In Memory Palaces

As we’ve seen, the Memory Palace involves assigning stations in familiar locations.

Then, you take what you want to memorize and elaborate it by combining or pairing each piece of information with an association.

Over the years, many people have asked me questions like:

  • How many pieces of information can I place in a Memory Palace?
  • How do I “attach” the information to the stations?
  • Can I place information in cupboards?
  • Is it possible to create Memory Palaces spontaneously, or “on the go”?
  • What if I can’t think of a proper location or am afraid I’ll run out of Memory Palaces?

Here are some rapid fire answers to these common questions.

How Much Information Can You Place In Memory Palaces?

I have some Memory Palaces with hundreds of words. For example, as I discussed in my TEDx Talk, I’ve memorized dozens of Sanskrit phrases as part of my researcher into the connection between memorization and mindfulness.

Generally, I like to let the project itself decide how much information will go inside each Memory Palace. The key is to get started and develop your own “mnemonic style” with using this technique.

How Do You Connect Information To The Memory Palace?

When it comes to “attaching” or “connecting” information to your stations, this is why I draw my Memory Palaces. The Memory Palace is always based on a location that is already in memory. The drawing helps me settle on the exact path I’ll follow. Then, I just have to stick with that path. In other words, the path itself is the connecting factor and the Memory Palace is like a piece of canvas I’m painting on.

Can You Expand Memory Palaces?

To expand or extend any Memory Palace, you certainly can open up drawers or cupboards to place more associations and remember more. Renaissance mnemonists likes Giordano Bruno and Robert Fludd talked about tactics like these.

In my personal experience, I have not found this approach particularly useful for most learning goals. Still, if you think it might be fun and useful to extend your Memory Palaces in this way, I encourage you to experiment with the strategy.

Is It Possible To Make A Memory Palace “On The Go”?

Yes, and I do this quite a bit. It’s especially useful for committing information during conversations.

Because spontaneous Memory Palace generation is a slightly separate skills, I’ve created this tutorial on how to create Memory Palaces on the fly, such as in restaurants while dining.

It even includes a live video tutorial where I spontaneously create a Memory Palace in a park to memorize the names of seasons in a different language.

What If I’m Worried About Running Out Of Memory Palaces?

This concern is so common, I created this detailed tutorial on how to find Memory Palaces.

In addition to all the possible options for your Memory Palaces that I listed above, I’m confident you’ll find that you never run out of options for using this wonderful memory technique.

The Definitive Guide To Reusing A Memory Palace

A lot of people ask me about using the same Mind Palace a second or third time.

It is possible, but the precise process can be more than a little finicky. To explain what I mean, please check out this thorough video guide on the topic:

As you can see, not even the most skilled memory experts reuse Memory Palaces. If you set yourself up correctly, it’s not really necessary.

That said, doubling up does make for great brain exercise, and that’s usually the way I treat the practice. I think it might have helped me experience a breakthrough with aphantasia, actually.

But what this question has taught me the most over the years is that many students of memory improvement put the cart before the horse. They worry about advanced skills before they’ve mastered the fundamentals – advanced skills that the pros have already determined might be great, but aren’t really worth using.

I recommend that you use at least a dozen, if not two dozen Memory Palaces to get the hang of how they work before worrying about reusing them. Following that principle helped me succeed when I innovated a way to reuse them with greater ease. Here’s a case study that shows you what I mean.

The Memory Palace I Re-Used Twice (Personal Case-Study)

Have a look at this Memory Palace example based on a neighborhood called Kelvin Grove in Brisbane, Australia:

how to memorize a passage memory palace example

I’ve used it three times for memorizing:

  • The Upadesa Saram
  • 32 verses of the Ribhu Gita
  • My TEDx Talk

Frankly, I did manage to pull this off successfully and am very happy with the results. But if I were to do it again, I would not use the same Memory Palace over and over again. Certainly not for something important as a memorized public presentation.

Other (Potential) Problems With Reusing A Memory Palace

Although the following issue hasn’t happened to me, some people have issues with moving the furniture around in the rooms they base their Memory Palaces on.

In most cases, this shouldn’t be an issue once you have the fundamentals of this memory technique mastered. To do that, please make sure that you devote yourself to the loci method thoroughly and completely. It will serve you well for the rest of your life.

But another option is to simply not use furniture at all. If you look at the Kelvin Grove Memory Palace example above, you can see that most of it involves streets. In the few rooms that I did use, my loci were mostly the walls and corners.

I think of street corners and the architectural foundations of Memory Palaces as “Eternal Stations.” They’re very unlikely to change in the future. Using them makes this mnemonic method much more stable over the long term.

The Memory Palace Technique Is Not Necessarily Visual

Some people assume that this technique requires a vivid visual imagination. This is not correct and not the experience of my students or memory champion friends. That said, you can’t blame people for confusing iconic memory with the fantasy of photographic memory.

When done correctly using all of the Magnetic Modes, you can memorize a very large amount of information relatively quickly without necessarily seeing the Memory Palace in your mind.

Here’s an infographic to teach you all about the different ways that your brain perceives information in a multi-sensory way:

Magnetic Modes Infographic for Memory Palace blog post on the Magnetic Memory Method Blog

Keeping the full range of the Magnetic Modes in mind, you can use any home or location with which you are familiar.

You can even use small areas, such as the inside of a broom closet. You can even use your own body, attaching information to different limbs.

Just keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to see the Memory Palace. You can feel it, hear it, taste it, smell it and even just think about it. I’ve even gone through some of my Memory Palaces and touched the walls I’ll be using to help make them more substantial in my imagination. This simple action has helped me a lot over the years.

For example, when I was asked to memorize some Shakespeare in real time on the Guru Viking Podcast, I used a Memory Palace I have interacted with physically many times. This level of mental processing helped make the memory demonstration successful. In fact, I recalled the lines I was asked to memorize from Julius Caesar perfectly.

If shifting from a visual to a multi-sensory Memory Palace seems odd, let me add a few more details. They will help you understand how seriously well this technique works when you add more levels of sensory elaboration.

The Science Behind the Memory Palace

Many studies have been conducted to analyze the effectiveness of the Memory Palace. It’s all based on the scientific fact that your brain and spatial memory perceive space as a kind of image. Space itself is a kind of sensory experience, so it’s well worth focusing on.

Check out this lecture with memory expert Stephen Kosslyn for more information about how that works:

Cool, right?

The answer is a resounding “yes!”

And it gets even better. In 2020, researchers Dr. David Reser and Tyson Yunkaporta conducted a study at Monash University with medical students. Using an Aboriginal variation of the Memory Palace technique, they demonstrated that learners equipped with this learning method recalled far more than students who did not.

No Need For A Huge IQ To Use A Memory Palace!

Over the years, some people have written to me that memory athletes and mnemonists must be smarter or have higher IQs than other people.

I don’t believe memory competitors are smarter or have bigger brains than the rest of us. It’s that they use mnemonics, and specifically the Memory Palace to memorize semantic information.

And they practice deliberately. That is the secret behind their impressive abilities. And because people who practice for a long time learn more about the techniques they’re using, that explains why they become really good (Maguire et al 2002).

This simple observation suggests that anyone with average abilities can use this technique to improve his/her memory. And scientists have shown that it’s well worth taking up the Memory Palace technique as a lifetime practice, especially when you consider the research on memory training with the elderly.

And once you know the drill, it’s really just a matter of spending some time with a few solid Memory Palace training exercises. Like these:

Even if you are not seeking to learn large amounts of information, the Memory Palace still has something to offer. There’s even more evidence that the Memory Palace can help maintain a healthy brain during old age if you’d like to follow-up with the additional scientific references listed below.

As MMM student Sunil Khatri has explained, the Memory Palace is also great for language learning, including the difficulties of Japanese.

Personally, one of my favorite ways to practice the Memory Palace technique is to memorize playing cards, specifically for performing card magic. Whereas I used to practice the Mnemonica Stack, I’ve recently memorized the Redford Stack and am having a ton of fun with that.

It only takes me 2 minutes and 30 seconds to memorize a deck. And with a little practice based on how memory actually works, I’ll bet you can go even faster.

Ready to get started mastering the Memory Palace technique so you can enjoy learning more based on the spatial and multi-sensory nature of your mind?

Let’s do this thing!

Memory Palace References & Further Resources


Bower, G. H., “Analysis of a Mnemonic Device: Modern psychology uncovers the powerful components of an ancient system for improving memory” American Scientist, Vol. 58, No. 5, pp. 496-510, September–October 1970 Web. 21 Jan. 2016..

Engvig, Andreas, Anders M. Fjell, Lars T. Westlye, Torgeir Moberget, Øyvind Sundseth, Vivi Agnete Larsen, and Kristine B. Walhovd. “Effects of Memory Training on Cortical Thickness in the Elderly.” NeuroImage 52.4 (2010): 1667-676. 1 Oct. 2010. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.

Fan, Shelley. “Can a Mnemonic Slow Memory Loss with Age?” Scientific American Blog Network. 20 Mar. 2014. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.

Maguire, Eleanor A., Elizabeth R. Valentine, John M. Wilding, and Narinder Kapur. “Routes to Remembering: The Brains behind Superior Memory.” Nature Neuroscience Nat Neurosci 6.1 (2002): 90-95. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.

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138 Responses

  1. Memory Palace Science: Proof That This Memory Technique Works

    Thanks Anthony,

    Memory truly resides in several realms, and science is certainly one of them. Of course, it is a subject of pure and applied sciences, such as medicine, neuropsychology and the like; but it also resides in social science, life science, formal science, etc. Science is an activity that we use to gain knowledge of our world through gathering evidence, conducting experiments, and arriving at conclusions.

    Those who consider Humanities, which applies the scientific method to the study of human culture, as non-scientific have a misunderstanding of science.

    This is sad, but it is not surprising, for our Western systems of education have been degrading woefully over the years. Levels of illiteracy (cultural, literary, scientific, and so forth) and innumeracy are staggering.

    But Memory is the stuff of all scientific and artistic pursuit. In fact, Cicero considered it the “treasure house of knowledge.”

    His work on Rhetoric (“de Oratore”) covers the classical five fields, which are Invention, Arrangement, Style, Memory and Delivery. For him, and for many of his contemporaries, location-based mnemonics was very well known. Many were versed in the skill, so he is almost apologetic when he covers it. Moreover, Memory was made even more powerful when used in conjunction with the four other fields.

    Mental imagery predates spoken language. In fact, a fascinating article on it appears in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ( It relates imagery to mnemonic and other pursuits. I encourage you and others to read it.

    When I recall how I learned my phone numbers as a child, I “see” the telephone (its colour, its location). I remember dialling the numbers with the rotary dial. Everything was experiential and highly memorable.

    I think we developed such a strong sense of visual memory because it literally was a matter of life and death. We needed to know where to find food or how to avoid pitfalls, and all of this was contingent on visual memory.

    I like your example with hero, drill, spacecraft and music. How I would handle it is combining the words together to form one mnemonic image in one location. For example, I see our old 1966 Dodge Polara parked in our driveway. All of a sudden an old flying saucer spacecraft comes whirling out of the sky and lands on it crushing it like a pancake. A classical Greek Hero comes rushing out of my house with a drill in hand to start fixing the mess; but he’s only making it worse. Bonnie Tyler’s “I need a Hero” is blaring out over the scene, adding the music. Funny, crazy, dynamic and all rolled into one location.

    Possibly why people complain about the effectiveness of Memory Palaces is that they’re not using vivid imagery. It has to be totally outlandish if you want to remember. But as you say, “Sadly, most adults in the modern world are not encouraged to use their imagination. It might therefore be slightly challenging for someone newly using the technique to really get into it.”

    However, once people really use the technique, and as true Memory Scientists, explore, practise, experiment and observe; and compare it to other methods, such as rote learning), I am sure more people will embrace the Science and Art of Memory.

    Kinds regards.

  2. Ah, rotary dial … just thinking of all the phones I’ve used or owned in my life brings back so many memories – and all in the form of a profound memory exercise.

    The phones in the homes of friends and relatives … pay phones around the world.

    And then my first cell phone … how the cell phones of my friends looked …

    Just one word in your post unlocks a treasure house of knowledge that, even if it seems trivial to some, is the most valuable in the world.


    Because it makes possible more than just memory exercise. It opens up ideas for even more Memory Palaces.

    The lack of vivid imagery is precisely the complaint so many make. That is solved by understanding how one is visual and then massaging that muscle so that it works. The Memory Palace is both the storehouse and the dojo/gym where all the work is to be done. And it is done at the highest possible level when we act as the scientist of our own memory laboratory.

    And so I hope and work towards you being right that the majority will come to embrace the glorious, ancient technology of the Memory Palace. It’s only going to get more powerful and more useful the older it gets! 🙂

  3. I tell people that anyone can develop a good memory, yet they don’t believe me! Could it be due to mental laziness? I don’t know….

    1. Thanks for this, Betsy.

      I’m sure mental laziness is involved in some cases. In others, it could be Digital Amnesia.

      Another reason is that people don’t have accountability, which is one reason why I developed this monthly print newsletter program with a book called The Memory Connection.

      I wasn’t sure if it would be successful or not, but the response so far has been great. I’m confident that this form of continuous training is a new way to help people find their way to memory techniques no matter what might be holding them back.

      Thanks for your post and look forward to your next one soon. We all appreciate hearing from you! 🙂

        1. Thanks for your question.

          Yes, you can reuse any Memory Palace, but there are many considerations. Some people do it with ease, but others struggle. A lot depends on the purpose, your level of skill and the distinctive nature of the information.

          For example, you can get what I think of as “borderblur” if the imagery is too similar. You can also experience what some memory competitors call “ghosting.” When it comes to re-using a Memory Palace for knowledge, I prefer to call this the “Ugly Sister Effect.” If you search this site for it, you’ll find a whole episode of the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast about why this happens, why I prefer this term and how to deal with the issue.

          At the end of the day, give it a try and see how it works for you. If it’s too much of a pain, make and use more Memory Palaces. I find this approach to be the better one because it exercises more levels of your memory overall.

  4. Hi Anthony,

    Thanks for the article,

    I ‘ve been using this techique since 5 years it really works well, like I can still remember what I read 2 years back.
    I created more than 150 memory palaces with a sketch but now I’m running out of my familiar places
    I completed all the places I’m familiar with.
    I ended up using same place again and again which created a mess
    So I started visiting new places and then coming back to memorize stuff in that place but this is not efficient because I’m not fully familiar with the place
    What I’m I supposed to do?

    Please help me.

    1. Hi Sameepa,

      Thanks for your question.

      Yes, re-using Memory Palaces can create a mess. It’s possible to get better at doing so, but I’ve found that the benefits are usually very low. It works well for memorizing cards, but not really for knowledge based projects where you want long term memory of the material.

      In terms of finding new Memory Palaces, ongoing inventory exercises are useful. If you haven’t taken my free course, please start there. It walks you through an inventory exercise using a very powerful tool everyone knows.

      If you still can’t find ideas for developing a full Memory Palace Network (and then another and another), please consider visiting new cafes, museums, bookstores, etc.

      You can also explore options like movies and tv series and search this site for tutorials on that practice.

      At the end of the day, everyone can find more Memory Palace options. It’s just a matter of developing doing so as a habit and having an organizational structure for the task, ideally one that also helps generate the MP networks. That’s what the free course helps you do and you’re free to post more questions if you have them along the way.

      1. As Sameepa wrote, I’ve had limited exposure to different places that I am really familiar with. So I thought about it a lot, and came up with a way to expand on successfully using what I am familiar with. Typically when people memorize a place or object, they use one orientation or point of view (P.O.V.) My thought is that it may be usefule to create more than one P.O.V of a place or an object for reuse as a “memory palace” (what I refer to as a memory retention anchor or MRA.) For example, a house that I grew up in had several very distinctive windows, which you could see only some from a street view, others from a backyard view and so on. But I can use all because even the hidden ones I know are there. So my MRA for that object can labeled as from different P.O.V. allowing me to reuse the anchoring object. I’d be interested in whether anyone else has used this technique or something like it.

        1. Thanks, Dan.

          Yes, there’s something like this in my full program and in Bruno. But there’s also training on how to find endless Memory Palaces even if people have access to limited places.

          The best thing is to be able to combine both, so thank you for sharing your experiences and this concept.

  5. Hi Anthony, thank you for all your posts, they all really give great insights!
    I’ve been into mnemonics since 2011 when I was studying mentalism, I read a lot about mnemonics, I mean, a lot! I’ve finished having kind of great knowledge about this but I never really needed to use it for real-life purposes. I used it for memorizing a deck of cards, sometimes I used for memorizing stuff for some exam at school, but now I finally have some incentive, I want to use MP for memorizing foreign vocabulary and for math equation too… The tricky thing for me is, I speak 3 languages (Portuguese, Italian and almost there with English), I have two similar doubts with different contexts.

    So, language first; when I come up with an image for a vocabulary sometimes it is easier to relate with a Portuguese word, other times it is easier with am English word. For example, the French word for “cake”, it’s “gateau”, its pronunciation is almost the same as the word in Portuguese for “cat” which is “gato”. The French word for “rabbit” is “lapin”, and my mind rapidly visualized a rabbit lapping himself. Now, it’s ok to do that? To mix languages? Or it’s better to choose a definite “mind language” and always use that language? What about composed words? I mean, when you use more than one image for the same word, like “to find” in French is “retrouver”, the first things that came to my mind were the Italian word “retro” and the Portuguese word “ver”. When I think about the word I remember what I did, but I’m afraid that in the long term if I do not use the word for a long time, I could then make some confusion. What do you think about this?

    For number, like a 00-99 major method, for some number, it is not that easy to come up
    with an image, but since I’m Brazilian but I’ve lived in Switzerland for almost 10 years, so
    for many years school and essays were in Italian. My mother language is Portuguese, but
    Italian kind of also is my mother language. So, I was creating a number system but some of
    the words were in Italian, some in Portuguese, and some even in English. I still didn’t
    finish for all the numbers, but do you think this could confuse my mind? Or with
    practice, this would not matter?

    Anyway, thank you for all the youtube videos and articles, I really make good use of them.

    Kinds regards

    1. Thanks for this, Gabriel.

      You have a wonderful asset by speaking multiple languages. Use it freely. There are no “Memory Palace” police who govern these matters.

      Instead, let the results be final arbiter.

      Personally, I take every possible advantage of the other languages and snippets from languages I know. I might even draw upon a Conglang or sound poetry if it’s useful.

      As for confusion that might arise over the long term, that is only possible when you’re not using the Memory Palace technique correctly.

      You need to integrate:

      1. Proper Memory Palace creation

      2. Effective encoding with Magnetic Imagery (sounds like you’re doing great with that

      3. Recall Rehearsal that maximizes the power of the primacy effect, recency effect and serial-positioning effect

      Many people think the Memory Palaces they create are for permanent storage, but this is not what the technique helps establish. The technique is for setting up Recall Rehearsal so that we can move short term recall into long term memory.

      When it comes to the 00-99, “easy” is a state of mind, a mental judgment. Tying one’s shoes wasn’t easy in the beginning either. Some people just learn it. Others develop a mental attitude of frustration and make it take longer than necessary. I would start by eliminating anything that even remotely smacks of a judgment on the process.

      I know that can sound brutal. But here’s the important thing: We know that others use it and very successfully. What does our opinions of how “hard” or “easy” it is matter when it’s just a fact that it can be learned? It only matters if our mental attitude helps or hinders us. Only focus on the mental attitudes that help.

      In terms of the 00-99 confusing you in your mind, that sounds like you’re worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet. Why even build such a possible, imaginary future?

      I suggest you simply focus on mastering the skill with no regard for the future. You can’t control the future anyway, but you can prepare for it. Confusion might well be part of it, and it wouldn’t be much of a life if it weren’t.

      But when you practice the great memory tradition without judgments or deciding what counts as confusion in advance, you can just settle back and enjoy the process.

      So many people want to “optimize” every part of it in advance and avoid mistakes. Trying to do so is the ultimate mistake because it is not possible. We can only optimize it by encountering mistakes as we go. There is no refinement in advance and the desire to avoid confusion is understandable, but false. We will all encounter it even if we’re not using memory techniques.

      Embrace it!

  6. Hi Anthony,

    I am still confused. Do I pick a station then build a mind map to what I want to learn because if you use every station your run out of stations to use. Surely each word does not get put on a station. I would run out of stations and would need hundreds of them.

    1. Thanks for your question.

      I’m not sure why you are bringing the mind map technique into this discussion. You can combine mind mapping with the Memory Palace technique, but I would not do this for a goal like memorizing verbatim information.

      Every serious practitioner of this technique does eventually have and use hundreds of stations and this is not an issue when you know the skills.

      However, the longer you think about it before just diving in and starting to memorize, the more your brain plays a “numbers game” with a future that hasn’t arrived yet.

      The reality is that you will never run out of stations, nor will you run out of Memory Palaces. This will happen because you will learn a few different ways to reuse them.

      You will also learn a number of ways to maximize the space within them as you practice.

      And you will continue to develop new strategies to expand your technique. I can do 11-17 words per station, which leads to massive progress when dealing with large texts very quickly.

      Hope this helps and please read How To Stop Overthinking The Memory Palace Technique. I think it will do you wonders.

      Put the numbers game aside and dive in. Expect to learn it as you go and spend some time really seeping into the practice. The ancients did it and so can all of us. It’s fun and easy.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Simona.

      Yes, you can use a Memory Palace for remembering concepts and formulas in physics.

      To do so, you’ll want to develop a few more tools:

      * A Major System
      * A system for memorizing symbols used in equations
      * An alphabet list or pegword system, perhaps more than one

  7. Hi Dr. Metivier!

    I have a question about memory palaces and obtaining degrees.

    I’ve already noticed how fast information goes into a memory palace. Even though there is a Recall Retention Rehearsal period afterwards, it seems to me that given a large enough network of memory palaces, and enough time and energy afterwards to review it all properly, obtaining a degree should not take 4, 8, or 12 years at all. It could probably be cut in half or in thirds at least.

    But since you’ve already obtained a PhD, I’m wondering your thoughts. I ask because with my work schedule, I simply can’t attend college right now, but I still want to get educated (I just don’t know what I’ll use the information for). My goal is to pick up a book, read through it once and understand all the knowledge in it (especially such textbooks as anatomy/medical/pharmacological books and science/engineering) books.
    I have no idea how many stations I’ll need though. So planning a memory palace with such a large goal is difficult to judge.

    I’m curious what your thoughts are?

    Best wishes,

    Galen Graziano

    1. Thanks for this post, Galen. It’s a great topic.

      I think it’s important to approach this from the perspective of your goals.

      If you want to master these topics for personal reasons, you are good to go. No one can answer “how many stations” you’ll need because the journey will unlock things that are currently unknown to you. So the real goal is simply to be able to learn those things on demand – and when it comes to using the Memory Palace technique, you will always have options when you know and practice this method. It too always unlocks more possible locations and tools.

      But if there are reasons you are studying these topics where you will be required to have completed a formal degree, no speed of learning will magically manifest the required slips of paper.

      Where are these interests you’ve mentioned taking you and to what extent will formal education be required?

      If none, then the exact number of Memory Palaces in your Memory Palace Networks is not knowable and one would do well to just get started, ideally with all 26 of the recommended first network.

  8. Hi Anthony,

    I appreciate you sharing this knowledge with all of us. So I sometimes wonder if that knowledge is being put to good use with my own version of the magnetic memory palace. I understand that everyone is each to their own. However, I wish to see if this would result in failure or success since you are the memory expert after all. ( Some of these questions may seem rather brainless, but I am extremely cautious of everything before I start. )

    Firstly, when I assign a part of a word its meaning; does that mean I have to make another meaning the next time I encounter that part of the word? Or does it just stay? For example, there is the word *hanshi*. With that being said, I created my own alphabet. Moreover, : han: would mean : freeze:, and * shi * would mean death. Out of these two words I would then create a story. So, for the next time I encounter : shi : do I have to associate a different meaning with it or can it always mean : death :.?

    The reason I am so worried about something that might be so obvious is that I am afraid of not providing enough variation in my stories. Thus, resulting in stories that have many similar elements to them. But at the same time, I am afraid of running away from an organized alphabet system that would have the possibility of leading into chaos.

    Secondly, would it be alright if one reused objects? One station might be a couch, but in a different part of the memory palace I might want to re-use that couch again.

    Next, is it acceptable to use video games/ cartoons in one:s memory palace. Or is it recommended to use stuff closer to reality? If they are both fine, which one is better?
    Also, for example there is the word morashi. Would it be better if I combined ra and shi or should I make an entirely new association- with rashi meaning : rash :.?

    Lastly, should I really try to associate with taste and touch. I can see the potential for making objects larger than life, vibrant, and using sounds/music, but I can:t see how taste and touch would work. Maybe it does, and I simply just have to go for it? Like, simply get better at memorizing the smells and touch? Would it do me good if I just relied on vision and sound, rather than touch and taste if I prefer to do so? Moreover, are the emotions, touch, taste, smell, etc, used to make vocabulary easier to remember or to also help with differentiation? As in, these vocab are sad, but those are happy. These are salty, but those are sweet.

    P.S, could you explain the applications of the primacy effect, recency effect, and the serial positioning effect? As far as I know, they mean that Humans can recall information in the beginning and the last of a list easier than the middle? Does this mean, I just have to study the middle part of my memory palace more?

    Antony Onopko

    1. Thanks for these great questions, Antony.

      Let’s go through everything in reverse order:

      The Memory Palace technique already gives you Primacy, Recency and Serial Positioning Effect when you use the Magnetic Memory Method Recall Rehearsal patterns. This is because the technique ensures that each piece of information receives “equal doses” of what is called in memory science “active recall” or “decoding.”

      Without implementing these patterns, the forgetting curve is going to have a much easier time eroding many memories we establish, especially in areas like language learning.

      So the point here is not to focus on the general fact that we recall beginnings and endings easier than middles. It is to use the serial positioning effect in a way that renders the point moot because we are making everything “Magnetic.” Some space repetition softwares do an okay job of this kind of patterning, however, they are weak in many ways because they rarely help people engage in elaborative encoding or proper active recall based on elaborative encoding.

      Yes, taste, touch, smell, concepts – all of these Magnetic Modes will help a great deal because they create more connections – literally neuronal connections in the chemical bath of the brain.

      It’s easy to apply all the Magnetic Modes to any word, but it can take a bit of practice if you’re not used to doing it. We use the simple KAVE COGS formula to make sure that we do.

      Your examples look fine, and there are opportunities to reuse images. I wouldn’t necessarily do it in the manner that you’re suggesting, but a lot depends on the correct use of Recall Rehearsal during review. You can get away with quite a few things if you perform it diligently enough.

      But as a best practice, it’s important to arrange the information in ways that reduce cognitive load, and wherever possible use what we call Bridging Figures. They are not always possible to deploy, but they can be especially powerful with Asian languages.

      The desire to “reuse” Memory Palaces or Memory Palace elements is normal, but exposes something of a misunderstanding of what this technique is and what its power can be. Yes, they can be reused, but it’s so far from necessary, creates issues that can be avoided, and doesn’t develop your spatial memory abilities nearly as much as working with new Memory Palaces. I personally save reuse for raw practice, such as with random vocab, numbers or playing cards.

      Some people like to use games or other virtual Memory Palace sources. I personally do not, so recommend seeking out advice from those who do.

      I actually think at some level the topic is irrelevant because all space appears in the mind. It’s a question of how durable and useful the space being referred to is for the individual and some training will be required. My bias against using games is that I simply do not want to spend any more time on fantasy and technologically derived locations than necessary.

      But if were to, those “locations” are still appearing in the same consciousness as any other space, which suggests that all space is inherently “virtual.” This is partly a philosophical issue, so you may want to look into the problems of soft and hard solipsism for more insight on this aspect and how it impacts memory improvement efforts.

      As for variation and “stories,” you do not need to create stories, which sounds like a lot of hard work. If you’re working alphabetically, at most you will have vignettes, but even that is usually more than is needed. If you really devote yourself to this practice, variation will be inevitable because you’re drawing upon the source of all representation each and every time. Variation is guaranteed and you can substantially reduce the needed amount of elements, especially when you lock in all of the Magnetic Modes.

      Finally, there is no failure in memory training except in one regard: The failure to treat all of this as an experiment and to learn from the data running the experiments produces for the individual practitioner. If anyone fails at this, it is by their definition and by their choice.

      Does this set of responses help you out?

  9. Hi Anthony,

    I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. I now have a much better understanding of this technique and all of my questions have been answered.

  10. Hi all, hope I am in the right place! Just started Anthony’s “Magnetic Square Minicourse”, and I am following instructions for Lesson 1. I have exchanged a few mails with Anthony and he comes across as a super nice person, so when I got an offer for the MSMc, I couldn’t say no!

    I am curious to learn more about his MS method, and as 4 words to memorise I have decided to pick the last tube stops before my office, so I remember when to start to get ready for getting off, without having to rely on an app! Just for the records, my stop is Blackfriars, and the 4 before that one are:

    1) St.James’s Park
    2) Westminster
    3) Embankment
    4) Temple

    Until tomorrow,


    1. Great that you’re here, Andrea, and thanks for participating in this part of the course.

      Your goal of not having to rely on an app is a great one – well done!

      In fact, this is exactly the kind of goal that leads to so much improvement in life. Not only does it create more spatial awareness, but you’re establishing the foundation for later using each of those stations as a more complete Memory Palace.

      I look forward to your next post and thanks again for participating!

      1. Thanks so much, Anthony! I will post my next lesson here, so I avoid cluttering your blog with too many entries!

        [MS 2 of 8]

        Done mini lesson 2:

        I have picked up a notebook, selected a room (my bedroom, probably the room I know best 🙂 ) and drew it as a box, with labelled corners – I have also congratulated myself for doing this: I felt a little silly for doing this, but I always trust the teacher, whenever I learn something new!

        I am very bad at drawing, but at least I can manage a box!

        Until tomorrow,


          1. Thanks again, Anthony!

            [MS 3 of 8]

            Done mini lesson 3: I’ve done as Anthony suggested, trying different ways to “visualise” the corners, and the one that worked best for me is just imagining to be at the door, and looking at the corners simply by turning my “imaginary head”, pointing at the various corners.

            I’ve really enjoyed this exercise, because it kept things very simple: when approached in its entirety, the Memory Palace technique seems daunting to me (how to “visualise” clearly? what about the furniture? how can I possibly do this for 10s or 100s of places?), but when broken down to a well known room and 4 simple corners, it is very easy to manage, and it almost has a meditative/relaxing quality to it.

            I do appreciate that through this I will only be able to memorise 4 items, but as for many things in life, I assume first you need to master the basics, then you worry about the rest!

            Until tomorrow,


          2. You’re doing great, Andrea!

            Yes, keeping it simple is the key – before you know it, you will have the choice to continue keeping it simple, or move on to more complex and granular Memory Palaces.

            Also, it’s not only four items, that’s just the beginning. You can later double and quadruple Magnetic Squares, or add furniture from the room, etc.

            But the purpose of this course is indeed to keep it simple.

            After all, if you can’t memorize four things reliably, how will it ever be possible to build up to thousands?

            Everyone can get there, so thanks for being part of the mission to take it one step at a time so the foundations can be built. Inspiring!

  11. For Day 1, There are 4 categories of info (membership numbers, credit card numbers, account and passwords, phone numbers) that I would like to remember. For the exercise, do you recommend that I choose 4 categories ( many numbers in the 4 categories ) or 1 category with 4 numbers.

    For Day 2, draw the square and name the 4 corners.. 🙂 , and hope the magic will happen soon!

    1. This is great – thanks for stopping by to share your progress.

      For this beginning exercise, if you’re going to choose numbers, I would suggest shorter digits, or maybe just one credit card or phone number rather than four.

      For numbers, you’ll also want to add on the Major System.

      But we need to get comfortable with navigating the Magnetic Square first, so I look forward to your coming progress updates as you continue through the course. 🙂

  12. Sorry for starting a new thread, but the tool doesn’t let me do any more replies (I guess we reached the limit of nested posts!)

    [MS 4 of 8]

    Afraid I am a bit confused by this lesson, to be honest.

    I get to the point that says: “The next step is to take the 4 things you want to memorize and bring them together with the Magnetic Stations”; after this there is a section on how to select those words, which is interesting, but I already have them (I have the ones I have identified in Lesson 1, as that was the ask). I don’t understand if I have to do the associations now, or if it’s something that will come in the next lesson.

    Any help, thanks in advance!

    1. No problem with starting a new thread. That is probably for the best on a module-by-module basis, even though I didn’t know the software had this limitation.

      (Note – I used to use a forum for previous cohorts of this course, but I wanted to see if this way would work better.)

      About this lesson, we are just prepping for the “weaving” phase.

      As a preview, the basic process is experienced by everyone differently.

      For example, I recently memorized some new Sanskrit. The word was “tesham.”

      At the appropriate spot in the Magnetic Square I’d identified, I “placed” Nikola Tesla driving a Tesla car over a Christmas Ham.

      Now, “weaving” it into that specific corner of the Magnetic Square is just one of many ways you can think of it. But at the end of the day, the words we use for the process matter less than the practitioner figuring out how to do it.

      And by trying to figure out how to do it is usually how it winds up “clicking” for people.

      Does this way of looking at things help you out at this point in the course?

      1. Thanks Anthony, that clarified it and it helps a lot!

        [MS 5 of 8]

        I loved this lesson! As per assignment, below are some celebrities I came up with for the first 5 letters of the alphabet (some names may be misspelled!):

        A: Albert Einstein, Adolf Hitler, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Audrey Hepburn, Abraham Lincoln
        B: Bill Gates, Boris Johnson, Barack Obama, Bruce Lee, Bob Dylan, Benito Mussolini
        C: Charles Prince of Whales, Charlie Chaplin, Che Guevara, Cameron Diaz, Christopher Columbus
        D: Donald Trump, Dwayne Johnson, David Bowie, Dick Van Dyke, David Attenborough
        E: Elon Musk, Ernest Hemingway, Elizabeth II, Elton John, Elvis Presley, Emma Watson, Emilia Clarke, Ed Sheeran, Eddie Murphy

        For the KAVE COGS, I’ve done it with my favourite actress (Lily James) from my favourite movie (Mamma Mia Here We Go Again – I’ve watched it 18 times, so I remember it quite well, despite my bad memory!)

        K = Kinaesthetic: I visualise Lily stroking a frightened horse during a storm to calm him down, and I feel the touch of the horse’s mane against the hand
        A = Auditory: I imagine Lily singing “Andante, Andante”, my favourite song in the movie
        V = Visual: I visualise the final song from the movie, with Lily and the rest of the cast singing all together with beautiful choreography and costumes
        E = Emotional: I visualise the scene where Lily is giving birth
        C = Cognitive: I’ll skip this one, because I didn’t really get it, from the example
        O = Olfactory: I visualise the scene when Lily is running into a field in the early morning, to gather oranges for making a juice, and I imagine the smell of the grass at that time of day
        G = Gustatory: I imagine the taste of the freshly squeezed oranges
        S = Spatial: I visualise all these scenes unfolding in my first corner

        Until tomorrow,


        1. Thanks for this incredibly rich array of multi-sensory exercising. You’re doing great!

          Soon, you’ll be connecting these associations to what you want to learn. That is the great secret of the Memory Palace.

          After that, it’s just rinse and repeat – though ideally we want to have multiple Memory Palaces to really grow with the technique.

          Always, just take it one Magnetic Square at a time. 🙂

          1. [MS 6/8]

            Hi Anthony, another very good lesson, thanks for that – I have a few questions on this one, any help/guidance much appreciated in advance!

            1) Once you link a celebrity to an object (like Catherine Zeta-Jones to the Zebra), is that celebrity “burnt” (i.e. linked for life to the Zebra), or can they be reused?

            2) While I get how to link the celebrity to the object, I struggle a bit with understanding how to link the celebrity to the Magnetic Square corner, as they are all “nondescript” – how do you do that?

            3) Another point I’m missing is why we need to link the celebrity to the corner, and then the object to the celebrity: can’t we just link the object to the corner directly? I appreciate the celebrity went through the KAVE COGS process, but in theory we can do that directly with the object, and “save” a step, no?

            4) Finally, for the last part of the exercise (using one celebrity for every letter of the alphabet, have them interact with one object that corresponds to a letter of the alphabet) – should they be linked to their own letter? So for example, for Albert Einstein, should I use an Apple (word coming to mind which starts with A, like Albert), or something related to Einstein (like Hair or Blackboard)?

            Thanks in advance,


          2. Great questions, Andrea!

            Magnetic Imagery can certainly be reused. What we want to avoid is duplication errors, or what is sometimes called “ghosting” or the Ugly Sister Effect. If you are using appropriately distinguished Magnetic Squares, this should rarely be an issue.

            Magnetic Squares should not be vague in any way. As in the course, they are based on rooms that you know. The drawing should be a simple representation of a room you are familiar with. I’ll look back through the material and see if that point needs to be amplified.

            Where you’re trying to get is that you can walk into any room and instantly transform it into a Magnetic Square. Later, you can learn many more ways to transformation rooms into much more robust tools than the MS, but we need to start with the fundamentals.

            You can link anything you wish directly, though the important thing to understand here is that this is “imaginary.” Is there really any “linking” going on? If so, then work with it. I don’t link things at all. I just interact them with reference to space. What you do is totally up to you, and what you call it is also up to you. But where we want to get is to see that what we’re doing is actually beyond name and form. It is memory itself, and the name for memory is itself in itself.

            I know that sounds like a philosophical detour, but it is in fact the greatest memory secret of them all. There is no “linking” as such because that very notion is in memory, and what you are actually doing is something quite different. The point being: Experiment. Make it your own. But don’t get caught up too much in the wording of it or the idea that it has to be some exact process every time. It can’t be because it’s more like a stage play than a movie. There will be variations from corner to corner, wall to wall, figure to figure, etc.

            You could link Albert Einstein to his own letter if you wish. That is a cool idea to play with at a foundational level.

            Later in the game, however, I would not necessarily recommend this for two reasons:

            1) We’ve just discussed how that information is not what it seems. “Linking” is the illusion we want to eventually transcend.

            2) You can use double alphabets and double representations. These are more advanced techniques discussed in other trainings. For now, the long and short of it is that you should experiment, but avoid becoming locked into A = A to strictly because Einstein could also be “AL” and “EIN” and many other configurations.

            Does this way of looking at things help you out? 🙂

  13. Thanks so much Anthony, really helpful context and additional information!

    I have done [MS 7/8], and very happy with that: of course the fact I have only have 4 pieces of information stored made it very easy, but the mechanism is very clear, and I see how it can be applied to any number of MS. I have also been playing a bit with Anki, for spaced repetition, and I think that could work very well with the repetition method you are suggesting.

    Thanks again for all your feedback, which is really appreciated.

    Until tomorrow,


    1. Thanks for this, Andrea.

      Yes, once you have the idea in place, you can apply it to Anki and link Memory Palaces to any number of spaced repetition softwares.

      The science shows that as long as everything is highly personalized, the learning process and long term retention will be much higher than repetition alone.

      Looking forward to your concluding remarks on the course and beyond!

    2. Hello, i know i’m late for this but i’ve been kind of stuck at a question in MS 6/8.

      In the lesson, we used celebrities to learn some words by making them interact with the words.

      My question is that if we were to make them interact directly with the words then why did we ran through all the modes in the previous lesson beforehand. We could have directly linked any mode of the celebrity with the word as we encounter them. Or was it that in this lesson’s example we used a pre-ran mode.

      For example, in the Case of Xylophone, Professor X was playing it. It was kinaesthetic mode right, what if when i pre-ran Professor X as in previous lesson, I use another kinaesthetic, I’m confused.
      We have to come up with an image in context of the word, right? So why did we ran through all the modes?

      Thanks in advance.

      1. Great that you’re here, Achal.

        It’s possible to approach this in many different ways. I chose the one that seemed most immersive, but obviously it won’t be that way for everyone.

        I’m not sure what you’re confused about precisely, but if you take Professor X playing a Xylophone, knowledge of the modes beforehand should help you go through all of them. But if you aren’t aware of the Magnetic Modes before hand, we have to stop the example and go back and learn them all.

        Does this way of looking at things make sense?

  14. [MS 8 of 8]

    Reached the end of this short, but very interesting, journey. I have started to apply the principles that Anthony has explained in different areas, such as remembering all the tube stops from home to office (rather than only the last 4), remembering a shopping list, remembering the names of all the main cities I am travelling through in a Virtual Walking Challenge I am doing with a friend (Route 66 on foot), and many others.

    Another nice variant I’ve introduced is using a place I have to go as the actual “magnetic square”, to remember what to bring with me (say for example the gym or the swimming pool): I love this, because the room is coming “for free” (it’s the place I am actually going to), and I don’t have any problem with “ghost memories” or reusing, because the list of things I want to remember is specific to that place, and therefore, to that Magnetic Square.

    I must say I’m enjoying the process a lot, as it makes remembering things a pleasant memory exercise, rather than a daunting challenge. May be one day I will do Anthony’s full MMM course, to see how this can scale up and be extended, but for now I am very grateful for all he has created and shared with us.

    Wishing you all great success and lots of fun in the process!

    One comment for Anthony: I noticed that the site you are using is not sending notifications when a new reply to a thread you have contributed to is posted, even if you add your email address when posting; this is a bit of a bummer, because unless someone goes there continually to check, they may miss out on replies. Just wanted to let you know, in case nobody reported it yet.


    1. Thanks so much for your thoughts on the course and for sharing this application, Andrea. Remembering things to bring is yet another possible application. Wonderful!

      It’s great that you don’t have issues with ghosting. It would be lovely if that was the case for all of us. If you encounter it with higher volumes of information, there will be options for you though.

      In terms of the notifications issue, that is not ideal. I’ll look into it.

      These days, there are so many problems with corporations deciding through algos which emails reach whom, so it might be an issue beyond my control. But I’ll see if there’s an issue with this aspect of the site, and if so, hopefully can resolve it.

      Thanks again for being part of the course and talk soon! 🙂

  15. Afternoon Sir. As you know, I’m taking a break from the Harry Kahne stuff to get the memory palace and card stuff down.

    Anyway, regarding the memory palace, I am starting MY work by memorizing stories from the Aesops fables book.

    The story i am starting with is “the frogs asking for a king”

    Must I draw the exaggerated images in the memory palace?

    I’ll send you an email showing the drawing i did, for the first line i drew 3 sad looking frogs cutting grass with a grass cutter ( the frogs grieved(grrrr), and then I drew a long ruler with the word established on it inside a no entry sign (having no established ruler).

    For the line “they sent an ambassador to Jupiter to entreat the king”, I drew the rapper Ambassador treating a character named king from beyblade (the ointments name was N treat(entreat), and Ambassadors hat was made to look kind of like Jupiter and its ring).

    I don’t know, for each line to be remembered word for word its a lot of pictures to draw, and this is one of the shorter stories in the book.

    How much drawing is involved?

      1. Ok Thank YOU for your response. First of all, I’m not sure if this is right or anything, as you yourself made a video on the method of loci on its own….. But I don’t know man, I know the name is not important, but I love method of loci as a name. It’s stuff of legend.

        Anyway, regarding my first memory palace, I’d give my first experience 5/10.

        “GOOD PARTS”

        -exercise 3 naturally came to me when coming up with images. I was naturally “out of my own way”, as the character king from beyblade just sprung up in my head (same with Jupiter from sailor Moon).

        “BAD PARTS”

        -I only remember each sentence in my own words (not word for word sadly). I’m not sure if this is good or not, as this was one of the shorter stories in Aesops fables.

        “INTERESTING PARTS (I guess)”

        -I was able to use some harry kahne influence and pick any order at random and remember the sentence (eg out of my 9 stations I’d remember it as 192837465…. and other orders).

        But I don’t know man, I’m glad that imagery can only be mental! I will try one of my old psychology text books today.

        Will then let you know.

          1. Yeah, but must it specifically be remembered word for word?

            I did it again yesterday and remembered each sentence from an old psychology book…… But it was in my own words.

            Anyway, will try meditating with the method of loci today.

          2. The answer depends on the goal.

            For my TEDx Talk, I wanted to memorize it word for word.

            My images were not necessarily word-by-word. Sometimes I had 3 images for up to 17 words.

            But everything comes down to what the words are and the nature of your goal.

            The MMM is all about flexibility and getting the goal accomplished relative to your current level of skill.

            More skill = more options.

  16. Ok Thank you for the response.

    Firstly sorry for the late response, now that I have comments on three of your pages (cards, loci and kahne)…. I forget! (Yeah, shouldn’t be forgetting!).

    Anyway, regarding my goal, I judge memory relative to my high school/university standards….. in that lets say there’s a paragraph style exam worth say 10 marks, and the overall exam is worth 70 marks total….. Yeah I’d forget stuff from my textbook, but even if I try writing stuff up as articulate as possible…… it wasn’t in the book, so I’d thus get it wrong. And I’d fail a few exams, and mostly I’d get like 60s.

    So yeah,as of now, even days later I still remember my three memory palaces ….. so I think I’m good (though I’ll still try getting word for word).

    Anyway, I’ll comment on the cards page soon…… got some good results out of that.

  17. Can you use your fingers (Palm facing you) as memory palaces?

    When looking at your fingers, there are lines. This amounts to 14 blocks (2 on both your thumbs, three on the rest).

    Can these be used as palaces?

  18. Hello Dr. Metivier,

    I am here as a participant in the Magnetic Square correspondence course. Because I have recently begun learning the Ukrainian language, I will choose the words for the four seasons of the year to memorize first. Ukrainian is very unrelated to English, so working on my memorization abilities will be crucial for this journey.

    Thank you for the opportunity to dip my toes into this method!

    1. This is wonderful, Alexander!

      I learned a bit of Ukrainian myself recently. I don’t know if you saw the video about that on YouTube, but I shared my very first session with a Ukrainian tutor. She’s fantastic if you’re looking for someone.

      The great thing about all languages is that no matter how unrelated they may be in terms of grammar and certain sounds, there is almost always some kind of mnemonic hook we can use in our Memory Palace Networks.

      The trick is practice with the techniques. Even the rustiest minds can get moving smoothly once the key methods or in motion.

      Enjoy and I look forward to your progress updates. Thanks for being involved!

      1. Here I am again, having completed my first step in the memory journal. (Though it still needs a cover)

        I believe your video with Kateryna was how you got into my YouTube algorithm, because it popped up while I was researching Ukrainian language resources. I’ve been following her updates and hopefully I will end up taking some lessons with her too.

        1. This is great, Alexander!

          Wonderful that you’re learning Ukrainian and perhaps a flag on the cover would be in order, at least for this particular journal.

          I’ve seen many different kinds of covers, though, and what matters above all is that you find it inspiring and useful.

          Enjoy this journey and talk soon!

          1. I’ve done some mental traveling of my square’s corners, and will continue to do so in and out of order throughout my day tomorrow until I receive the next step.

            My ability to mentally visualize has always been exceedingly vivid, so when I think about the square in reference to the room it represents, I can’t help but fill in all kinds of remembered details. I’m not sure if this will help or hinder the process in the long run.

            I’m excited to finally be putting these techniques into practice. I’ve always had a “good” memory, but I’m seeking to use my memory efficiently and with purpose.

          2. Thanks for this, Alexander.

            As we learn, I think it’s fair to expect things to occur that both hinder and help. The trick is to be open to both and then experiment with weeding out the obstacles while strengthening the advantages.

            One thing I’ve learned too is that something that seems like (or even decidedly is) an obstacle on Tuesday, might play out differently on Thursday. This is why it is useful to retry various things that didn’t “work” or seemed to create distortions a few more times. I’m not suggesting that we “force” them to work, but teasing them a bit can be the key.

            Another reason this is important, is that some things are “knacky.” They need fiddling in order to finally slide into place.

            In the Read with Momentum live cohort course, I showed the attendees my pinky-counting with cards, which these days looks pretty good. There’s a YouTube video where I show it too. Rest assured, it took me not just a few tries to finally get the knack for this particular skill, but years. I could always do it poorly from the get-go, but I’m glad I kept at it so that it finally clicked and I learned to do it invisibly while talking.

            Although I’ve never seen anything in memory training take that long, there certainly are a few things that some people abandon too soon. The breakthrough is often closer than you think. And nothing is more fun in my experience than memorizing all the names in a room with a smattering of small talk details about people as you are listening and talking at the same time. It’s really just a knack and knowing how to set that room up as a Magnetic Square from the instant you enter it.

            Looking forward to your next post!

  19. What is the purpose of changing the sequence of the journey and expanding the interior of a memory palace?

    1. I generally do not advise changing Memory Palaces in these ways. It’s generally best to set them up in the most optimal way from the get-go to avoid having to do such things later on.

  20. Hey there! Excited to learn this technique of memory. I’ve heard of the memory palace about 7 years ago but Never have I tried to actually learn it until Today. I will try to remember 4 words in hebrew as that is the language I am studying and the recent push and interests to embark on this memory journey. Wish all the best.

      1. Just starting lesson 1 of the magnetic square lessons. I’ve already got a couple of memory palaces based on properties I know, but they’re really not optimised. I’m looking forward to memorising more rich information with less loci. My 4 items to memorise are the big bosses at work.

  21. Hello, I’m doing the Magnetic Square course. I’m interested in learning more biblical Hebrew and how I would be able to use the Square method. For the 4 words, I could take the four directions of the compass in Hebrew to test it out. Other than that, I’m also interested in memorising scriptures and I’m exploring how to simplify the process so that it can be used by children. I have already made great progress, but maybe there are better methods. I look forward to learn more.

    1. Welcome, Johannes. Mario also mentioned that he’s learning Hebrew, and since I studied it myself back in university, we’re all in good company.

      Memorizing scriptures is by far one of the most high margin activities available to us when we have memory techniques on our side. I in fact was just out memorizing a few lines while waiting for my wife outside a store.

      And of course, I used a Magnetic Square to do it.

      Enjoy and I look forward to your progress updates along the way!

  22. Just checking in on day four of the Magnetic Square course. I don’t want to share my whole list of wants/needs re: what to memorize, but I thought I would share a little about my goal of learning Ukrainian. It began as a move of solidarity, and as I started my studies I fell in love with the music of the language and culture it comes from. So in this way learning the language is a “want.”

    But I also have a goal of volunteering there after the war to help in some way, so this pursuit gives me a lot of purpose in learning the language. So I would say it has become a “need” as well.

    One thing you’ve said that’s really stuck with me is that we can’t leave information we want to memorize floating in space without anything connecting to it. That was oftentimes my experience as I was learning French vocabulary years ago. The idea of having a way to navigate to information reliably makes a lot of sense to me.

    1. Thanks so for this, Alexander. Bringing our want and need together is a powerful outcome whenever possible.

      Yes, mnemonics can work without a spatial reference. But it’s not nearly as refined or reliable. Enjoy how it enables much faster progress and cool tricks like being able to add entire phrases to the original word in the Memory Palace Networks you’ll eventually command.

  23. Hey Anthony, I hope you are well.

    I’m on lesson 2 of the Magnetic Square course. You mention labeling each corner. I wasn’t sure if you meant each of the 8 corners including ceiling and floor or simply the 4 corners at the intersection of each wall. I’m guessing it’s 4 seeing as we’re talking squares not cubes.

    Thanks again, Phil

    1. Thanks, Phil.

      You can do either, but for the purposes of this course, we want to make sure we can memorize 4 in order to make 40 and 400 possible.

      To that end, there’s an element of “Know Thyself” each of us has to bring. Once the fundamentals are covered, it’s possible to explore stations at an inch by inch level for memorizing certain things. This is how some of the record holders deal with pi, for example.

      Does this way of looking at things make sense?

      1. Absolutely, I get it. I’m reading Memory Craft by Lynn Kelly and I love the way she’s mapped out her neighborhood with historical dates, while also managing to insert more dates and facts, or more detail as she wants. Great stuff :o)

  24. Absolutely, I get it. I’m reading Memory Craft by Lynn Kelly and I love the way she’s mapped out her neighborhood with historical dates, while also managing to insert more dates and facts, or more detail as she wants. Great stuff :o)

    1. Yes, Memory Craft is great.

      Reading it finally got me exploring more outdoor Memory Palaces, which I previously never liked.

      The Memory Palace for my TEDx Talk is almost 100% outdoors.

  25. I imagined a magnetic square (my bedroom) and I imagined Lee priest (a retired bodybuilder) in different stations, station 1 was him doing dumbbell bicep curls against the wall (Kinesthetic) station 2 was him supinated wrist curls and saying: “next time someone asks me how does it feel to compete against those big guys use the word tall a big guy with the same measurements as a small guy is the smaller man, is pathetic!!” (auditory because of the talking also Lee priest was a short bodybuilder) station 3 Lee Priest in a poster posing after getting a tattoo on his face (Visual since is just an Image) in the last station I imagined him defeating Ronnie Coleman in a competition (Emotional, Ronnie Coleman admitted that that was his most painful defeat because Lee was the smaller guy and he was the big guy).
    The method of traveling the square was teleporting like in different Crash bandicoot games, from station 1 to 2 Lee teleports like In crash 1 transforming into a yellow light and you hear a woosh sound, arrives and leaves into the second station by beign materialized by a bunch of falling energy rings (kinda) third station enters and leave by exiting and entering a sphere portal and in the fourth station it looks like a camera is recording him from one angle to the other (kinda like in crash team racing since there is no crash bandicoot 4 for PS1 and I wanted to use the methods of teleportation form the crash bandicoot games that I have Played, using crash 1,2,3 for the stations 1,2,3 is super easy to remember and crash team racing for the fourth since it cam after the PS1 trilogy)

    1. This is excellent, Rafael!

      You’ve got a great sense of how to identify powerful associations and place them in space with multi-sensory associations. Wonderful specificity too!

  26. So thankful for you support and guidance. With this method, I think i can start remembering the hebrew language more efficiently. Although, what is your take on objects in the room; for example a chair, bed, a light fixture, etc.? How many objects can we have in one room as well?

    1. My pleasure, Mario!

      You can definitely use tables, chairs, beds, etc. In fact, you can often have more than one Magnetic Station on them.

      However, the rule of thumb is that it should be remembered furniture, not memorized furniture.

      The more you have to manage, the less of a Memory Palace it becomes and we always want to use Memory Palaces, not “Memorized Palaces.”

      In terms of how many stations you can have, that’s up to you, but I would focus on outcomes, not volume. Memorizing 8 words at a regular clip is going to work out a lot better over the long run than being irregular due to having to manage irregular Memory Palaces that have to be memorized.

      The benefit of having fewer stations is that you can then add phrases to each individual word with much greater ease. But that’s harder to do with a lightbulb.

      In all things, the important thing it to experiment widely with different approaches so you can develop your own “mnemonic style”.

  27. Could I duplicate every Magnetic Square that I create if
    add in the walls several landscapes there? Like a big picture?

    1. Great questions, Miguel.

      Yes, there are many things you can do like this. For example, you can take a famous painting that has many stations in it and stick it on the wall of a Memory Palace.

      You can even have paintings within paintings.

      The trick is to make sure you aren’t overwhelming yourself or giving yourself journeys to memorize. That would make it a “Memorized Palace.” Fun, if you like that kind of thing, but ultimately more work to create and maintain.

  28. Hey Anthony,
    I have been watching some of your videos and I have been wondering what is more effective: a memory palace or a mind map? I know they both use loci learning and visualization. The main difference I found between them is that with the mind map, you can make connections between ideas whereas in the memory palace you cannot. I would love to get your thoughts and opinion on this.

    1. Thanks, Joshua.

      Ultimately, I feel that it’s best to combine them in a variety of ways and not focus too much on comparing them.

      It is possible to use a mind map as a Memory Palace, but as you may have seen in one of my videos, the mind map is very limited for such purposes.

      So if the traditional Memory Palace technique has an advantage, it is scale.

      And I’ve seen many ideas connect in Memory Palaces very easily, as well as spontaneous “a-ha!” moments that are very rewarding. That can happen with mind mapping too, but I’ve personally experienced it less often.

      In sum, I normally use mind maps for generating and organizing ideas and the Memory Palace technique for memorization and understanding.

  29. Good evening/morning sir,

    I have a couple of questions to ask,
    First, what is a sub-journey?
    Second, why is avoiding crossing your own path important?
    Finally, how can I differentiate and use 9 chairs that look the same?

    1. Thanks for your question.

      If a main Memory Palace journey involves the micro and the macro stations, a sub journey would be something where you add a small Memory Palace to a larger one. For example, I sometimes place a small 3-station Pencil Memory Palace inside the pocket of a Bridging Figure as a sub-journey.

      Path-crossing creates confusion and aspects of the journey you have to remember. This skill, art and craft is about the Memory Palace, not the Memorized Palace technique.

      Space itself usually differentiates chairs. Chair A cannot be in the same place as Chair B even if they are stacked. If you need different levels of differentiation than spatial orientation on its own, you can use associations to distinguish. This can be done either through using an Alphabet Mnemonics System (a.ka. pegword method) or something like a 00-99 PAO.

      I sometimes do these things and one is not better than the other. Generally, though, I would say that the 00-99 PAO has a touch more power.

      At the end of the day, they are all worth learning to use.

        1. A micro station is an individual element in a room or part of a Memory Palace: like a corner, wall, chair, bed, or even an individual book in a bookcase.

          A macro station is the room as a whole. You would typically place only one piece of information in the room, rather than designating multiple pieces of information to a room using micro stations.

  30. What is the purpose of changing the sequence of the journey and expanding the interior of a memory palace?

    1. Thanks, Lukas.

      I don’t advise changing journeys after they are set up. One certainly can do this, but for tips on that, I do not know.

      Rather, I would recommend formalizing a particular Memory Palace strategy and sticking with it so you can rely on predictable outcomes.

  31. What can I do to fill up the remaining numbers in PAO? I cannot think of any initials that can be put on those remaining numbers.

  32. I have been watching some of your videos and I have been wondering what is more effective: a memory palace or a mind map? I know they both use loci learning and visualization.

    1. Thanks for asking about this.

      Ultimately, the answer depends on your goals. One doesn’t have to be considered superior to the other, but in some cases, one will be superior.

      For example, I would never dream of using a mind map to try and memorize something like my TEDx Talk. The success of that talk has everything to do with the rapid ease and functionality techniques like the Memory Palace create.

      On the other hand, I would never dream of using a Memory Palace to help generate ideas for my books. But I do use mind maps regularly for that purpose, and they do help me remember the different parts that emerge during my planning due to the loci-based nature of mind mapping.

  33. Hi, I’m taking the Magnetic Square course and this is day one.

    My ultimate goal is to learn data science, and to do that I am going to have to learn and revise a *lot* of topics including relearning Math from high-school level up. It’s been a very long time since I learned all that, and this time I want to learn it deeply, and remember it.

    But first things first, the four things I want to remember are the common SQL commands I keep forgetting.

    Looking forward to seeing what memory techniques can do!

  34. Thank you for the community and invaluable resources you have created. My name is Mandy Huber, and I came across your work following two traumatic brain injuries that have left me feeling as though I am navigating the remnants of my former cognitive abilities.

    14 years ago, I consistently outperformed my classmates in trivia and standardized tests, possessing a remarkable memory that allowed me to recall everyone’s birthdays and even my mother’s grocery list while at the store. Despite growing up in poverty and attending a struggling rural school, I achieved second place in my state’s math academic decathlon. Since my brain injuries, I have been unable to remember why I entered a room or the specifics of recent encounters. Even the intricacies of the map in my favorite video game, which I have devoted over 2000 hours to, escape my memory, along with basic multiplication tables. In my early thirties, my memory resembles that of an 80-year-old, to the extent that I struggle to recall a 7-digit number.

    The science of human’s brains ability to recover from injuries is solid, and I am driven to prove this to my four sons, aged 14, 12, 8, and 6, some of whom possess my former cognitive abilities and all of whom share a deep desire for knowledge. I am eager to share the knowledge I gain from your work with them, as it not only holds the power to aid me on my personal journey but also has the potential to empower them with newfound understanding. Please let me know if it is permissible to involve them in this process.

    In order to set specific goals for myself, I have identified the following areas I aim to remember:

    The names and faces of the individuals on the budget committee, which consists of around 20 people, whom I chair.
    The driving route to my doctor’s office.
    The result of 7 multiplied by 9 without hesitation.
    The map of Skyrim, my favorite video game.

    Additionally, my most sincere goal is to unravel my faulty filing system, which leads me to create erroneous memories that may undermine my credibility. I aspire to implement a true, false, and unknown coding system in my mind, overriding the current operation that attempts to fill in missing fragments with fabricated but plausible memories.
    Once again, I extend my deepest appreciation for your unwavering dedication to your craft. I have been inspired by your work for some time and have been on your email list prior to fully committing to take action. Since my injuries ended my military career, I have been involved in the nonprofit sector, particularly in K-12 education and robotics. I am confident that your toolkit will enable me to become more effective in helping others and serve as an exemplary figure to my young learners.

    1. Great that you’re here, Mandy, and thanks for your detailed post.

      Your goals are all fantastic and judging by your history of making things happen for yourself, the future is going to be filled with even more amazing accomplishments.

      It’s interesting about confabulation and the creation of memories that might not be quite right. This is definitely something we can work on, and for that I do a lot of journaling. Although even that can lead to interpretation, I keep it to bullet points that are most just the facts of things, such as what I did or who I met at a particular time.

      That way of doing things has a memory exercise benefit because I can ask questions around more of the details and then reach out to the person and ask what they remember about the occasion.

      The other angle that may be useful for you is that I specifically use what is called a Snapshot journal. It makes you keep things brief because you build up to seeing each day for five years at a time. I’m in the fifth year of my current snapshot journal and it’s amazing for revealing many patterns, and just how much is possible in half a decade.

      Thanks again for your exciting and interesting post and talk soon!

  35. Hi Anthony
    I’m just about to start learning about Magic Squares in the 8 email course
    I’m wanting to learn how to use the memory techniques for my Itialian study which is going discouragingy slowly!

    1. Thanks, Graham.

      Being able to memorize vocabulary and phrases at a faster rate should reduce the discouragement substantially. I’ve been learning Latin myself and it’s so much easier with memory techniques in play.

      How long have you been studying Italian so far? Are you getting in lots of listening, reading, speaking and writing practice as well?

      1. I’ve been studying for four years using several methods including a teacher for 5 lessons (but I won’t continue with that – not worth the money).

        I’m doing lots of listening and exercises on Babbel. Reading stories by Olly Richards and podcasts I have an Italian friend and we speak Italian together.

        I am so discouraged because even after 4 years when he speaks most of it is just noise to me.

        The most important thing is continue and that’s what I’ve decided to do no matter what just keep going.

        I’m hoping the memory techniques will be another weapon in my arsenal to speed things up.

        1. Thanks for sharing your experiences, Graham.

          Teachers can be hit or miss, but there are some really good ones out there if you get a match. It might be something to explore a bit further.

          Reading, writing, speaking and listening are key and I would spend a good 3-6 months if not longer spending time off of apps and in memorization of key vocabulary and phrases.

          Perhaps your friend can record a simple dialogue for you that you’ve written, one that expresses the kind of 4-5 sentence conversation you would want to have. Then memorize it.

          Not all of us have access to native speakers like that, but that’s a simple way you can get some authentic material to memorize directly.

          Another thing that I’ve found very helpful is to find written interviews with experts in topics I’m interested in, such as music. Reading interviews with musicians in German helped me a lot in that language. And because it’s authentic speech, you pick up wonderful phrases that usually aren’t in books. No matter how good a language book is, it will often have stilted and manufactured examples of speech, something that interviews tend not to have (provided the interviewer is good).

          Hope these suggestions help you out!

          1. Thanks Anthony

            It’s really true that how native people speak their language can be massively different from what we learn
            Italian is full of phrases that are only used in casual conversation and for some reason don’t get into the learning/teaching sphere

            Maybe they are considered TOO informal

            We also have a lot of sayings in British English which are very hard to explain to a foreigner

          2. There sometimes are agendas in the minds of people who create the language learning textbooks and/or prescriptive ideas of how the language should be used.

            In all the languages I’ve studied, I’ve found that not worrying to much about the logic of things helps. Sometimes later it makes sense, other times not.

            In some theories of translation, the refer to the difference between Logopoeia (direct meaning as if via the logic of the word or phase), phanopoeia (meaning expressed through images) and melopoeia (meaning expressed through sound). Translation is a huge topic unto itself, so there’s more to it than that. But just thinking through these categories alone can help ease the mind that there’s method to some of what can seem like madness even in our own native tongues upon reflection.

  36. Hi everyone, my name is Frank and I am from Austin, TX. The four areas I want to be learning are these:
    1) I want to memorize quotes from famous self-development experts like Jim Rohm, Zig Ziglar, and Brian Tracy. My goal is 100 quotes 2) I want to memorize the birthdays of all my inner circle friends and relatives and the day of passing of those that are no longer here. It is a total of about 25 people. 3) I want to memorize 100 phrases in German. I used to live there years ago and I want to go back and visit and have these phrases ready to insert into natural conversation. 4) I am starting to trade luxury watches so I want to learn to memorize the models and special editions for Omega and one other brand with pricing as well.
    I am glad to get going on this and wish everyone else in this course great success!

    1. Great goals, Frank!

      I lived in Germany myself and memorized many phrases. One thing that helped a lot was to read in German a lot. Even if it’s slow in the beginning, it picks up quickly when you start memorizing words and phrases.

      Another cool trick is to listen to and read a lot of interviews. There are German self development experts you can find and they use interesting terms of phrases in the language that sometimes make you think about the concepts a bit differently.

      I was actually just watching a YouTube channel that questioned the term Selbsthilfe against Selbstjustiz, which is such an interesting way to think that I’ve never seen come up in English. (This was on Kai Deliomini’s channel, which is really about safety and whatnot, but it still raised an interesting idea in my mind in the realm of erleuchten.)

      Memorizing models and pricing is a great project too, especially with watches which can sometimes serve as little Memory Palaces unto themselves.

  37. Anthony, I have Dean Vaughn’s book “How to Remember Anything” that uses what he calls the numbered room system which have also been called Vaughn Cubes. These have the built in advantage of knowing the exact number for each location. Can you talk about how this compares to the more general memory palaces you use?


    1. Hi Bob,

      Yes, that’s an interesting book and I have a tragicomic relationship with Vaughn’s company. They ask me a few times a year if I want to partner on some medical mnemonics for their students and when I answer, I never hear back.

      Anyhow, there is an advantage in knowing the number of a location if it is advantageous to tether that to the information. Otherwise, it’s an unnecessary step.

      Cases where I use it have to do with memdeck work in magic. Sometimes I use it if I want to know the number of a verse in scripture that I’m memorizing, but even that’s rarely necessary and just adds a layer of unnecessary effort. This is because in long form verbatim memorization, it’s impossible to predict when a first might need two, three or even more stations.

      In sum, I’m all for numbering stations, but would encourage people to save it for cases where it’s going to be useful. These tend to boil down to memory stunts and magic tricks.

      Other use cases can be having automatic station numbering, such as the Memory Palace one might use to learn a 00-99 PAO. But that again is a case where it’s largely redundant. A 00-99 PAO based on the Major shouldn’t really need a Memory Palace to learn, and 00-99 when thought about in a linear manner is already a Memory Palace unto itself, as is the alphabet.

      That said, we do an alphabet exercise in the Magnetic Square course that gives you a Memory Palace marked by the alphabet. You can add a number to each letter or do estimation counts by remembering that M is the 13th letter in, which is itself interesting brain exercise.

      Does this way of looking at things help you out?

      1. Anthony, yes this helps. I just haven’t heard very much discussion about this book or the cube approach.

        Some of the other approaches I’ve seen on memory palaces talk about doing something to mark every 5th or 10th station to make it easier to know the specific numbers where that’s needed.

        1. Yes, the “golden hand” and other markers are talked about a lot. I’m not sure to what extent that was useful in those historical contexts, but we can keep in mind that it was much more common to use the hand itself as a Memory Palace.

          I’ll eventually do something about the Guidonian Hand and other variations on it. I shared with Tyson Yunkaporta the version that I used from his book Sand Talk and it has a lot of staying power. I still remember what I memorized using it.

  38. Hopefully there’s no limit on the number of questions we can post – I’m sure I’ll have a lot of them. 🙂

    I’ve been aware of the basic memory techniques since the mid 70’s when I first saw “The Memory Book” by Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas. It sounds like you talked with Harry Lorayne quite a bit. Did you ever ask him why he doesn’t seem to use memory palaces? He briefly mentions them in the history section of the book, but that’s pretty much it. I believe he used the peg system for anything he needed to remember the ordinal numbers for.


    1. By all means, please feel free to post as many questions as you like. Too often, people starve themselves of the benefit that comes merely from typing questions, which has at least as much value as the answers when it comes to engaging in a robust learning cycle.

      Yes, I asked Lorayne about not using Memory Palaces and he was inexplicably taciturn about it for some reason. I can only speculate why and tie it together with some other things he advised me on, such as not telling people about the science of memory. If you read the obituary for him in Genii magazine, more about his character emerges there, and although we all loved him in both the memory and card magic worlds, his ideas and responses to certain things were often mysterious.

      I expect we’re all mysterious in some of our ways, but not all subject to the same volume of repetition he must have been. So perhaps that in itself was part of it. Plus, I remember him being a proponent of thinking for yourself, and he eventually did address the Memory Palace to a fairly copasetic extent in Ageless Memory.

      In my view, he did use the Memory Palace technique. I don’t see how he was able to say that he did not. Advising us to use a feature on someone’s face is inherently the method of loci no matter which way you shake the stick at it.

      I think he was wary of doing what some of the ancient books do, which would be to point out that there is no such thing as a peg system, or even any memory system at all. Instead, there are only methods for constructing highly personal memory tactics that can have system-like features, but for any practical use need to be flexible.

      The market at large can rarely afford to tell the truth about these matters, and that’s probably another angle here. Again, I can only speculate, but in making his choice, he did more good in the end by popularizing the techniques. Even Buzan told me he thought so.

      And in the age of the Internet, he did much to enable people like myself to flourish, even if he sometimes grumbled about how shifts in media changed his dominance through TV and mass media publishing, etc.

      There’s no right or wrong here, but for most of us, we’re not going to be able to accomplish meaningful goals without well-formed Memory Palaces. Name demonstrations and magic tricks are great for demonstrations, but as I have suggested, not even Lorayne was able to do them without some kind of location.

      Plus, as a guest on the next Magnetic Memory Method Podcast will explain, he couldn’t have accomplished one of his major verbatim goals with Lorayne’s linking. He tried and it quickly collapsed on him, which is predictable.

      But this wonderful guest (Matt Barclay) sent me an incredible video of a 12-minute recitation of scripture in front of his church congregation and then explained how the Magnetic Memory Method helped him accomplish this – all after coming out of cognitive issues created by cardiac arrest.

      I hope you’ll enjoy it when it comes out and thanks in advance for your continued questions.

  39. Do I also need to label the magnetic square itself with the room it represents? And can I also label a magnetic square (or any traditional memory palace) with the category of information I have stored in it?

    1. Thanks for this question.

      You certainly can label it and there are some times when that might be useful, especially for things like memorizing scripture and knowing the verse numbers.

      Generally, however, this additional step is not necessary when we’re using Recall Rehearsal to form long term memories and ensure retention.

      So I would suggest that the answer is determined by the goal, and some experimentation and exploration may need to take place in order to see if the goal itself requires it.

  40. I once worked in a repurposed hotel building. During my stay in the building I lived in two different rooms (with opposite floor plans and completely different furniture layouts). Most of my time was spent on 3 floors of a 13 story building; the two rooms I had during my time there were on 2 additional floors. Is there anything wrong or potentially confusing in limiting my path through the building to those 5 floors and using the 2 stair “closets” as a path between only 2 floors each and the 3 elevators for travel between all floors and or simply dropping through the floor to get from one “residence” to the next?

    I realize that this is a slightly convoluted question, thank you for considering it and offering your opinion.

    The main reason for the question is that floors 1, 2, & 13 were entirely unique but the 10 residential floors were exactly identical. By dropping through the floor between my 2 residence loci (the first was higher up than the second) I avoid the confusion of navigating 2 identical floors.

    By using the very redundant stair closets which circled in opposite directions to connect only 2 floors each I leave the path unique rather than dizzying and repetitive.

    I also planned to sketch this palace as though it were a path down a street rather than stacked floors. Do you see any disadvantages to this plan?

    Thank you for your time.

    I plan on making a rough sketch of this memory palace after considering your opinions on the matter.

    1. Thanks so much for this.

      There is always the potential for confusion when learning a new skill, so I would suggest using the drawing process to help ensure that the path is as clear as possible.

      With respect to floors being identical, vs. unique, in the beginning I would suggest leaving out anything you’re concerned about. It seems like you have more than enough material to work with in this building without having to exploit every last inch. There are many buildings in the world and it’s really difficult to run out of space.

      If you’re talking about imaginary elements with your last question, I personally do not inject or use anything that isn’t actually there. If I do, then I have to remember it.

      That turns the Memory Palace into a “Memorized Palace,” which I don’t want. The point of the Memory Palace is that it is based 100% on what is already in memory so that it doesn’t have to be thought about.

      Your mileage may vary, but after over a decade of teaching this and interacting with thousands of serious memorizers, this is generally the consensus. Effective Memory Palaces are clear, simple, direct and based only on what is already in memory without imaginary elements.

  41. My goals in the Magnetic Square course is to find a better system for memorizing Tibetan Buddhist liturgy texts. One example of four phrases is:
    རྫོགས་པའི་བྱང་ཆུབ་ཕྱིར་སྤྱོད་དང་། །རྫོགས་སངས་རྒྱས་ནས་གང་སྤྱོད་པ། །བྱང་ཆུབ་རྡོ་རྗེས་བསྔགས་པ་ཡིས། །སྤྱོད་དེ་གཉིས་ཀའང་བདག་སྤྱོད་ཤོག or in simplified California phonetics: dzok pé jang chup chir chö dang/ dzok sang gyé né gang chö pa/ jang chup dor jé ngak pa yi/ chö dé nyi kang dak chö shok
    Translated: Bodhi Vajra praised two forms of conduct: one performed to reach perfect awakening and one performed after becoming a buddha. May I engage in those two forms of conduct.
    I can successfully apply simplified memory techniques to lists of English words. It is a struggle for me fit the techniques that I am aware of to Asian languages.

    1. This is great, Bill. I’ve memorized similar texts in Sanskrit one wall and corner at a time (sometimes just the corners).

      When you mention a struggle with the Asian languages, is there a particular point at which things fall apart? Given my experience with Mandarin, I can probably pinpoint a solution, especially if I know more about the precise issue.

      Certainly some of the sounds can pose more challenge than others. But I’ve yet to find a sound that isn’t doable – and the attempt itself has helped me build a very robust mnemonic system that words for every language I’ve approached.

      I look forward to more details and thanks for being part of the course!

      1. So, if I take the first two syllables: dzok pay or dzog pay, I have trouble finding the name of a person or action that would remind my of that. I’m pretty sure that your system is useful. For example I tried to memorize the first phrase yesterday. This morning I kept wanting to say a somewhat similar word, Dor-jay instead. The “d” was associating in my mind. I’ll make the list of celebrities shortly per lesson MS 5. Thanks.

        1. Thanks for your follow-up, Bill.

          Making the lists in advance is the key to removing the trouble of finding associations.

          Keep in mind too that it doesn’t have to be celebrities. They are often useful because so many of us spend a lot of time with them while watching media.

          Whether one days or not, there are other categories to list: friends, family, teachers, politicians, athletes, musicians, authors. The more we get through our hands and onto paper, the more automatically the associations will flow in our mnemonic practice.

          For “dzog pay,” I would first look up the pronunciation so I can hear it from someone with a basic understanding of how it should sound. I tried to find this piece, but nothing is coming up, so I’ll give you an example based on a guess.

          “Dzog pay” tends me towards Dracula and perhaps someone I know named Zoe. Maybe she’s reading about ogres. Pay leads me to another person I know named Peyton. Peyton Place also comes to mind.

          These images will work together nicely in a Memory Palace, and from there, it’s just a matter of assembling more together. The process gets faster the more you combine a bit of list gathering with the art of memory itself, connecting and weaving. With consistent application, it will become second nature.

          1. Thanks! I meant to respond earlier. I think I now have enough of the pieces to put everything together. I was trying too hard to get “tight” associations with names. I now figure that any association is better than freezing. I’m expecting that with practice, I will get better at quickly associating images of people and actions. Also, your interview with Mike McKinley was super helpful. Your discussion with him helped me set expectations with how much practice and recall is required even with the techniques.

          2. Thanks for your follow-up, Bill.

            Indeed, any association whatsoever serves as a starting point. Several memory competitors have used variations on the idea that at some level it’s best to have a little “faith” in how the techniques work, if not a lot of it.

            I’m not sure if that’s the word I would use, but it’s not a bad one. I would frame it more as “action begets action.” If we’re not taking action, we can’t develop the skills.

            But when we are taking the action, we enable both learning of the techniques themselves and learning of the target information to take place. It’s a win-win across the board.

  42. my meta objective is to learn to memorise effectively, which is why I signed up for the Magnetic square mini course and the Magnetic memory masterclass.
    I’ve got loads of videos on my hard drive of training, courses and methods that I’d love to master on subjects as varied and diverse as hypnosis, maths, programming, but I’d also like to learn how to use them, …. but I’m having trouble assimilating them and even though I know that it would be an added value in my life to master and apply them, I can’t do it.
    to master and apply all these things for my personal image and to be able to sell myself better professionally.
    I’ve chosen to start by memorising 4 words: bogeymen -clue – boon-bucket (i’m French) Thanks for reading Fred

    1. This is great, Fred. One thing I love doing is using the strategy you’ll learn in the MMM Masterclass to go through courses. Check the second video on the Start Here page for that strategy and more details about it in the “Masterplan.”

      This strategy has been key for me when it comes to assimilating information and a huge reason why is that it helps first and foremost with extracting the most valuable information first. Doing it in this way already initiates a level of encoding before using the Memory Palace technique.

      Great words to start with and I look forward to your updates going forward!

  43. Hi Anthony, I’ve drawn my Magnetic Square, numbered the four corners and visualised a celebrity for each corner (Emilia Earhart, Brigitte Bardot, Charlie Chaplin and Donald Duck). How do I now use it to memorise the four Spanish words arrancar (to start up), patidifuso (flabbergasted), el agobio (the stress) and los abastos (the supplies) together with these English meanings?

    1. Great progress, John!

      These are great celebrities, and when you have one for each letter of the alphabet, you can tether them much more closely to the sounds and meanings of these words. So far arrancar I would probably have Aaron Copland starting up a car. I would use Pat Sajak getting flabbergasted and Agatha Christie getting stressed out while looking at a globe, etc.

      This close alignment can take some practice, but once you’ve got it, the general pattern is familiar person + object doing or being something in a location can give you the sound and meaning in one image.

      Sometimes I need more than one image myself to pull it off. Other times, it’s important to also memorize an entire sentence, which is essentially just multiple images moving from corner to corner.

      The key is to have the images do something that evokes both sound and meaning at the same time. Once you’ve got any mnemonic image established, make sure to elaborate it throughly by using at least some of the Magnetic Modes and Recall Rehearsal. These points will emerge further in the course if you haven’t seen them yet already.

  44. I”m late to the party on this but I guess better late than never. My goal is similar to Fred’s in that I have the goal to learn quite a bit. I want to learn to memorize effectively.

    Right now I am taking an Excel course and would like to memorize the following for this class:

    4 Methods to find the last row

    1. Use the End property of the Range Object

    2. Use the CurrentRegion Property of the Range Object

    3. Use the SpecialCells Method of the Range Object

    4. Use the UsedRAnge Propert of the Worksheet Object

    Best Regards

    1. Great that you’re here, Will.

      This kind of information can be challenging, but you’ll be able to do it.

      One thing to consider is whether or not you can get away without memorizing words like “of” and “the” and still understand the necessary structure of the information. Excluding operators can save a lot of time when memorizing anything verbatim.

      Although it’s not the same thing, when I memorized my TEDx Talk, I didn’t memorize all of the words in the sentences. Certainly not “the” or “of.” I boiled everything down to keywords wherever possible.

      It’s highly recommended, but in your case, you might like to start by including them. You may also want to develop images for all of the symbols, everything from quotation marks to asterisks and parenthetical marks.

      All doable, but just something to consider in terms of an additional step.

      1. Thanks Anthony,

        I can remove “the”, “of”, and even “Use”. For symbols I came up with the following images:

        quotation marks: Dr Evil from Austin Powers doing air quotes
        asterisks: an asteroid
        periods: a Dalmatian
        parenthetical: My mom as a left parenthesis, and my dad as a right parenthesis

        Also I wanted to mention that I bought my notebook and decorated it. I also drew and labeled a square.

        Best Regards

        1. These are all great images, Will.

          I never would have thought of parents as parenthetical marks. The closest I got was having my dad drive a bulldozer for the brackets. Yours is a great solution!

          Glad you got your notebook and have started using it.

          Keep going and I look forward to your future progress updates as time allows!

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Anthony Metivier is the founder of the Magnetic Memory Method, a systematic, 21st century approach to memorizing foreign language vocabulary, names, music, poetry and more in ways that are easy, elegant, effective and fun.

Dr. Metivier holds a Ph.D. in Humanities from York University and has been featured in Forbes, Viva Magazine, Fluent in 3 Months, Daily Stoic, Learning How to Learn and he has delivered one of the most popular TEDx Talks on memory improvement.

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