Quote from Bicycleboy
Hello all. I was talking to an old friend of mine this weekend about good ways to memorise information. He told me he used to do to remember passages word for word by recording himself, and then listen to the recording in an endless loop. To prove how good it worked he recited the To be or Not To be soliloquy that he had learned for high school. The thing is that my friend is 37, and had to memorise this 20 years ago! He said that he would listen to it as he was drifting off to sleep, or in the evening when he was relaxing. He called it memorising by osmosis.
What I do sometimes, and it works for retention of info before a test, is to write lines like they would make me do in primary school when I did something wrong, which was most of the time. I find it works but only for a very short while, and it has helped for a few exams.
Yes, I have found that writing down facts and figures over and over helps, in addition to thinking up mneumonics and acronyms with which to prompt myself. However, I find I quickly forget information learned this way following an exam. In addition, I can't remember the last item in a series without going through the whole thing. (And your friend would probably find it hard to remember the second to last line of Halmet's soliloquy unless he went through it all).
It is far superior to learn the whys, wherefores and becauses to keep this stuff firmly in your head and immediately accessible. Putting fact and figures in context really makes a difference. But when an exam is looming I have limited time and resort to memorization by any means.
With all due respect, your friend's feat does not seem that impressive. Actors (especially stage actors) memorize large amounts of texts and then must recite them with feeling. And they are not especially talented at memorization. It is far easier to memorize a narrative (which is why many use them as mneumonics -- oh, oh, oh, to touch and feel...).