P.A.I.L. System

[This thread was copied here from the old forum.]


Mukkinese 25 October, 2012 - 06:52

A system I use for dates/history is the P.A.I.L. system, this is a simplified PAO system with yet another category added.

With so many steps it isn’t great for speed memory, but the natural grouping of dates helps considerably with memorizing lots of things for study.

It uses ten each of Person, Action, Item(object) and Location, each representing 0-9. This gives a total of 10,000 pegs 10x10x10x10.

Easy to learn and when used for history you get a natural grouping of events.

For instance, using person for century, action for decade and item for year, I tend to focus on the years 1000 - 1999 for most of my studies. It then becomes very easy to relate each new date to other events, before and after or in the same year. Being able to make connections to events surrounding the new information helps memory considerably, not to mention understanding of timelines and influences of events on each other.

Hope this is useful to history buffs.


suncover 29 October, 2012 - 20:33

Thanks for posting :slight_smile:


jontsef 12 November, 2012 - 04:15

Interesting idea. Could you give some specific examples?
For example I can see that, say, Person X (1800s) doing Action Y (60s) could represent all the 1860s; and Person X, Action Y, on Object Z (1)= 1861. Where does the L come into play?

Here are some events from 1861 from different locations:
American Civil War begins
Mendoza (Argentina) earthquake
Benito Juarez captures Mexico City
Discovery of the element Thallium
Death of Sultan Abdülmecid I
Death of Prince Albert


Mukkinese 13 November, 2012 - 06:06

As long as you keep the order; Person-Action-Item-Location, for each set of numbers you just add where needed.If you only need to remember 3 digits only use Person-Action-Item.

I knocked off the first digit - 1, just because I focus on the last thousand years almost exclusively and everyone of those starts with number 1, so it is not needed. You can either simply link all events to the year, which actually works quite well. As you go on you will also automatically begin to make links to the events around the new data.

I suppose you could use the location pegs -plus two, for the months, if you want to include that too.

The P.A.I.L. system came first, my discovery of it’s usefulness in remembering history came second. So it wasn’t actually designed with this in mind.


Snillsparv 13 November, 2012 - 14:00

Interesting! :slight_smile:
I also use a location approach when competing in the historic/future dates event, but with only L-P. That is, I have one location for each possible century (1000-, 1100-, 1200-, … , 2000-) and then use my 100 persons for the last two digits. So the year 2016 becomes Zlatan Ibrahimovic somewhere in my cousin’s house. Usually I also add the person’s action (performed on the object used as a symbol for the event that should be remembered) to make it extra strong.


jontsef 17 November, 2012 - 05:21

Mukkinese, if I understand you correctly you just use PAI ( representing Century Decade Year) and the location is only if you want to add more details? Then what do you use for the event? Association?

Snillsparv, I think that’s a good method for the dates event in competition because you can just reuse the same 20 or so loci in every event, but I’m still not sure about using a single route for storing historic dates long term since you’ll be overloading the loci; for example, in a single century you’ll have 20 or more People doing stuff in your cousin’s bathroom :-
That’s why I’m leaning more towards People representing the centuries because people’s actions and interactions are more versatile and memorable.
That works well when PA is enough to represent every year and the O can represent the event,’ the problem with this though is when you want to memorize more details (month, day, more data). So if you had the location for the century, you’ll have PAO left over, P for decade and year, A for month, O for event. Unfortunately that only adds one data (month) and you’ll still be overloading each loci.

One possible solution to minimize overloading is to create multiple routes, representing the event types; for example, in a more broad sense you could have one route for European history, one for Asian, African, American, etc, and in a more specific sense you could have routes for specific events. For example, a route for the important dates and battles of the American Civil War; maybe even an actual route through the map of the US if you know it well, or a house/location relating to US history. These days with online sources it’s possible to view virtual tours of hundreds of historical locations.


Mukkinese 17 November, 2012 - 11:04

I use “subsets” for various kinds of events; for instance FIRSTS (image of a giant anthropomorphic number one holding a frothing champagne bottle with a wreath around its “shoulders”), first man on moon, first woman to swim the channel, etc.; PRIZES (image of an anthropomorphic silver cup with a blue ribbon, etc.), Nobel prizes, Pulitzer, Oscars, etc.; CRIMES, Brinks mat, Great train, and so on with SPYvSPY; ASSASSINATIONS (including unsuccessful attempts); INVENTIONS; DISCOVERIES, BOOKS; PLAYS; etc.

If you are just starting I would advise you to include full dates, month and day, where possible, instead of the subsets. I haven’t, up to now, and some of my subsets are getting a little crowded. The only solutions tend to be as much work as just using the month and day would have been, in the first place, so I will be trying that from now on.

Adding two new Locations will give me all the months and I will use the major system for the days. P.A.I.L.-plus, so to speak.

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