I know I’m getting ahead of myself here but I’m interested in next year trying myself at a competition. What sort of times am I looking at working towards in cards/numbers etc to maybe not place last :joy:.


You can use the score calculator here to get a general idea of where you stand at the moment and then compare your score to the world rankings and you’ll see that 1,000 points overall will put you pretty much in the middle of things.

The world record in each category will be equivalent to 1,000 points, so go for 10% of that (100 points) in each category to get your 1,000 initial points. From there gradually bring it up to 150, 200, 250, etc.

Make sure that you aim for balance. A lot of people go crazy over speed cards and you’ll find that it’ll be easier to get points through putting another hour towards practicing Names & Faces or Random Words rather than the event everyone wants score high in.

Also make sure that you got enough memory palaces/loci on hand. This will take time to set up, but you said next year after all. Some disciplines have 2 attempts, so make sure you don’t just have one palace per discipline.

As far as placing last or not… that depends a lot on who else is there. Which country’s competition did you consider for your debut? Check with the organizer and see if you can get results from previous competitions. Sometimes 100 points is not last place anymore and sometimes 1,000 still is last place… it just depends on the competition.

Thanks for the reply this answers a lot of questions for me :slight_smile: it would be a UK competition… Preferably something small to begin with if such things exist? .Iv only just started my journey into this but would like something to work towards.

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If you haven’t seen it yet, there is an online league on Memory League. (The current season’s info is here.)

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Thanks josh

I’d love to enter a live competition, too - in the UK. And I’m very happy (indeed, would expect) to come last! (Which would, I’m sure, get the vote of whoever would then be elevated to second from last.) :slight_smile:

Thanks for the score calculator link, bjoern - very interesting.

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Hey James

Might see u at a competition one day
maybe We can battle it out for last place :joy:

I’ll win! :slight_smile:

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I always recommend entering a competition as early as possible in your training - that way you know exactly what they’re like, and you can shape your future training more efficiently to prepare for the next one! Don’t worry about coming last, it’s the taking part that counts! :smile:

I might organise a Friendly championship this year if there’s enough demand for it - where and when would you both prefer to compete?


Don’t be so sure about you placing last… in addition to the overall, there is a separate kids, junior, adult, and senior ranking… so if you end up being the only one in the senior category, you’ll rank first there. :wink:

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I hadn’t thought about that! :slight_smile: (One of the advantages of no longer being within shouting distance of 20. :slight_smile: )


I’m unsure of where the competitions are held?

That sounds interesting, Ben. Thank you for suggesting the possibility. I live in North Yorkshire so a lot might depend on where it was, simply because of having to factor in transport and accommodation costs. Unless I have some conflicting engagement that I can’t get out of (not sure what that might be at the moment :slight_smile: ), most times should be fine for me, other than the tail-end of the year.


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I live Nottinghamshire way. Robin Hood Country lol. Like James said would depend on the location and if I could fit it around work and childcare etc. What categories are competed in competition if someone doesn’t mind elaborating.

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One way to be outstanding in your field - be the only one in it!


These are the ten disciplines in a ‘national standard’ competition. The world records on some of these slides are out of date, but they should give you the idea of how it works.

Every discipline is about memorising as much as possible in a given time, then recalling it in a fixed time afterwards - all on paper, unless it’s a modern competition done on computers.


I agree with all those who said to just compete and learn what it is like. I have competed twice as a senior in Australia, and the best thing which came out of the first competition was all the advice I gained from other competitors. They were incredibly free with techniques and details and available for advice from then on.

You won’t make a fool of yourself. Everyone was a beginner at some stage and so few get to the stage of even giving it a go.


Thanks, Ben. That’s very helpful. I can see why it’s a tough thing to do. (I’m not very good at Names in the Memory League, where only a first name is involved, so the ‘two Names’ discipline would be hard.) With penalties for mistakes, I can see why people can do well - but get a low score. And I’d definitely need more (or larger) memory palaces!

But I’d still love to give it a try if possible!

Thanks ben this is great!

Looks like I got a lot of work to do :confused:

To clarify something about the Names event:
Every face has two names associated with it. One first name, and one last name. If you recall both of them correctly, you get 2 points. If you only write down the first name and you write it in the correct place, ie the position for the first name which is a bit to the left, you get 1 point. If you only recall and write down the last name, and you write it in the correct place, ie the position for the last name which is a bit to the right, you get 1 point. On the other hand, should you write down a name in the “wrong” place, eg the first name in the place where the last name should be, you get 0 points for that name even though you might have recalled that this name belongs to that person.

With that said: it’s a perfectly fine and valid strategy for beginners (and even intermediate memory athletes) to just memorise the first name of each face (or whichever is easier) and entirely skip those names that are simply too hard. :slight_smile: