How to memorise the Major System itself?

I have assigned objects to 00-99. However, I cannot even remember the first 10 correctly.

How can I remember the objects in the first place?


Practise makes perfect. I will have to remember 1000 objects for a 000-999 major system and the only way is to work with it… a lot.

I used Anki and it worked well. Its an electronic flashcard system which uses spaced repitition to remind you, just before you forget. Its slighty complicated to get it setup to a mobile device but well worth the effort.

I really think you should have told everyone exactly how you go about your practice.

There is no substitute for practice. If you can’t remember them, you didn’t practice enough. The worst thing you can do is measure your time against someone else’s.

Forget about how much time it takes you, and concentrate only on the process itself. If you worry about how long it’s taking you (“But look how long I’ve been at it!” or “But I do it every day!” or “But I’ve spent so much time on it!”), your mind will put up resistance and you’ll defeat your own purpose.

Repetition, repetition, repetition.

I think an easy thing to do is just create a story out of the objects in each 10 item row. (00 - 09, 10 - 19, etc.) Then you can just refer to your story to figure out what it is. If you want to compete with such a system eventually you will just have to know them, but for simply pragmatic uses you can do that.

Hi Taskbar,
If you are unable to remember the images you have assigned to the numbers then either you have picked the wrong images or your number to letter code to image translation is wrong.

Can you give us some specifics about the codes and images you are using please? For example number 08 - what code letters do you use and what image does this translate to?

‘Practising’ by going over and over them as advised above is nothing more than learning them by rote - which is kinda missing the point of mnemonics.


How do we remember that the number 35 is, say, Clint Eastwood? We can’t associate Eastwood with “35” because “35” has no personality, nothing in and of itself that’s special enough for the memory. The only thing we have is that 3 is the third letter of the alphabet ©, and 5 is the fifth letter of the alphabet (E). So how do you associate 35 with CE and CE with Clint Eastwood? You have to repeat the association over and over and over again. It’s that simple.

This is the way I secured the Major System in less than a day (and I’m not the only one). Over and over again. Backwards and forwards. Rote method may even be necessary at the beginning, at the base level of a particular system, upon which you then leave rote behind and build on the imagery.

This is how I learned the Dominic System. Just repeating it all, sometimes in my mind, sometimes as a murmur, sometimes out loud in a conversational tone.

As a result, whenever I see the number 35, I don’t “see” 35, I “see” Clint Eastwood. By constant, daily repetition, I forced my mind to work in that direction. It was fun and, after all the numbers (00-99) finally came easily each time, exhilarating.

I can create a series of images to recall a line of poetry, vivid images, but if I don’t go over it again and again until it’s automatic, then it gets lost, it fades away.

Don’t confuse repetition with rote. Repetition with strong images isn’t rote. It’s reinforcement.

Hi Taskbar,

I just copied this below from one of my earlier post. You may find something useful in this. This is how I put all my images in a locus and I found this approach incredibly useful. I have memorized several thousand images that way, with the Major system and another phonetic key system using vowels.

“What I have is a series of locations and at each of these locations there is not a permanent image there but 100 of them waiting for me. When I’m at any location, I’m generally imagining myself looking north, but not always. 0-9 is always behind me and so is 40-49 but a little farther or a little more to my right (when I’m turning around to look at it). To my left is 10-19 and 50-59 similarly installed. In front of me is 20-29 and 60-69 and on my right is 30-39 and 70-79, 80-89 on the ceiling and 90-99 on the floor. All my images are installed on grids # which I lay on what ever there is at that location. I read the grid from left to right top to bottom, as I would read a page (I have exceptions to this general rule however). So, I put all numbers from 1 to 9 in order on it and I think of the zero as being bigger and covering all the grid or hiding behind it.”


Ronnie White has a method. Here it is Slightly modified, moving from the top down to the feet.

0 sky
1 top
2 nose
3 mouth
4 ribs
5 liver
6 joint (hips)
7 cap (knee)
8 fibula
9 ball (of foot)


Hi taskbar

I found myself in the same situation. The breakthrough came when I made up a simple journey walking it through in my head (of my old local town) I wrote down the 99 memorable spots along the route and placed all the PAO list in those spots.

Once done it was pretty much the first time running through that they came back. I had a big old smile on my dial. Running forwards backwards or jumping around is all so no problem.

I’m happy to share my list and walk if that might help you?

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I think Jimbo is right. The PAO (person, action, object) should have either a basic association with the number, ex. 9 is a baseball because a baseball game has 9 innings, as Ron White suggests in what’s called a pencil list. Or connectivity such as my mom, age 70, her number, likes to read, her action, a book light is her object. The more personal or associated the PAO is to the number or themselves the easier it is to recall. Rote is not the lesson we are trying to learn…it’s association, linking, and navigating journeys. Hope this helps.


So, Taskbar, is any of this advice helpful?

Interesting post; Richomagic has given you a big clue. The best clue in fact. Use the locations to memorize the system itself. If you do this, at some point in the future, you may want to try other systems. If and when you do, you will not have any trouble. You will already have a numbering system to help you navigate so, you will not get lost or skip a location on a mental journey.

Jimbo raises an important point also. If you have to memorize something twice, you’re ether doing it wrong or, the system itself needs work.

Since you are doing a two digit system, it will take one hundred locations to memorize. This will be permanent after the first day, even if you do it only once. Any errors the next day won’t be a reflection of your memory. They will reflect inexperience perhaps but, that can be fixed easily enough as you work out what works and you grow to understand why some things are memorable and others are not.

I would recommend you have 100 locations and keep these locations permanently as mental reference points. After a while, you won’t need these reference points but, they will help you speed up and also, it will create more connections in the brain.

Also, you could create a location numbering system. If you were to use different systems, there is no chance of confusion. Here’s an example:

Different system, lets say Person and Action. Lets say it’s single digit. Sounds pointless I know but how many letters and in the alphabet ? We can make all sorts of complicated things with that.

If it is a single digit person action system, that will take you up to ten locations. Location ten would be numbered zero.

Location 11 up to 99 can be single digit person action and that is enough to do the Major 100 system.

You will not be able to get these mixed up and it will take minimal thought to think of the people and actions.

When you reach 100 locations, you will know this simple system very well by then so, you can add another action or object. This will mean that you still only have 10 people with ten actions but, now, you can add the new object. The new object will always be last.

This means you can number your locations from 100 up to 999. At this point, you are likely to want to change your system.

*** Every one of my locations has a number. This to me, is as if a person lives in that location. No matter where it is, it’s their home. Any confusion in navigation becomes impossible.

*** Use movement in all locations. This will trigger your instinct and focus your attention.

*** The major system books often have words that don’t naturally create a picture in the mind. Make sure your number is something that can be seen in your mind.

If you get stuck, alter the system. Don’t listen to Major instructions that say you must stick to the phoenetic rules strictly. Stick to them as much as you can but, also number the location with a different system and, you can make anything you want for numbers that aren’t both phoenetic and visual. You will recognise from the location numbering what it is and this will condition your brain to know what the seemingly unrelated image is. It is one more step but, it’s no big deal.

Ps. Zero to me is Zorro. When I use this, I use Antonio Banderas, his action is sword fencing and his object is a pumpkin. He never wears his mask. I never, ever cover people’s faces. We are instinctively drawn toward facial expressions as we are to movements. This is a defence mechanism to alert us to potential danger, potential partners.

I do the same with the alphabet. Again, my letter S is Spiderman. I can ALWAYS see Peter Parker’s face. If he gives and emotional expression because of what I have made him do, it will trigger my emotion and my concentration.

Pps. Try and keep the location large enough to fit in the image you want. This is why the Roman Room System is called the Roman Room System. If I were to attempt to fit Zorro swashbuckling into his pumpkin in my microwave i’m going to have a problem. I will be left with not other option that to shrink him. This will work but, it’s a lot more effort than is necessary and it will also slow me down because it is demanding my brain actually works and becomes creative. Once you know your system, creativity will become less over time in this respect and you will gain speed in return. But, the creativity will increase in terms of your images interacting with the surroundings.

I’d suggest setting yourself a daily goal as well as talking to people on here. A good goal that will take very little time is to just write five new locations per day. In Britain, the Government recommend five fruit and veg per day. Think of it as the fruit and veg for the brain. Five rooms or places that are as large as a room if you are outdoors. Around the phone box as well as inside the phone box for instance.

You can do that in about ten minutes. Do it daily and number them using a single digit system will take little time and get you into the habit of thinking. Once you know the ten numbers, it wall take little effort or time to number the locations in you mind. Personally, I like to keep a record of this on paper. Some do, some don’t. Really, you don’t need to since all the locations you use, should be ALWAYS be familiar.

Hi Taskbar,

I wrote a post a while ago on how I memorized my PAO that may help that Dai helped me with.

If your just starting making your system it will take time. play with the images in your head for each of your numbers and have a play around with it. There are plenty of numbers out there for you to try it on from car registrations to reciepts you get when shopping. Also if your having difficulty with images for people try youtube or watch some movies with that person in it. Seeing the different ways they act in person helps.


Many good tips in this thread. I’ve just linked to it from the Major System wiki page so that people can find it. I’ll also add it to the FAQ section.

I know a professional magician who uses the Major system to memorize a weekly magazine every week. He then asks people to say a page number and he tells them what articles are on it and what’s on the facing page.

He admits to being a news junkie and claims he really does not use the system any more. He actually memorizes the contents and the page numbers. This is just the same as mentioned in Aronson’s method of memorizing the (fixed) order of a deck of cards. He says that once the system has let you lock in the deck’s arrangement the system eventually goes away.

The point many here overlook, or at least do not mention, is that the techniques used for memorizing vary considerably depending on whether it is for competition, utility or entertainment. In too many threads here I see vigorous debate on what was meant in each book or by which expert. This tends to erode the friendly tone of the board. In all cases we should remember that the method is the tool, not the destination.


Yes, it’s the best way to learn system by location. We will use 100 place for 2 digit system, then how about 3 digit system? What is the effective way to manage it in shortest time?

I’m learning it now. I have Anki flashcards with images. I also tried using the random number generator here to practice, but I’m doing it in steps instead of all the numbers at once. I’m using the below site and Perl script to generate random numbers in a range.

use strict;
use warnings;

my $minimum = 0;
my $max = 29;

for (my $i=0; $i<50; $i++) {
    my $number = int(rand($max)) + $minimum;
    print $number . ' ';

One idea is to print this page. Then press F5 to randomize the numbers. Print out another copy. Repeat several times so that you have several copies with different numbers.

It has every number from 000 to 999 once. That way you can quickly discover which images you don’t know as well as practice converting them to images in a random order…

There are also generators for 00 to 99 and 10-digit binaries. I’ll have upgraded versions online as soon as I can.

Edit: I wrote this comment before I saw Speaky’s comment. That Perl script will do the same thing. I’ll write another quick online script that will combine both ideas.

Josh, that would be great. Thanks!