Today Annie told me that she has a new project. What is it? To learn where every single country is, what its capital is, its president, and ten current news items from each.
That's a handful.
I'm not willing to keep up on the presidents or news items, but countries and capitals rarely change. That's useful information to have. There were a couple times (Qatar and Hong Kong) where I didn't even know exactly where the country was before we flew in.
So, I'm modifying the project for me. I'm going to learn where all the countries are, their capitals, and MAYBE their flags. This, of course, turned into a friendly competition, which will in turn become a bitter rivalry.
By October 12th we have to both get down South America, Europe, and Asia.
At first that seemed really hard, but I spent a couple hours today and have already learned every single country in the entire world! That includes all those pesky island nations like Wake Island in Oceania and St. Vincent and the Grenadines (sounds like a band, doesn't it?) in the Caribbean.
That means that if you name any country I can point to it on a map. Or, without a map, I could probably tell you which countries border it on which sides.
You can do this, too. Believe me, I have no natural aptitude for geography. In fact, some of my early mistakes were really bad. Like... I had to think twice before clicking on GERMANY.
Anyway, here's my method.
Go to this map quiz site.
There are eight different zones. Central America has a strict one and a normal one. Pick the normal one.
Choose two, say South America and Africa, and alternate taking the two quizzes.
If you have no idea where a country is, make sure you use all three tries to discover what the unknown countries are. So maybe you don't find Togo, but you notice where Guinea-Bissau, Benin, and San Tome and Principe are.
After each quiz, write down your score. Your score will increase with each time, and eventually you'll get it all correct. Once you get one all correct, pick another area to rotate in.
By the end you'll have gotten a perfect score in every single one. Then you can go back to the first ones to double check that you still remember. I found that once I got a perfect score on one, I would never miss one again.
I used a lot of mnemonics to remember them. For example, Grenada is the Southernmost island in it's chain, so I imagined it being a grenade being dropped. Croatia looks like a C. Tajikistan looks like a tangent to China (weird, but that's how I remember it). If I couldn't come up with a mnemonic I would just make a note of which countries were to each cardinal direction. That is harder to remember, but it helps for more than one country at once.
I sometimes thought that a region would take me tons of tries, but even the hardest ones (Caribbean and Africa) only took five tries each.
I don't know how long it took me to learn this total, but doing nothing but practicing for two hours should knock it out. Learn some countries and post your tips and scores and such to the comments.
Two tips for countries that are hard to find: Guam is south of the Marianas Islands and St. Martin (or St. Maarten if you're Dutch) is just South of Anguilla.
Oh hey, 5 years after you wrote this, I found it! I am the author of the geography quizzes at Lizard Point (the site you linked to :) ) and I enjoyed reading the tips you have such as Croatia looks like a C. I have a facebook page for the quizzes with a photo album dedicated to tips such as these. If you're still interested in keeping your country locations fresh, please drop by https://www.facebook.com/LizardPointGeography
I have also just updated the quizzes with some new features that make it a little more fun, and a little easier to help you learn.
the trick isn't learning them. the trick is remembering after the contest ends. and that's where the diligence and masochism to use SuperMemo comes in. it's pretty much the one thing that godforsaken program is suited to.
Jonah's right, the maintenance is torture!
As this "friendly" competition evolves in to bitter rivalry, my method:
1. Blank maps that I've printed, to get locations and capitals memorized. Try this site:
I like the ones that are blank, but have stars where the cap. cities are located.
2. The map quiz site Tynan put up for quizzing myself daily, then weekly.
3. This is a really good map of global regions:
4. The old standby, Wikipedia, for figuring out country leadership:
I'm still trying to decide how I'll learn and keep up with all major current events. Sleep little? Anything to win :)
I created an app and website that uses visual mnemonics to help you remember the countries and capitals of the world.
It's free to use on the website www.hippofy.com/ktg/. Give it a try if you like :-)
Hi. I found (for my kids) this one: eduworldmap.com This is a website, not a flash game! There are many options to make learning very effective and fun. User can select particular objects to learn, choose the way of giving answers and many others.
Mnemonics help a lot on memorizing every name. I even came up with this one: For the caribbean islands , Santa lucia is below Martinique , which is Below Dominica , Guadalupe , and Montserrat ; So i would just say that a Great Woman called Santa Lucia married a Guy called Martinique , and together had 3 daughters: Dominica , Guadalupe and Monsterrat . It´s actually kind of fun to learn countrie´s locations this way.
Great tip, Emmanuel. I (lizardpoint) have a facebook fan page that includes an album of tips like this. May I have your permission to add this tip and give you credit? Here's the memory tips album: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.594023130617090.1073741827.197924703560270&type=3
Finally Americans will know where my birthplace Belgium is situated. Here in Belgium we always make fun of the Americans and there geographical knowledge, hopefully this will change in the future. Much gratz for coming up with this project, tynan!
Cool idea! I just tried Asia.
However, Tajikistan is normal to China, not tangent. Maybe next you could challenge Annie to a geometry quiz?
Somewhere off the coast of Central America is an island. Right now it's uninhabited, besides some monkeys. Long beaches reach from the palm trees to the ocean.
The island is many acres in size, so big that if you were in the middle of the jungle you'd forget that you're even on an island. If you looked out from the hills in the middle you'd remember it instantly.
One day that island will be Tynan Island.
What if I could clue you in to a foolproof way on how to make more friends in a brand new country, within a week of arriving?
I've personally carried out this experiment three different times, and it's worked like a charm regardless of circumstances.
This method isn't a secret; in fact, it's a common passion shared by citizens of every country.
And it's been around for HUNDREDS, if not, THOUSANDS of years.