Reading detail-rich material

Many of our students need to learn boring, complex material rich in details. How do you remember complex statistics or medical description? You break it into smaller step, use a lot of humour, and try to keep consistent tone in details and imagery. We teach our advanced students high-level visualization, but you can successfully remember lots of details without it. Below are examples from discussions in our Udemy course.
Learning something new

So I opened up Wikipedia and I started to learn about GSP Belgrade.

The things I tried to remember are:

Public Transit Company
Created in Oct 14, 1892
First line was a horse tram between Slavija and Terazije.
Has 145 lines, 12 are trams, 8 are trolley bus and 125 are bus lines.
Hours of operation are 4am to Midnight with limited night buses.
There are about 6,200 employees
They use about 1000 Vehicles

I have difficulty actually turning this data into images.
I can attach the oct 14 to my mums birthday, however I don’t really know what to do with the other stats.

Any advice?


Thank you for the question. The way to proceed is an issue of personal style. I will try to present my personal approach. Eventually, the more you know the easier it will be to learn. Let us try to encode based on my prior knowledge:

The Belgrade GSP started to work during the Homestead Strike on Carnegie steal mill. It has 125 bus lines [I encode 125 as 5*5*5 and have a special marker for it, like 3 hands touching], 12 trams (lucky number, one more and they would hit the unlucky 13. I use trellis as luck symbol) and 8 trolleys (8 looks like infinity and trolleys are infinitely cumbersome for a city). They are closed from Midnight to 4am (there is an 2009 movie called “4am is the new midnight”). There are 1K vehicles (I have a special marker for a kilo). The number of employees in Wikipedia is 6166, (I have a number 666 encoded as satan, so just remember 1 non-satanic employee).

Now if I really do not want to forget, just make up a funny story. Sometimes I actually prefer to remember information as comics:

During the Homestead Strike the workers came to your mother’s home and shake hands with her 3 times. The shake was infinitely long and she was lucky when it was over. It felt like midnight in poorly rated movie and the hand was getting very heavy. Then a fourth worker came in and stood second in the row, and all 3 previous workers started growing horns.

Try to find your own personal style.

Good luck 🙂

Can I use this exercise / method for each type of text?

I choose today the text about Adductor muscles of the hip ( I find it very complicated to find pictures to some words.

If I want to learn all the muscles of the adductor group:

Adductor brevis

Adductor longus

Adductor magnus

Adductor minimus

adductor magnus.



Obturator externus

can I use the method of markers or need I something else?

Then I tried another article: Pilates. I started with history –

I took the german article. My english is not so good.

The first sentence: Joseph Hubert Pilates (1883–1967) war Turner, Taucher, Bodybuilder und Zirkusartist.

In english:

Hubert Joseph Pilates (1883-1967) was a gymnast, diver, bodybuilder and circus performer.

For me there are a lot markers in one sentence and I start to find pictures for:


1883 / 1967




circus performer.

Am I on the right track?

Thanks for a fantastic question, Klaus.
Let’s start with the muscles of the hip. This is an extremely difficult one, but you should rely on existing knowledge to create markers. Your knowledge may differ from mine, but let me demonstrate how I might create markers.

  • Adductor brevis
    • My mind jumps to “brevity,” and I picture a scene from the movie “The Big Lebowsky” where he uses the word “brevity” – this is my marker for that word, always. It’s a vivid image in my mind of the character
    • Brevity means short (brevis in latin), and so I remember that this is shorter than the next one, adductor longus
  • Adductor longus
    • The “long” in the name obviously gives me a marker, and I might just remember that it’s the longest muscle in the leg, using the marker of the image supplied in wikipedia
  • Adductor magnus
    • Magnus means “great” in latin, but we may not know that. I see that this muscle is very small, and I think that it must be a pretty great muscle to keep up with the other 2 longer muscles it’s next to
    • I use as a marker a picture of the world’s strongest man, Magnus Vermagnussen. He is very strong, and this little muscle must be too, as said above
  • Adductor minimus
    • See similar techniques as above
  • pectineus
    • I think of the “pectoral” muscle, which is in a similar position to the shoulder. My marker is my pectoral muscle, which I’ve seen a million times, and which rotates my shoulder in just like this muscle does for the leg
    • If you need to make another marker here, that’s fine.. think of something silly or outrageous, like feeding a bird out of your lap and having it “peck” you your inner leg accidentally.
  • gracilis
    • This muscle is thin and graceful, I picture a graceful woman in a long ball dress who also looks thin
  • Obturator externus
    • Similar methods to above

Now, that was tricky, but it should give you an idea. I’m really going for “vivid” and concrete imagery, and I’m trying to tack on to anything that is already part of my existing knowledge. Movies, english words, latin words, muscles I already know – any connection I can make, I make. Now, if you covered up the labels on the muscles, I could recite the names to you because I have a silly memory or story connected to each one. I don’t remember Aductor Brevis, I remember The Big Lebowsky… “So you’re not into Brevity… I get that…”

Now let’s talk about the Pilates question. You’re definitely on the right track. This is a very information dense paragraph. I am interested in knowing how involved he was with sports and activity, given what he designed with the Pilates program, and so I would definitely make markers for Gymnast, Circuis performer, bodybuilder, and probably even diver. I don’t know that the dates would be that important to me – maybe just the death date. His name is pretty important, too, but I don’t have a marker for Hubert, so the first thing that came to mind was the Sesame Street character “Bert” – but in a different hue, like green. It’s silly, but it’s a functional marker for me.

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