The Idea

The Loci memory method is famously used by Derren Brown and is one of the reasons he can hold such sway over his audiences. If our students can tap into just a small part of this, then they have the chance to increase their information retention during exams and as a result improve their overall grade in all subjects.

The download on this page shows the layout of the exam halls where the exams will be conducted. The images will allow placement of information and ideas for recall during exam.

Download PowerPoint here

The Method

The person wishing to remember information should:

1) Have a list of “memory snapshots”, in this case coloured patches in the order below.


2) Associate information to be remembered with each colour.

3) Repeat for different topics and different subjects.

The technique also allows for users who feel comfortable to place ideas above and below the colours to maximise the number of locations available.

The History

The ‘Loci Memory Method’ originates in Greece from Simonides of Ceos (c. 556 BC – 469 BC). Simonides was a Greek poet and witness to a terrible accident. The roof of a dining hall of the house of a wealthy man, Scopas in Crannon in Thessaly, collapsed and caused the death of all inside. Simonides, who had left the hall for a moment, was the only survivor.

It was not possible to identify those who were killed. However, when asked by the mourners, Simonides was able to identify the dead because he remembered the locations where each victim had been seated just before the accident happened. Simonides realised the importance of location for memory and discovered the importance of “places” or “loci” for good memory and the technique has been adapted many times to this day.

“Cultural Memory Studies: An International and Interdisciplinary Handbook”, 2008, Astrid Erll, Ansgar Nünning

Famous Non-Fictional and Fictional Users

Eight-time World Memory Champion, Dominic O'Brien

Mentalist and Illusionist, Derren Brown

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.

BBC’s Doctor Who