In a single conference room, competitors at the World Memory Championship sit in rows, a deck of cards in front of each person. A Competition Official signals it’s time to begin, and competitors get to work, memorising entire decks of cards in under two minutes. They recall the order of the decks perfectly. In 2016, medical student Alex Mullen set the world record, memorising 52 cards in 18.65 seconds. Alex Mullen was not born with an amazing memory – his talent was learned.
In 2017, scientists studied 23 of the world's 50 most successful memory athletes to find out whether high-level memory can be learned. Over six weeks, they taught ordinary people a memory technique used by Memory Champions and studied whether their brain networks changed to resemble those of the champions. The memory technique used was Memory Palace (we will teach you Memory Palace in this article). Sure enough, at the end of the six weeks, the brains of the ordinary people had significantly changed. The researchers concluded that through mnemonic training (using systems to remember things), superior memory can be achieved.
Why is this relevant to you and your child? Well, memory is essential for study, so if you want to take your child's learning to the next level, read on for a step by step explanation of some of the most effective memory techniques available. And keep in mind: it’s important to correctly learn each technique the first time so that you have a good foundation to build on.
Technique 1: Memory Palace
Memory Palace, also known as the ‘Method of Loci’, has been used since the Ancient Greeks and Romans. Humans are great at memorising places they know, and Memory Palace makes use of this principle.
1. Pick a place:
Choose a place you know very well to be your Memory Palace. You need to know this location so well that you can visualise yourself walking around the space. Visualise a specific route through this location.
Your house is a good place to start. Imagine yourself walking through the door, looking around your front room as you put your bag down by the door. You continue down the hallway and arrive at the kitche