Visual marker creation

Open Mnemonc Dictionary. Think of an abstract word and a way of remembering the word. If no words comes to your mind, choose randomly from GRE word list. Now search the word in the dictionary. Try to pick up new tricks. Add your own tricks to the dictionary to help the community.


Visual marker creation

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90 Replies to “Visual marker creation”

  1. Not sure if this is the best way, but it works for me.

    I use the GRE in combination with iStock
    I run a random word on GRE and then look it up on iStock.
    I like it this way, because sometimes the visual representation in my mind is not as nearly as accurate as the image linked to the word in iStock
    I managed to remember some tongue twisting words using this method.

    GRE –
    iStock –

  2. Hi Dr Lev and thank you for this really inspiring course,

    I am not sure as what would be the best approach to practice marker creation with random words between:

    – Making a personal marker and going straight to the next word so as to increase the number of words practiced and naturally getting to slowly find the best type of image that suits me and sticking to it.
    – Making a personal marker and then doing an image search to find better, more effective markers and with a higher degree of detail.

    It seems to me that both have benefits but I though there might be a clear winner here. What would you say ?

    Thanks a lot for you help,

    Kind regards,


    1. Either, neither and both. Different strategies work for different levels of proficiency. Currently, I recommend PAO markers with 2-3 details, thus encoding ~5 words in a single visualization. If you have issues and need help please contact [email protected].

  3. Hi Dr Lev,

    I’m currently at Section 4, Lecture 21-23. I’m trying to use the Mnemonic Dictionary to create markers but I do not know the meaning of most words there even though English is my main language. I often have to look up the meaning before the I can create my visual markers.

    Thus, do I continue to practice on the Mnemonic Dictionary to create visual markers or is there another application/practice I can use to build up my markers before trying Mnemonic Dictionary again?

    Thank you.

  4. An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who has
    been conducting a little research on this. And he in fact bought me dinner simply because I found it for him…
    lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for
    the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time
    to talk about this subject here on your website.

  5. My brain really enjoys finding things that rhyme so for me I just envision a Trout/fish sprouting legs and and CRAWLS across the water like a lizard. Knowing that it’s crawling across the water to avoid the net below it.

    Which makes me think of the word, Trawl.

    Is this an efficient way to do it?

    I did this with many words growing up in HS. Intrepid – sounds like Trumpet, Trumpet whole kind of looks like a crocodile mouth opened up, which reminds me of the crocodile hunter and hes fearless. Intrepid means fearless.

    1. This method tends to be slow but effective in the long term. Typically it is used for dual coding, e.g. to memorize the most important parts of the text AFTER you read and summarized it in your head.

  6. Hi, Dr. Lev.

    For speedreading purposes, how should I make markers for words that have multiple meanings? One example is “mean” which has at least three meanings.

    Should I have a premade compound marker combining all the meanings (intend, unkind, average), or should I have multiple markers for different uses of the word? Or do you suggest something else?

    Thanks for your time.

  7. Hey Dr. Lev

    Now I am sorry for this not catching on that quickly, but I don’t really understand what you are supposed to do in this exercise. Could you please ellaborate?

    Sorry to bother! Have a nice day 🙂

    1. Some people need examples when creating markers.
      If you want to create markers and nothing comes to your mind, you can pick a random word from a dictionary and visualize it.

  8. Thanks a lot Dr. Lev,

    Just to make sure That I get it right,

    I will use
    1. ” the meaning of”
    2. ” the origin of”
    3. Finally the Images

    Please correct me if Im wrong…


  9. Is it possible to use google images at the beginning to come up with markers for words?
    Would you kindly give more details to make this exercise?

  10. sorry but i still don’t understand this exercise quite well, am i supposed to read the words and their definition and create markers and mnemonics for them?

  11. Mnemonic Dictionary already have markers to help to remember a word, liken “abjure” use injure to help to remember after you injured you “give up” or abjure.
    So, the M. Dictionary already have the markers, however we need to construct our own without looking on the answered.

    So, what one should do to train him self to create markers on his own using M. Dictionary?

    1. Basically, if you have markers for everything you need, it is great. If you do not have the right markers, you do need to get creative. Since you are so happy with mnemonic dictionary for words, try to generate your markers for names of famous people and then use the mnemonic dictionary for ideas.

  12. couple questions
    1) keep showing the same word of the day every day.. is there some way to force it change to something different?
    2) how many words should I be learning as a beginner to this concept?
    in 10 minutes time should be doing 7 words, 5 words, 10 words etc?
    and what should be the average saying at higher leve so i can set a goal.

    1. This is something that helps you set up your own creative process. Once you get independent, you may not need it anymore. I am not using the site for my personal needs, 10 words in 10 min is reasonable.

  13. Even though my english is good,I don’t know the meaning of maximum words here.They are really tough.So am i allowed to read the meaning first,if I don’t know the meaning of a particular word?

    1. Of cause. You are allowed to search for the meaning, the etymology, etc. This is an important part of the learning process.

  14. Hi…

    I’m facing difficulty visualizing abstract words, my english is pretty good and I could understand abstract words easily, however, when it gets to visualization its a bit tough.

    Could you please give me an examples of how would you visualize these words:

    Value, Integrity, justice, good,

  15. Hi Lev,
    I’m confused as to how to do this exercise. Do we just choose any word and try remember it by creating a marker? Or do we chunk different words into 1 word for this exercise?
    Think it’s a bit confusingly explained. Thanks

    1. Sometimes it is hard to visualize words. There are mnemonic dictionaries that provide visualizations. This is just the first step, prior to chunking and linking.

  16. I am trying to build markers to help learn a very large technical product Microsoft SQL Server (lots of technical components). I have considered mindmapping it from a high level then perhaps use markers from there as I study one of the numerous components. It seems like I am going to have 1000s of markers though per component. Is this a viable approach to learning a large technical product? I am a beginner at building a MemoryPalace (60 items recall currently)

    1. I build several mindmaps: some are at low-level per component, some connect components together, and some contain high-level metadata. It is important to generate good linking between these mindmaps. Do not use one huge mindmap, break it into many smaller mindmaps of 25-100 objects (3-4 levels of 3-5 objects each).

  17. I did this exercise but not sure if I am doing ti right. It seems that I rely more on the logic and how the word sounds rather than visualization.

    1. Whorl – Think of whirlpool and imagine water going round and round in concentric circles
    2. Niggardly – Means ungenerous. Imagined a person not giving a tip in a restaurant because the waiter was “black”
    3. Preen – dress or groom with elaborate care. It sounds like queen so I imagine a queen looking at the mirror and making sure she likes perfect
    4. Vacuity – meaningless. It comes vacuous meaning vacuum. I imagined arguing with someone and the person’s brain was empty and so his arguments were meaningless
    5. Gossamer – Like spider web (very fine). I thought of gross and then imagined a spider weaving its web
    6. Bloviate – Show –off. I imagined a person’s head blowing up
    7. Codswallop – Nonsense. I couldn’t think of anything
    8. Mollycoddle – pamper. I imagine cuddling
    9. Absquatulate – Run away – Ab(off) + Ulate (leaving quickly). Imagined a thief running away

    Any tips/hints on what I should be doing differently because this doesn’t seem to help my visualization.

  18. I have a question. Is it ok to have markers that change depending on context. An example…Ubiquitous, if I need to remember a topic that is ubiquitous I could imagine that specific item being showered on the world meaning it’s everywhere. Ubiquitous-> Money= money raining down on earth. A music artist being ubiquitous I could picture their face many times being showered on the earth. Is that a good habit to get into or should I break that early and have a set picture for ubiquitous or whatever the word is?


  19. Hi, I really don’t get this exercise. I am Italian, so maybe this is a language problem.
    I understand the usefulness of creating markers for paragraphs or sentences or concepts. But what’s their purpose when you’re using them for single words?
    Maybe this is useful only for words you don’t know the meaning of?

    1. This is just a training exercise. Typically we do not need to remember lists of random words. Even shopping lists are usually anything but random.

  20. Yes, what Elizabeth said. You can also search Google Images, then filter the search to “clip art” and that will usually give you simple images that you can use. Of course, as with anything, it’s not a fail-safe. Definitely useful, though.

  21. I have problems with visual markers creation, too, for abstract words. I saw hints about etymology based markers creation, which are interesting. I also try sometimes to create the marker based on similar sounds words. My main trouble is that I need a lot of time (sometimes more than a minute) to find a good marker. What are tricks and exercises that could help ? Thanks in advance

    1. Everybody has to overcome some difficulties when going through the course, but these are very different difficulties for each student. I have no idea how you are creating your markers, so I can only suggest to be more open to what makes you special. Try to go with visual associations that are natural for you.

    1. Some people have issues with visualization.
      Instead, try to look for a minute and complex images (massive photos or paintings) and recall all the details from your memory.

  22. would be a good place for this exercise as well. You can try thinking of markers for all of the random words while learning them.

  23. Zdravo!
    Im confused regarding the markers techniques, do we have to use the “etimology” marking with the the phrase and connect them to the image marker? Or is just a visual marker enough? Thanks!

  24. Hi Lev.
    I noticed that with this exercise and the relaxation one, when being tired from work, I hear voices in the back of my head when trying to focus.
    The voices I hear are mostly people that I have interacted with throughout the day.
    I only noticed that phenomena before when sometimes shortly before falling asleep.

    Now I think it might just be my brain processing all the input that I got during the day. Is that right?
    And what kind of advice do you have to keep this from not happening, because, honestly it is disctracting me from focusing.

    Thank you very much

  25. Hi,
    I can create images to the words in the dictionary (some easier than others), but my main problem is that I can’t link the word to the visual marker that I created.

    For example taking the word you explained 3 months ago: Aberrant

    ‘Aberrant is not normal, like something very big or something very small, the image is of a giant marrying a dwarf or someone taking a “road less traveled by” ‘

    Now I have the image in my mind vividly, but how do I link it to the word it self “Aberrant”?

    I’d appreciate it if you could explain in detail :)!

    1. 1. search google “aberrant etymology”
      2. ab=away, errare=stray
      3. ab sounds like “Abe”, errare sounds like “error”.,
      4. “Honest Abe was so tall he made errors large and small” 🙂

      1. So, just to be clear
        I have to connect the image (i.e., visual marker) to the word by some kind of a phrase that contains the word itself – so that when I read the word I remember the phrase with the marker.

        I want to move to the next weeks exercises, but I want to be able to create visual markers with ease.

        BTW, I tried the “etymology technique” (yeah, that’s what I’ll call it :P), and it is really easier to create visual markers now. Thank you very much :)!!!

  26. hello,

    I am new to this course. I started today. I have a lot of expectations for this course at the same time I feel intimidated.

    The post said this:
    “Open Mnemonic Dictionary. Think of an abstract word and a way of remembering the word. If no words comes to your mind, choose randomly from GRE word list. Now search the word in the dictionary. Try to pick up new tricks. Add your own tricks to the dictionary to help the community.”
    i am confused, what exactly am i supposed to be doing here?

    I am not very good with the words on the list. so what i tired doing is – I took the first 10 words, tried to find a way to remember them and then went back and tried to test my recapitulation. Am i doing this right? Will this help in the first week training program, or should i skip this list and find a simpler list of words, train as per these instructions and not focus on learning new words now??

    i am not sure if such a question was answered before, i would very much appreciate it, if you could specifically answer my question. thank you.

  27. Hi,
    The weekly schedule is really helpful. Just to be crystal clear on the purpose of creating visual markers with random abstract words: is it like building a mental new dictionary where gradually we will have an image for each abstract word to use when we speed-read? Do you always associate the same image to the same abstract word or depending on the context of the text you read, you may build new images for words you had previously built images? Thank you very much.

    1. 1. Yes, this is like handling totally new stuff.
      2. If you overuse a dictionary, the markers start to mix up. So if you feel that some dictionary entry is being used too often, you need to find additional representations, maybe flavors of the main entry with slightly different contexts.

  28. Hi,

    I started using the mnemonic dictionary and am finding it difficult to create markers for abstract words. For eg., abdicate, aberrant etc.,. It would be of great help if you could give some pointer regarding how to create easy markers for these words.

    1. When you learn complex stuff it is very similar to learning other languages.

      Abdicate is give up the throne – the image is of a king falling from the throne chair – or being taken (abducted) by peasants (etymology: from Latin abdicat- ‘renounced,’ from the verb abdicare, from ab- ‘away, from’ + dicare ‘declare.’)
      Aberrant is not normal, like something very big or something very small, the image is of a giant marrying a dwarf or someone taking a “road less traveled by” (etymology: from Latin aberrant- ‘wandering away,’ from the verb aberrare, from ab- ‘away, from’ + errare ‘to stray.’)

      We are going to address some of these issues in the dedicated language class we are working on…

  29. Are you supposed to create a vivid image of abstract word? Like can it be elaborate or is it better that it’s short and to the point?

    Also, when speed reading do you now use these images that you’ve trained yourself to remember? I’m fascinated by this practice. (I just recently started this course).

    I have one question that I wasn’t sure where to ask and people might be interested in the answer. Perhaps you have no good answer. The question is this. Mortimer J. Adler, the one that helped compile the original ‘Great Books of the Western World’, contends that speed reading isn’t a good idea for the Great books, because you need to ponder on them, sentence by sentence, word by word. He’s fine with speed-reading for newspapers and such but like I said, doesn’t think it is useful for reading the great books, like Artistotle, Kant, ect..

    Since he was a great authority in the field, and wrote many excellent books, including ‘How to read a book’ (which I found to be simply fantastic) I don’t think he can be dismissed off hand as some kind of a speed-reading hater. (since a picture tells a thousand words and a video even more, here he is, in his own words)

    And last but not least, have you read any of the authors of the great books, the Plato’s, Euclid, Machiavelli, Machiavelli, Einstein’s ect. with speed reading and found you were able to absorb the content?

    I suppose it’s easy to read something if it’s not over your head. But if it’s over your head, you might read the idea but not really get it.

    What say you?

    1. 1. You train your visual memory to work by creating vivid images for everything. When fully trained, you use the visual memory pretty much automatically: you do not have too much time for complex markers
      2. When speedreading you pause at the end of each mini-section (1-2 paragraphs) to generate markers and link them. You control the duration of pause and you can decide to reread the paragraphs. As books get profound the pauses get
      longer and rereading happens more often. Alternatively, the dense information [like wikipedia] may require you to stop after 2-3 sentences.
      3. Machiavelly did not require rereading but required a long pause at each mini-section to analyze what I just read. Einstein was not a great reading and I preferred to switch to Feynman instead. Plato is very simple for modern mind and is surprisingly fun and fast reading. Never read Euclid never felt I want to.

  30. Dr. Lev,

    I’m particularly new to the community and trying to go along with the course and do the training until I get to that “normal super learner level,” however, one of my goals is to utilize this new ability to super learn to increase my skill set such as coding and web development, as well as learning foreign languages. I see a lot of talk about foreign languages throughout the community of the course but are there any specific lessons you guys offer to help with that specifically or is it in the udemy course? I haven’t looked at all but wanted to ask.


    1. Your English is supposed to be good enough to understand the meaning of the words… There are some other tricks for learning foreign languages.

      1. Even though my english is good,I don’t know the meaning of maximum words here.They are really tough.So am i allowed to read the meaning first,if I don’t know the meaning of a particular word?

      2. I do not understand the instructions. Where is this going? What’s it about. I know its for creating markers, but are we to check ourselves somehow? The instructions are very ambiguous, I think.

        1. This is an exercise suggestion for practice not for performance evaluation. If you need a number corresponding to your skill level, try other exercises.

      3. Hello Lev! Thank you for all the knowledge you transmit in your courses, loving them. Do you have one to learn a foreign language in a more effective way? Appreciated!

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