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THE LINKING TECHNIQUE
You will recall from previous articles that I have described how to remember a list using it a journey technique or the number rhyme peg system. I also described the principles underlying a superpower memory. What I'm going to tell you about this month is another technique for remembering a sequence of information such as a list. I'm going to teach you how to remember the order of the planets in our solar system from the Sun. Before I do that can you tell me what they are?
Well, to put you out of your misery, I will tell you. The order of the planets from the Sun is as follows:
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto.
The technique that I am going to tell you about is called the Linking Technique. As the name implies, it links each item in the form of story. At this point, it might be a good idea for you to go back and read the article on the principles of a superpower memory because you will need to have them in the back of your mind as you read on. Very simply, the technique relies on making a vivid story that not only helps you remember each of the items, but also the order in which they appear. Consider the following story and as you read on, try and vividly imagine what is being described.
Imagine a huge ball of glowing orange fire that represents the SUN. Feel the heat coming off this huge orange ball and see the flames dancing around it. Out of this orange ball is a huge tube - it is a thermometer. As the glowing ball gets hotter and hotter the MERCURY inside the thermometer rises as it expands with the heat. Eventually the Mercury gets so hot that it explodes out of the end of the thermometer with a huge bang and sprays Mercury droplets everywhere. These Mercury droplets are tiny silver beads of metal that fall on to a beautiful blonde goddess wearing a white toga. This lady exudes love and compassion because she is the goddess VENUS, the goddess of love. To get away from droplets of Mercury, Venus starts digging a hole in the ground and she does, she piles up a huge mound of brown EARTH. As she digs away furiously the pile of earth gets bigger and bigger and bigger and upsets the next door neighbour. An angry red face (Mars is a small red planet) appears over the fence and start shouting because the noise has interrupted him eating his huge MARS bar. Outraged, he throws his Mars bar away but unfortunately it hits a huge muscular fellow who happened to be walking by. Unfortunately for Mars this is JUPITER the King of the gods. As Jupiter walks towards the commotion, on his white T-shirt are the letters S U N that stand for SATURN, URANUS and NEPTUNE. Behind him a little dog that looks just like the cartoon character PLUTO trots at his heels.
Now to remember the order of planets all you need to do is recall the story starting at the sun. Imagine the hot sun. What do you see coming out of the sun? A tube that contains MERCURY of course. Who gets covered by the Mercury as it falls? The goddess VENUS. What does Venus do to escape from the burning metal? She digs a hole and builds up a pile of EARTH. Who gets upset by the noise made by digging the hole? The little red faced man (MARS is known as the red planet) eating a MARS bar. When he throws the MARS bar, who does it hit? It hits JUPITER the king of the gods. What has Jupiter got on his T-shirt? The letters S, U and N which stand for SATURN, URANUS and NEPTUNE. Who is the little dog following the chap wearing the T-shirt? The little dog looks just like PLUTO.
To really reinforce the story in your mind, you need to review it at least five times over a couple of days. When you review it, you need to vividly experience the story in all its detail. Then, whenever you are asked to recount the order of the planets from the sun, all you need to do is think of the hot orange ball of heat with the tube of MERCURY……….
So can you use this for other information? Of course the answer is yes. If you need to learn any factual information, you can create a story to link the information. You could remember a shopping list, or the main themes running through a particular novel or play. You could have the main points concerning a particular answer to an exam question linked in this way. There are really no limits to how you can use this system. You can make your story as long or as short as you like, it is really up to you. Just make it vivid and outstanding and reinforce it at least five times.
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4th March 1998: