Can I memorize the Major system in parts?

Is it possible to use the Major System in parts while I’m learning it, or do I have to memorize all 000-999 images before I study?


I think you could probably make them up on the spot and learn them as you go. I would experiment.

Instead of using PAO for that, it might be easier to use a 3-digit Major System like this:

  • 500 – uLySSeS
  • 300 – MoSeS
  • etc.

There are some pre-made lists on the Major System Examples page.


To make it clear, Major system and PAO are two different approaches. The Major system is probably easier to use ad-hoc for large numbers. For example, I use the Major system for phone numbers, certainly without predetermined peg words for all ten-digit numbers.

In cases where a certain number (or any other concept–this is important) is used repeatedly (such as 300mg) you can also create a peg word without necessarily using a system. The system is a convenience to facilitate memorizing the peg word initially but in the long run is unimportant. For example, you could use the movie “300”, the “Indy 500”, etc.


If you want to use the Major System then there is a Database. On the website is also information provided on how the Major System works:


I’ll echo others in saying there’s really no application here for a PAO system; Major has you covered.

I do want to follow-up on Josh’s suggestion, though. For me, it has been more natural to start my Major associations with the actual number/letter being used. In other words, “uLySSeS” would never work for “500” for me; I need my “500” associations to actually begin with an “L.” Oddly, though, I can tack on additional letters at the end with no problem. For “500” I might use “LaSSoS.”

But, as someone else mentioned, you can also use any image that’s relevant to you for that number. If you immediately think of the Indianapolis 500 race when you hear “500,” then maybe a racecar should be your image.

I’ll be interested in hearing how this goes. I’m thinking you may find it challenging to remember certain specifics if, say, your “500” image ends up following a lot of different drugs. In my own experience, if I’m constantly seeing the same image in certain contexts, then that becomes my go-to image…even when, in some situations, it turns out to be the wrong image. (Hope that makes sense.)



I don’t know if my method would work for everyone, but I learned the images by sounding the consonants as I would when trying to recall and image, pausing, and then tacking on the rest of the word in order to link them.

When learning the image for 10, I would sound out “tisss” (“t” + “s”). I would pause on the “s” and then complete it by saying “Redding”. That would bring up the image, “oTiS redding”. It would train my brain to complete the sound “tisss” as “tis-redding”.

When learning aVoCado (87), I would see 87, voice “V-Kuh” (87), pause, and complete the “kuh” as “kado”. “Vuh-Kado” would bring up “avocado”.

For Ulysses, I would probably practice looking at 500 and voicing how I would read it if I couldn’t recall the image: “lissis”. Then I would say the word “ulysses”. That would create a link between the sound “lisses” and “Ulysses”.

Related: What Are the Most Complex and Unintuitive Major System Associations? :slight_smile:

1 Like

It seems to me that you want to learn to read some words before you want to learn any word.
I don’t approve of this approach but if it works for you, go for it.
I don’t approve of this approach because you will develop “no image #” and “yes image #”
I think that if you want to go that route, just have a single digit major system or shape system. 500 might become Ale ass ass, an ass having its ass in an ale and another ass siting on the first ass.

This way you will get to develop a full system and get more satisfaction from it, I think, because you will become ready for any number you want to memorize at any time with no favorite numbers. You need to develop favorite images and not favorite numbers, I think.

1 Like

Make up whatever words you like.

The Major System has been around for hundreds of years. It’s a method for turning numbers into consonants. Making them into words is your job.

PAO is a different memory technique that is often combined with the Major System but you don’t have to use PAO

Yes there are convenient lists. It can be hard to come up with good words sometimes and they help. But they are resources not prescriptions.