Learning Equations with Memory Techniques (Update)

I've updated our "learning equations" discussion over on the Tips page, so I wanted to share it here. Generally I avoid mnemonics when it comes to equations, but I've added an example of how I'd memorize 4/3 pi r^3 with memory techniques at the bottom. 

How can I use memory techniques to learn equations?

Generally, I try to avoid "memorizing" equations. Again, the goal here is to learn efficiently by giving tangible meaning to what you're learning. In the case of equations, true understanding should be achievable, so memory techniques should generally take a backseat.

That said, I do use memory techniques for specific pieces of equations I find difficult to remember. So I'd recommend trying to identify the one or two tiny things that are tripping you up, and to encode those things specifically. For example, take this equation:

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An Updated Beginner's Guide to Mullen Memory

I recently redid our "how to use this site" link on the Tips page and wanted to share it here for anyone interested. It's pretty self-explanatory:

If I'm a beginner interested in applying memory techniques to my learning, how should I use this site?

Feel free to explore whatever piques your interest, but here's our vision for how new users might progress through our content:

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Question of the Week: What are the key strengths of using palaces as a learning tool? Why palaces and not just images?

It’s worth noting up front that we find our current methods of implementing memory palaces to be relatively simple (see “Doesn’t it take too much time to make all these palaces?” on our Tips page). We don’t think that using palaces in a mnemonic strategy adds up to much extra time or effort. Otherwise, the following might be moot. The presence of this question is also not to say that standalone images are never useful. We often create them for out-of-context facts or when it may be useful to create quick images on the fly. When it comes to carefully learning structured material, however (e.g. I'm sitting at my computer to learn the lung pathology chapter), I’ve found there to be three main arguments in favor of palaces:

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New Video: Putting the Chinese System into Practice

In this new video, I discuss my memory palace-based mnemonics for learning Chinese vocabulary, as taken from the textbook Integrated Chinese Lesson 1 Part 2. Like in the recent English vocab/Memrise video, I walk through a learning session, focusing on examples and the different tools I use. This one builds on my earlier two blogs describing the system (links below), which I'd recommend reading before watching this. Hope you enjoy!

Part 1: The Gist
Part 2: Tweaks and Examples 

Question of the Week: How clear should my visualizations be?

Here's a question I've gotten a lot recently, in some form or another: How clear should my visualizations be?

Here's my experience, and this goes for both learning applications and memory sports: A key thing to realize is that the visuals themselves aren't always that important, so I don't worry if my images aren't clear. They’re often just fuzzy impressions. The memorability often comes from the story or narrative, simply the idea that image A is interacting with image B (or a particular location) in a semantically interesting way. I blogged about this following my 2015 USAMC experience, and for those interested in digging a bit deeper, that post explains the idea more clearly. When it comes to long-term recall, this idea becomes even plainer. If I haven't recalled something in weeks (or especially months), my image has usually been reduced to its most basic form: an idea in a location. For example, when recalling that toxoplasmosis is one of the clinical uses of the drug combo TMP-SMX, I just have a notion that there is a cat (toxo) on my elementary school's stage (a locus in my TMP-SMX area). No salient sensory impressions, generally--although of course some unique visuals or tactile impressions may stick here or there. I just know there's a cat on that stage, and that's all I need. 

2016 World Memory Championship Recap

It’s that time of year again. Two weeks ago, Cathy and I stuffed our bags and hopped in an airplane for 25+ hours for the annual World Memory Championship. After last year’s event in Chengdu, China, the organizers bumped the venue to Singapore, which I found to be a truly awesome place. Buildings of all colors and architectural styles, greenery everywhere, clean streets, and crazy vistas around every corner. We had a blast just walking around. The one downside: the unrelenting 80o humidity. As usual, we arrived a few days early to acclimate...

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