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Memory Palaces in Med School!

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haloony

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Hey All,

I was wondering if anyone has successfully used the memory palace or method of loci memory technique in med school. I have heard and read that it is the technique of choice for champion memorizers but I am unsure of its utility for med school. Write back with your experiences with the memory palace technique during med school. The more detailed you can be the better. For those that are unfamiliar with memory palaces check this link out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory_palace or you can just google it.

Thanks,
Hal
 

shaggy alfresco

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Yes and no, you can't really use it to memorize everything. Though it'd be useful for things like biochem (I used it in undergrad for things like memorizing each step of the kreb's cycle) but you have to have be very picky when you use it unless you're a champion memorizer. I mean, you probably need thousands and thousands of empty palaces to remember everything - I have like 50 max and you don't want to be cleaning that crap out until after Step I. :laugh:
 
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MossPoh

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I think many people use some version of that, although probably not as refined as the people who use it to memorize decks of cards.

People tend to learn vocabulary better when they study in different locales with different imagery around them, which must have at least a couple similar mental processes.

The only thing is that I actively try to memorize the least amount of information I can. I use logic and integration a lot more which lets me apply concepts to different things much easier. It isn't a list at that point but rather a logical clinical picture.

Obviously, some things it is difficult to do that with and you just have to buckle down and memorize but those are always the first things I forget.
 

biobossx99

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Hey All,

I was wondering if anyone has successfully used the memory palace or method of loci memory technique in med school. I have heard and read that it is the technique of choice for champion memorizers but I am unsure of its utility for med school. Write back with your experiences with the memory palace technique during med school. The more detailed you can be the better. For those that are unfamiliar with memory palaces check this link out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory_palace or you can just google it.

Thanks,
Hal

You read Joshua Foer's book? (Moon Walking with Einstein)
 
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nick_carraway

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I only got through a bit of Moonwalking with Einstein, but I've used something similar that he mentioned for immunology. Associating a crazy random image with a word and placing it along a mental reconstruction of a route near home. I don't stroll down this route in my mind, but it makes it easier to remember specific items since I remember where I placed them. Like was said earlier, med school has too much info to do that with everything but it was useful for info that was hard for me to memorize otherwise.
 

Law2Doc

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Hey All,

I was wondering if anyone has successfully used the memory palace or method of loci memory technique in med school. I have heard and read that it is the technique of choice for champion memorizers but I am unsure of its utility for med school. ...

Just use dirty mnemonics like everybody else. They have been in use for generations for a reason.
 
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snemo

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Hopefully this may still interest folks. I got into memory palaces initially via competitions (I've won the last two World Memory Championships). A little shameless self-promotion here: I run a site along with my wife, Cathy, where we explore memory palaces as learning tools, predominantly for use in medical school. We're both currently M3s. There are plenty of tutorials out there that will tell you what a memory palace is, but we look at how to actually implement them for medical school. It took some experimenting, but we've found the techniques to work exceptionally well for medical school when used properly.
 
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Jabbed

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Super curious, what was your Step I?

Congratulations on the World Championship-- very impressive.
 
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rafa 22

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used it extensively and think it is brilliant. however, i used it as a last option since it is really draining to create a solid memory palace and commit images (information) to it. I always tried as much as possible to understand the big concept so i wouldn't have to memorize (or have to memorize much less). When i couldn't do that i went to mnemonic and after that memory palace (although i think it sticks much better with memory palace, but again effort...).

also, at some point you run out of places and routes to commit the images to, so be picky.
 

IslandStyle808

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I think I know who you are. The fact you won 2 world competitions is insane on top of the fact your were doing medical school at the same time...
 
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alpinism

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Am I the only one who thought of Sherlock when they first saw this thread?
 
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BeachQuidditch

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Fwiw, the MCAT is a lot easier than USMLE but I did use memory palaces to get a 519 MCAT with just a few hours of studying for 2 months. Hormones, organs, cellular cycles, biomolecules, physics laws, whatever. It's also very easy to maintain palaces by taking a walk through them every few so often as you're falling asleep.

It's a different ballpark of difficulty, but given how much info memory athletes can retain, it should work just fine for USMLE. The bulk of the work is coming up with creative mnemonics, everything else is easy.
 

kraskadva

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This is the underlying idea for Sketchy, so we all use it to greater or lesser extent.
 
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Save a life

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This is the underlying idea for Sketchy, so we all use it to greater or lesser extent.

My thoughts exactly. It’s been done, it’s called Sketchy. Buy it for M2, you won’t regret it. Visual spatial memory combined with a story, a very powerful way to learn.
 
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FreeMedEd

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Hey Alex! (@snemo)
We were lucky to have Alex Mullen on for one of our first episodes covering this topic in more depth. Now, with over 40 episodes, the Medical Mnemonist Podcast is a great resource for anyone interested in these topics. Using pre-make mnemonics and images can save you time but beware. The memories are not personal and like any memory champion or mnemonics instructor would recommend, using personal mnemonics whenever possible will strengthen the recall of that information later on!
If you are interested in starting this type of practice yourself, there are a few steps to begin with. You will want to make a list of potential "palaces" (loci) to use. You will also probably wish to make a list of main concepts that you want to convert into images. From there, you can add supporting details to the main concepts. DON'T try to translate ALL material into images and memory palaces. This will take too much of your valuable time. Use it mostly for difficult topics that you keep mixing up.
 
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