How to Develop a Photographic Memory for UPSC Exam

“Memory… is the diary that we all carry about with us.” – Oscar Wilde

Any IAS aspirant would know that clearing the intimidating civil services exam require a good understanding of many subjects in the UPSC syllabus and of socio-political events happening in the country. But any prudent aspirant would also appreciate the importance of remembering a lot of facts to succeed in this exam. There are certain things you can’t get away without memorizing. For example, the important articles of the Constitution, certain chief dates and names in history, geographic features, quotations, etc.  have to be learned by heart. It is no mean feat to learn all of that by rote and reproduce them in the exam hall without mistakes. A few gifted people would find it easy because of their photographic memories (also known as eidetic memory). But for the rest of us, mugging up is always a disliked chore. What if you could develop this photographic memory and have the ability to reproduce names, facts, numbers, etc. with ease? Read on to find out how…

Photographic memory implies remembering the exact details of something you have seen.


How to develop a photographic memory?

The following illustration demonstrates how you can develop this super talent:

Out of your control


In your control




As you see, you cannot change the genes you were born with. If you are lucky enough to have a photographic memory by birth, good for you! But for the others, there are things you can do that would help you develop this skill. This will definitely aid you in your IAS exams.



Have a healthy diet: eat only healthy food. Avoid junk and processed food. Healthy diet increases your brain power and has a lot of benefits. Processed and junk food takes longer time to digest and does a lot of harm to your body. It in no way enhances your memory.

Be physically active: being physically active does good to your mind also. Being lethargic induces your brain to be inactive. Your mind will be sharp and you can concentrate better if you are physically fit.

Meditate: meditation is a powerful tool that augments your concentration and memory directly. Engage in a ten-minute meditation every day and enjoy huge benefits in your IAS preparation.



Do mental exercises daily: keeping your mind active is a good way to enhance its memorization skills. Do some crosswords, puzzles, etc.

Practice mind mapping: mind mapping is an effective memorization tool that helps you recall huge amounts of data in a very short time. Read more…

Example of a Mind Map (BYJU’S Infographics for better memorization) to remember all the major tribes of India:




Learn about mind palaces and implement it: this is another scientific technique that you can benefit from if you practice.

Chunking: chunking refers to clubbing similar things together for ease of recall. With practice, you can remember loads of data by chunking or clumping together data.

Use imagery: associating words with images is a useful tool to enhance your memory because human beings remember ‘seen’ things more as compared to ‘heard’ things. So, relating an image to a word or point can help you remember it better.

Minimize distractions: this is self-explanatory. You must keep yourself absolutely free from distractions if you want to develop a photographic memory.


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