Maya's category PAO system

Over the past few months, I have had a few people asking me about my PAO system, as they were stuck or needed inspiration for making theirs. I decided to make it a forum post, so everyone can draw inspiration from it ^^

As mentioned, it is a category system, there are 5 categories, each devided into 2 subcategories.

00-19 - TV series
00-09 - ‘Fringe’ Characters
10-19 - ‘Sherlock’

20-39 - Anime Character
20-29 - One Piece Characters
30-39 - Fairy Tail Characters

40-59 - Superheroes/villains
40-49 - Marvel
50-59 - DC

60-79 - Star Wars Characters (When I made the system, there were 6 SW movies, with a 7th coming. So 60 and 70)
60-69 - “Good”
70-79 - “Evil”
(Focussing further on the actual story of Star Wars, it gets clear that there is no good/evil, but that is the best distinguishable terms I can find for it currently)

80-99 - Famous People
80-89 - Celebrities
90-99 - Historic People

Each number has some associative connection with the person, as soon as I am home I will post a link to a google docs file that contains all the numbers 00 to 99, the persons, the associations, the actions and the objects.

The list:

Note: some numbers have no reason for the person attached, it just felt right. Also, the reasons for associating a person with a number vary a lot. this is no problem for me though it might for others. Also, some actions might look similar. I really think in images so sometimes it is hard to find a word that describes it well. If you are confused, do tell!


Thank You. This helps.

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Thanks Maya …this is a great system as it help me associate much faster than using other System like Dominic / Major as i dont have think what a number stand for . Also the charcter and number have such strong connection that it pop up without any effort …For Eg: my 10 character is Ben 10 , this was my fav cartoon character growing up so it make the image much more stronger and lasting …
but even when i use this method it left a lot of gap in my set because i dont have characters to associate with every number from 00-99 …
how did u filled those gaps ??? do u use Major or Dominc system to Aid filling those gap or u use something else

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The list of my PAO system is posted :slight_smile:

@ Alpha
I will try to answer your question later today ^^ I prefer not to answer questions in a haste, but rather take my time to write a good answer :slight_smile:

As shown in the link I posted in the first post, I worked with a dozen kinds of connections. Which already gave me a lot of images to work with.

There were a few spots that were still empty, around 5 or 10 or so. I just thought of someone withing that category that I would like to have in my system, which I just put there. After some practice, it doesn’t matter if the image and number have a connection or not, as the number becomes the image. You could even make a full system with 100 images without any number-image connections if you wanted to.

In the notes you have how it’s easier to remember, I presume for our sake. However, since it’s your particular PAO, I was wondering did those notes help you when you were learning and internalizing it? Or, do you think if it had a more random structure (like mine currently does lol), it would just be a matter of practicing it? Or, even after internalizing it, are your notes still relevant to you?

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The notes were useful for learning the images, though now I no longer use them myself. for example the hulk (46), I imagined his right arm to be a 6. When I needed to find the image for 46, I went to the marvel superheroes and looked for the one with a 6 somewhere. When I couldn’t remember anymore, I just grabbed my list and recreated the image until it stuck ^^

Thanks so much maya for the Doc and respond …
and yeah i get when u say the number become the image itself . although i havnt completed all images for 00-99 i still have a couple of gaps the one i assinged them are so strong the image literally flash before me when i see the number ! While reading the memory book the process seems like it might take ages as i need to remember the image and the number it stand for and place it in journey but in practical the process is lighting fast as i dont have to think what letter represent which number and encode it to image ,because using this method the image itelf become the number … I am astonished how easy it is to remember what all those section of laws means .I read through my law book like usual and by the end of it i can remember what every section of sale law is and the best part is it hardly take any effort . it used to take me weeks to remember this kind of information and even then the recall wasnt gurantee with all the pressure in the exam hall.and nw!! To think how natural this feels even though im doing it for less than a month !! u r the best maya


I will soooo frame the quote and hang it on the wall :stuck_out_tongue:

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@Mayarra Hey Maya, hows it going? not sure whether this thread is still alive as I noted the last response was back in May 2016! If you are still around, pretty awesome that u posted your PAO. Your PAO has been pretty helpful in developing my own system. After 4 weeks, I am at no.69 now! Although, it still takes a while for the images to come to mind when I look at two digits. At the moment, I still occasionally mix up numbers for e.g 21 and 31. 21 represents Little Finger stroking his grey beard and 31 represents Sam Tully wearing his chainmail. Any suggestions on how to get around this? Also, it takes me anywhere from 2 seconds - 7 seconds to recall numbers, depending on the difficulty. How can I improve the speed of recall? Cheers, Eugene

Hello ^^

I am still around and still active! (Even though I am pretty busy lately and have not been able to post that much)

The confusion of the numbers will fade over time with practice, every beginning cones with its challenges.

A learning technique I use is an adaptation to the Leitner System. I grab 5 boxes (numbered 1 to 5) and a pile of flash cards. For numbers, I have cards with every number on it. They start on a pile and I recall every number I draw. If I get it correct, I move them to box 1. If I get it wrong, I put them back into the pile. Once all cards are in box 1, I repeat in a specific way and move them to box 2. Get them wrong, and they either stay in box 1, or they move to the pre-box pile at the start and have to fully start over in their journey through the boxes. Same for boxes 3, 4 and 5. Sometimes I take a middle road and move them back only one box rather than back to the start, it all depends on the time I have available.

For just basic learning, that pattern is enough, but I have adaptations.

Speed learning contains timed recall. Cards in box one have to be recalled in 5 seconds. Box two in 4 seconds, box three in 3, box four in 2 and finally to get into box 5, they need to be recalled in 1 second.

A similar method I stole from the interwebs for longer retention is by using the height of a pile. If pile one is 1cm high, it has to be recalled and cards move to pile two or back to the start. Pile two has to be 2cm high, pile three 4cm, pile four 8cm and pile five 16 cm, or any adaptation to those heights.

Methods like that force you not only to revisit the cards you dont know, they also force you to either recall faster or in longer intervals.

Using a metronome can help with the speed one :slight_smile:


Hey Maya,

Your response is incredibly helpful. Thank you for the suggestions. Prior to this, I havent heard of the Leitner System. I will practise using that system prior to practising my speed of recall Thanks again!:slight_smile:

Best wishes,

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@Mayarra Happy New Year Mayarra! Hope you have been keeping well since we last spoke! I have just completed my 0-99 PAO.

Right now I am practising the recall using the Leitner system as recommended by you. It has been really useful!

Just wanted to ask for your advice on how should I precise now memorising combination of the numbers? From 3 digits to 6 digits for e.g 347192

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The way I trained was to just grab a random number generator, or just use excel to create some reandom 6-digit numbers for me.

Early on, there is no need to rush. Just take your time, create the image, check if it is correct and then move to the next image. No actual memorization, no palace or pegs, just create and check the image.

When you can create the images for the numbers more fluently, you can get started on putting them into memory palaces or peg lists and see how you can make them memorable.


Given that there would be a million 6 digit combinations, would I even be able to practise all of the combinations? It feels like a lot! Not that I am going to shy away now, just that it feels like a mammoth task to be able to recall all 6 digit combinations in seconds.

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That is true if you view every 6-digit number as one thing, but the strength of PAO is in splitting that number into three separate pieces that you encounter more often.

Doing some math, that means that if you memorize a 100 6-digit numbers (which is my training sheet in excel), you will have encountered around 63% of all numbers for the P, O and A. Doing some more math, that means that after five sets of 100 6-digit numbers, you will almost always have had every 2-digit P, A and O at least once.

I am sure that there also is a way to make training sheets that give you every number from 00 to 99 exactly once for the P, the A and the O, though I personally like the little bit of repetition in training.

Thanks for the encouragement Maya! I will have a go at practising that way! :slight_smile: enjoy the rest of your week!


Love this. Reminds me of Erol’s shaper system.

I’ve jotted down some associations with this method. 00-09 are my Star Trek characters. 01 is Commander Riker because he’s “Number 1.” 05 is Picard because a 5 looks like a cup of Earl grey tea. 07 is Spock because the 7 looks like his pointy ear.

10-19 remind me of lightsabers because of the 1’s. 14 is Darth Vader because the 4 reminded me of the mouth area of his helmet . 17 is Yoda because, like Spock, he has pointy ears. 19 is Luke Skywalker because he was 19 when the saga started.

Those are just some examples, I’ve made more.


If anyone needs a random number generator, I linked to some on this page: How do I memorize a mnemonic number or card system?

Hey @Mayarra

I just found your post here and I’m happy to see this list. I asking for the effincency of an similar methode in my latests post.

I remember reading some of your messages here.
So I think you could be the right person to answer my questions:

The list is now over four years old. How do you feel about this list now? Do you still use them? Or do you use a different list? If you use another one, what were the reasons for this?

And regardless of whether you are still using the list or not: What would you change about this list, would you create a new one in this style (if any)? Any suggestions?

I think if you should still be satisfied with this list after over four years, I would adopt this type of list and create a similar list in my style. So any suggestions would be VERY helpful for me!

Thanks for the inspiration!

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