How to use 21st Night to learn content

tl;dr: to memorize content, you should try: understanding the context, constructing a narrative, making up a mnemonic, or using a memory palace. Put whatever technique you use in your 21st Night explanation, and remind yourself in the hints.

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A lot of what you’ll need to learn for an exam, interview, or really any test of your knowledge is content.

Content (as opposed to processes) are facts. In other words, content is what you have to memorize, instead of figure out.

The easiest way to learn content is always to start by understanding it. For example, you could technically brute-force memorize the events of the American Revolutionary War, but it’ll be a lot easier to remember that a guy named George Washington becomes President at the end if you understand the connection between him being the general at the beginning.

Beyond simple understanding, there are a few different ways to memorize content that can be helpful. 21st Night can help you with all of them.

1. Construct a narrative

This can either be a real narrative or a made-up one. This narrative should go in your explanation, and a reminder of it in your hints.

Real narrative:

You’re tasked with remembering that the radius and the ulna are the bones of the forearm: radius is thumb side, ulna is little finger side. You can memorize that, or you can memorize that the ulna is the karate chop bone, while the radius is the clothesline (like the wrestling move) bone.

It’s a silly real-life scenario, and easy to imagine. Karate chop with the ulna, clothesline with the radius: those images won’t leave your head anytime soon.

Made-up narrative:

Alternatively, to memorize the radius and ulna, you can imagine Littlefinger (from Game of Thrones) plotting an UL(NA)timate plan. His plans are spoiled by the RADIo, his opposite.

Again, visualize this. Littlefinger’s ulnatimate plan being spoiled by the radio (presumably someone just blabs them and now everyone knows). If you needed to memorize the bones of the arm, you might want to keep going, like if people who listen to the ulnatimate plan find it humerus.

2. Use a mnemonic.

Put the mnemonic itself in your hint, and define it in your explanation.

For example, let’s keep with the bones of the arm: humerus connects to the capitulum and trochlea. The trochlea connects to the ulna, which is connected to the radius.

Mnemonic: HUM Country-TRap UNtil the RAve.

It’s memorable (old horse road rave remix, anyone?), I’ve got everything in the right order, and I can match what’s paired with what.

3. Associate facts with points in space

You might know this as a memory palace technique.

Now, anatomy is easy to learn spatially, because your body is right there. Point at each part of the body as you name it, and remind yourself to do that in an hint.

What if it was something more abstract, like a list of the US Presidents? Well, you can picture a physical list in front of you, and point at each item on the list as you name it.

A full memory palace is even more elaborate, and is used when you need to remember a lot of things at once (like if you needed to memorize the periodic table). Then, you could walk around a 3d space, like your bedroom, and associate spots in your bedroom with elements.

Keep the associations in your explanation, and include a picture!

Combine techniques

There’s no need to just use one technique at a time. Make your made-up narrative into a mnemonic, or imagine a real life narrative occurring in your physical memory palace.

It does require some amount of work to come up with these, but they’re worth it if you’re having trouble remembering content.

To reiterate, though, it’ll be much easier if you understand it, first. We human beings are contextual creatures, and it’s way easier for us to understand things, then memorize them, than try to memorize them with no connection at all.