Quickly Memorise Lists Using The Loci Method

The loci method, a millenia-old mnemonic strategy, uses the visualisation of familiar locations to memorise a series of items, whether it be a grocery list or a series of talking points in a speech. Here's hot to put it into practice.

If you have a creative or visually-oriented mind, this method will work especially well for you, though anyone should be able to take advantage of it with a little practice. The key is to use a location very familiar to you, such as your home, and visualise yourself following a common path through that location (such as the front door of your house to the back), seeing the items you need to memorise in those locations. Website HowStuffWorks describes an example, using a grocery list consisting of shaving cream, peaches, hot dogs, ketchup and ice cream:

As you visualize your house, imagine spraying shaving cream all over the front door. Don't just imagine the word "shaving cream." Really see it as you depress the nozzle and spray the foam all over the front door. Try to imagine the smell of the shaving cream, as well.

Now open the door, enter the hall, and imagine a giant peach rolling down the steps in the front hall and heading right for you. Now walk into the living room, and visualize a six-foot-tall hot dog in a bun wearing a cowboy hat and lounging by the fireplace. Enter the dining room and picture a bottle of ketchup, dressed in an old-fashioned maid's uniform, setting the table. Finally, go to the kitchen and picture a gallon of ice cream, melting as it slaves over a hot stove.

HowStuffWorks also explains a similar method that links the items to the location in which they'd be used (such as shaving cream in the bathroom), which may work better for some. They also discuss how to use these methods to locate a specific item on the list (say, the 5th item) by giving each area a separate distinguishing feature — which is nice if you have an especially long list. It may take a bit of practice for some, but it's a nice method to have on hand if you get caught in a bind and need some quick memorisation. Hit the link to read the full article, and let us know if you've had any experience using this method in the past.

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