2018 Science | How to memorise the whole WSC syllabus in one month
Desperate to cram the WSC curriculum when your regionals are in one month? Our researchers from the Scholars Department have devised a way to help you memorize the curriculum! Check it out!
Disclaimer: Following the instructions below do not guarantee results. Should a Scholar fail to achieve the aforementioned superhuman feat, they must not:
Blame their alpacas
Attempt to extract the syllabus from another Scholar’s memories because the ethics of that is still up for debate.
Week 1: The Groundwork
Make a list of every item on the syllabus (or you know, print out the WSC syllabus webpages).
Re-categorise and divide items into smaller, more memorable sections (a.k.a. chunking) according to your ideal learning style (by subject, by amount of research required etc).
Research and/or compile everything into one giant note folder. As Holmes used to say, “You can’t make bricks without clay.”
Choose a location you know best/make up one and memorise the layout (or at the very least, the specific route you take every time you walk through it). This shall be your Mind Palace.
Week 1.5: Encoding
Use mnemonics (not just acronyms but associations and ideas) to work through each section individually. Don’t think about the entire syllabus just yet. Just work section by section (Note: Your brain may have done you a favour and encoded some bits while you were doing research. In which case, good for you).
Re-encode sections multiple times, increasing the time interval between encoding sessions as you go. Spaced retrieval is by far the most effective method to remember according to decay theory, where memories become harder to retrieve as you leave it to gather dust in your Palace.
Start mapping out pegs for specific sections of the syllabus in your Mind Palace.
Place the sections, either literally or metaphorically, on those pegs. Ideally, you should be able to “see” them as you walk through your Mind Palace. For example, seeing a memory fading away to remember decay theory when you “walk in the door”.
Week 2: Test Run
Continue encoding sections, pegs and assigning sections to pegs using methods outlined for Week 1.5.
If a peg doesn’t stick as well in your Mind Palace, then re-encode with a more memorable (read: wackier and/or specific) mnemonic. Remember, your priority should be effective memorisation, not whether someone will judge how you memorise stuff.
To strengthen your associations, try playing songs from a playlist as you walk through that Mind Palace. Ideally, each part of the music helps you recall a specific room in the Palace, like how you instantly recall a lyric just by hearing the corresponding tune (Note: colour-coding rooms also work. Anything that makes each room stand out works).
Week 3: Doubling Down
At this point, you should have finished researching every item on the syllabus and moved on to using your Mind Palace as your main “storage system”. In which case: assign, encode, test, repeat.
If you haven’t, not all hope is lost. That’s what Week 3 is for: assign-encode-test-repeat.
At this point, do not make changes once you have assigned a specific mnemonic/peg to a section. Your brain won’t have time to adapt if you keep switching around the furniture in your Palace.
Once a peg is firmly encoded, you can switch to revisiting it at fixed intervals.
Consistency is key. I repeat: CONSISTENCY IS KEY.
Week 4: No Vacancy
Here comes the hardest part: Cut encoding time for new info by 90%.
Yes, you read that correctly. Either focus on revisiting and strengthening your retrieval of existing pegs (hopefully, most of which you can recall by visualisation alone), or risk losing the not-so-encoded ones as your brain struggles to hold everything.
Hang up the “No Vacancy” sign on Your Palace. Visit, revisit, re-revisit.
Relax. Your Palace is now a hotel, and your only priority is to make sure every peg you have stays in your mental Ritz-Carlton. Don’t guilt-trip them for taking up space, or they’ll go out the window the moment you start getting nervous during the Debates/Challenge/Bowl.