Memory Maps

Help yourself remember facts!
Make a memory map . . .


1. Make an outline map of the area you are studying.
2. Look through your notes and your textbook and decide on the key facts you need to remember.
3. On your outline map, add symbols to represent the key facts. Use as few words and as many pictures as you can imagine. More pictures = easier remembering of facts.
4. Add colour.
5. Read over your memory map until you have memorized the key facts.

Take a look at these memory maps for ideas . . .





[The top part of this page may not be copied. ©2011 Sophie Rosen.]

Here is a more sophisticated version of the ancient technique of building a memory map:

Build a Memory Map

1.    Choose a map.
a.    Choose a place you know: your bedroom, your house, your neighbourhood, your town, your country.
b.    The more you need to memorize, the bigger your map needs to be.
c.    Draw your map on a piece of paper.


2.    Make a route.
a.    Establish a pathway or route that you will follow in your imagination as you travel through your memory.
b.    A route is always helpful but is especially useful for memorizing…
i.    science procedures
ii.    mathematics procedures
iii.    history dates
iv.    literature plot lines
c.    Draw a line on your map to indicate your route.


3.    Identify storage places on your route.
a.    You will need places to store facts.
b.    You might have closets, cupboards, baskets in a house.
c.    You might have buildings or parks in a neighbourhood or park.
d.    You might have towns or lakes or forests in a country.
e.    The clearer you can visualize these storage places, the easier it will be for you to remember your facts later.
f.    Draw the storage places on your map.


4.    Now collect all your facts that you need to memorize.
a.    For each fact, create a little symbol that helps you remember it.
b.    Crazy symbols that only make sense to you are fine.
c.    The more emotion attached to a symbol, the easier it is to remember.
d.    Here are some examples:
i.    a printing press = a potato (for a potato print)
ii.    a marble statue = a little rock
iii.    Christopher Columbus = a tiny ship
e.    Here are more creative examples:
i.    Michaelangelo = a butterfly with ‘m’ as the body
ii.    Leonardo da Vinci = a cat with a mane around its face


5.    Draw your symbols on our map.
a.    Arrange your symbols in chronological or logical order.
b.    Draw them on your map in the storage areas.
c.    Think about how place them in a way to make remembering easier.
i.    Columbus’s ship: in the kitchen sink.
ii.    the potato: in a dark cupboard
iii.    the cat: playing with the water in the sink


6.    Add colour.
a.    Use vivid or surreal colours if you wish.
b.    Add designs if you wish.
c.    Make your symbols memorable.


7.    Now sit down with your memory map.
a.    Tell yourself the story of the facts while looking at your memory map.
b.    Follow the route you laid out.
c.    Practise telling yourself the story while imagining the map in your head.
d.    Go over it again and again until it is like a movie in your mind.


This way of memorizing has been used since ancient Roman times.  To learn more, visit your local library or search online.


[The bottom part of the page may be copied for use with students if the following credit is given: ©2012 Sophie Rosen.]

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One thought on “Memory Maps

  1. I am more of a visual person so the best thing to remember a topic is drawing mind maps.
    I use highlighters and coloured pens to focus on important things. Your drawings will be a big help for my memory map! Thank you for posting.

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