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How to Memorize Quotes, Poems, and Book Passages Verbatim

06/12/2015 01:55 pm ET | Updated Jun 11, 2016

What's an effective strategy to memorize a book verbatim?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

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This is the method that I use to remember information word-for-word. If you work with this method you will be able to remember any written information with ease. You can use it to remember quotes, poems, definitions or verses from religious text.

Remembering information verbatim can help you in presenting, negotiations or meetings. You can also use it to hold on to information so that you can call upon it when you need a bit of inspiration. It is also helpful in exams to remember key definitions of key concepts.

As an example of my method I will be using a quote called Success that has been attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson. The first element of this memory method is to find the key words that will help you remember the rest of the text.

Have a look at the key words that I have picked out in bold:

Success

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

Once you have found your keywords, the next step is to create images out of them and place it on a location that is already in your long-term memory. To demonstrate this let's use a tree to remember the key concepts. Why a tree? Because  it is a location in your long-term memory  and it represents growth for me.

This may seem silly but just do it, it only works if you work with it:

Now imagine the roots are laughing and intelligent people (you can imagine Einstein) are sitting at the base of the tree. Imagine children hugging the trunk of the tree (affection of children), and on the branches you can imagine a nest (honest) full of critics.  Review: To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics. You will notice that we have connected the first few key words to your system, and with a bit of repetition you will have it all in place.

If you choose, you can continue to connect the rest of the information to the leaves, thorns, and the fruit or to a park where the tree is planted. Once you have the key concepts connected to your long term memory peg then you need to read through the material a few times. The key word images will make the text 'stickier' and your knowledge of English will help you to remember the syntax. Make the material come to life and you will remember more!

One of the biggest enemies of learning anything is overwhelm. You don't have to memorize the whole book, you just have to remember one paragraph at a time.

My friend, the late great Creighton Carvello, memorized Ernest Hemingway's novel The Old Man and the Sea and each word's numerical position. For example, you might have asked him the 6th word on Line 15 on Page 8 and he could name it. He did not use rote learning; he used a method similar to the one I have just shown you.

Like with anything in life it takes a bit of practice to be able to remember text with ease. When you master this, you will be able to remember any information that you need for your business or your life word-for-word. When you really know the information, you can then act on it.

I hope this helps.

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