Speed cards under 2 minutes goal


I recently started to get interested in speed cards and my main goal is to get under 2 minutes. The main reason for the goal is simply because it’s one of the requirements for the IMM-title. Not because I strive for the title or to compete, but well a quite difficult goal that feels achievable. I think that a public training journal will encourage me to strive forward and also open possibilities to get input from people in order to get past future thresholds.

The first week was in the beginning of february and consisted of mapping the cards to images using the ‘Major System’. Soon I realized that I needed some more advanced system in order to quickly decide the order of multiple cards at the same loci. I decided to use a PO-system with some actions connected to the objects. I also created two memory palaces - one in my neighborhood - and one in the village of my summer house.

When I felt confident with the card mapping, I quite slowly started to do some speed card sessions. First attempt was february 12th and I managed to get the time 06:34 without any errors, but some terrible slow recall. After that I tried the other memory palace and with increased speed and got 04:57 witthout any errors, but still a very slow recall. The following days I continued to execute some sessions with mixed results.

At february 15th I started to use Memory League as part of my training in order to build up speed. With a full time job and two toddlers, my time is very limited but my training plan was to do some high speed Memory League training sessions during the day, and a couple of full deck-sessions at night where I focused on perfect recall. I also wrote down every session in Google Sheets with information about time and eventual errors regarding loci and cards. When I identified some patterns regarding the errors, I changed some loci and cards. I also created a new memory palace in the neighborhood where I grew up.

At february 26 I was able to perfectly recall 26 cards, which seemed far away a few days earlier, and this encourage me to push it further. My best full card-session was at this time 03.36 but with slow recalling of some cards. I also tried to push a full card - session very fast and manged to get 02:47 with 8 errors.

The following weeks my Memory League sessions went well and I started to get closer to 32 in a minute, which was the next level. The evening sessions did not have the same development, which frustrated me. I still had not succeded to recall a whole deck in order, without hesitation. In the successful sessions I had to jump over the cards that I did not see directly and then go back and finally manage to remember them.

Last week I started to see some real results regarding speed where I continuously broke my record and
at friday I reached 31 cards in one minute. Last night I had two full deck-sessions where I, for the first time, was able to recall the whole deck in order, without hesitation. The time was 02:47 and I felt that the goal of 2 minutes was quite near. I decided to increase the speed and tried a new session with another memory palace, and got 02.25, no errors, but for two of the cards I had to go back and make an effort to remember them.

I will continue with my training program with Memory League during the day and full card - sessions during the evenings. I will also utilize a metronome as a tool to get used to higher tempo in order to get past thresholds. I will try to keep this thread alive and update with my daily results.

Thanks for reading to this point!



I forgot to mention that I managed to reach 32 cards this morning!


That’s fantastic

Thank you!

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Completely out of the blue today I got a time of 1min 40sec when I’ve been stuck at just over 2 minutes for the past few weeks. I even felt foggy going into it and didn’t have particularly high hopes!

Since it sounds like you’ve got a similar goal to me and you’re making similar progress with similar training (I also use the memory league train thing a lot, I find it really helpful) I figured I’d mention it here in case it helps motivate you. It just shows that you never know when you’re suddenly gonna make massive improvements.

I don’t expect to be able to consistently get times like that, but it’s a nice bonus to get every now and then!


Congratulations! That’s a nice time! For how long have you been training?

If it helps, I’m going to be 67 in May and have no great background in memory work, even though I joined ML about 4 or 5 years ago now. At one point last year, my time for memorising a pack of cards was about 10 minutes. I then began working much harder and brought my time down to 3.01 on 2 December 2020.

I subsequently lowered it to just over 2 mins and then, on 23 February of this year, managed 1.57. I’m not sure how much faster I can go, but will keep on trying.

You’ll be much younger than me, with a much sharper brain. I hope my own progress will reinforce your belief that cracking two minutes is only a matter of time. (And, in due course, no doubt one minute!)

Good luck! :slight_smile:


I learnt about memory practices ages ago, probably 4 or 5 years. I learnt to memorise a pack of cards as a cool party trick but I only did it once every few months and my times were 10-15 minutes.

In January I decided it’d be kinda cool to see how much I could improve on that, I set these goals:

  1. Consistently sub-2 minute times on a real, physical pack of cards
  2. Being able to recite the cards in order without long pauses
  3. Being able to recite cards without a clear view of what cards are left

Speaking of which, I’d say point 3 there is the one downside of the memory league train feature: you can see what cards are left. If you’re training for competition then that doesn’t matter, but otherwise I find it feels a bit cheaty for me.

So it took me about 2.5 months to go from ~10min times to ~2min times, but the 4 years of sporadic card memorisation I was doing before that was definitely a nice starting point. I feel the journey to consistent sub-2 times will be considerably longer!

Congrats! Really impressive, and incredibly motivational! :grin:

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Yesterday I had six sessions in Memory League training and managed two sessions with 32 cards, which is the same result as my current personal best. I also had three full deck evening sessions with timed recall (5 minutes) and got 2.34 (3 errors), 2.42 (3 errors), 2.22 (0 errors and personal best!).

I tried some mid day training with an application I found on App Store. It was possible to choose the number of cards in the session as well as tempo (three different possibilities) and finally a recall part as well. I chose the fastest tempo, 1.5 sec per card, and manage to remember 11 card as best. Not a perfect app - you can only choose between three tempos, and it’s not possible to see the cards you did not recall. Maybe I’ll have to build one myself, or do anyone have any app suggestions?

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That was very inspiring, thank you! I decided to keep pushing forward and go for one minute. Yesterday I got a time of 2.10 with one simple silly mistake where I mapped an image incorrectly…
I’m really comfortable with the speed and can see all the image clearly, especially when I use the newest memory palace.

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Ok, thanks for the answer and nice progress! Your three goals certainly appeal to me. I’d like to reach a point where I’m able to meet those goals in every session and at the same time strive for 1 minute.


That’s a great goal. I always have at least one deck of cards with me at all times. Getting effecient at flipping cards, and optimizing your technique to do this as efficiently as possible is important.
Keep up the good work.

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Thanks for the advice!

I had a terrible last week regarding my Memory League sessions where I didn’t manage to beat my record of 32 cards, and felt I was getting worse by the end of the week.
During the full-deck evening sessions I constantly had times around 2.34, and also broke my own record with 2.22. I had a couple of sessions with about 25 errors, so the motivation was not so high after all.

At this point I did not see a very strong correlation between speed and number of errors, so I made a decision to go much faster. I also analyzed what type of locis I had problem with and created a new memory palace consisting of locis in my neighborhood. FinalIy, I felt that I had to ditch my oldest two memory palaces from the evening sessions. These three steps made some real progress for me!

My latest full-deck evening sessions:
Memory palace 1: 2.04 - 9 errors
Memory palace 2: 1.52 - 0 errors and new record!
Memory palace 1: 1.58 - 11 errors
Memory palace 2: 1.55 - 3 errors
Memory palace 1: 1.48 - 4 errors
Memory palace 2: 1.51 - 2 errors

As you can see there is some difference in quality between these two memory palaces, so I will try to change Memory Palace 1 or even replace it.

Now, when I have one good memory palace it is easier to analyze which cards are causing problems, and I’ve identified a few of these that I soon will change.

Next goal is 1.30!


Brilliant! Well done. So pleased for you, and I’m sure 1.30 is well within your grasp.

Thanks for sharing your experience, ideas and progress, and good luck with the next stage. :+1:


Thx! I hope so! :slight_smile:

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Last week I had some great training sessions in Memory League. Started the weekly sessions at Tuesday and broke my record with 34 cards in one minute. On Thursday I got 35 cards, and finished the weekly Memory League sessions on Friday with 36 cards. This morning I had one session with 37 cards and one with 38, which is my new record!

The full deck evening sessions:

Memory Palace 1:
1:48 - 4 errors
1:50 - 7 errors
1:54 - 6 errors
1:48 - 7 errors
1:52 - 9 errors

Memory Palace 2:
1:51 - 2 errors
1:59 - 0 errors
1:49 - 7 errors
1:45 - 9 errors
1:47 - 6 errors

Not a great week regarding the above sessions. I know that I have some serious loci-problems in Memory Palace 1 that I need to fix. For example, in one of the locis I have errors in 60 percent of the sessions. The same is true for 40 percent in two of the other locis. This is the first thing I need to fix in order to even the score between the Memory Palace 1 and 2.

I the middle of the week I changed some locis in Memory Palace 2 and also 3 of the cards, so we will see if it pays off. Otherwise I can not see any pattern regarding the errors (yet), so I will use this week to collect some additional data.

The goals for this week will be 1:45 with 0 errors for a full deck session and to beat my record of 38 cards in Memory League.


Last week I manage to break my record twice for a full deck with 1.37 respectively 1.30. I also broke the record in Memory League with 39 cards and then with 40 cards at the beginning of this week.

The mean time for my sessions last week was 1.34, with a mean of 7 errors - so I have a lot to improve. Fastest session was 1.16.


I had an unbelievable day yesterday I broke 2 minute with 79 seconds and then later broke one minute with 59 seconds. I have figured out that you can force yourself into using you hand as a metronome. Probably why I still level 8 on league.
I changed my style of moving the cards to something similar to Marcin Maskow Kowalczyk


That’s terrific. Well done! Getting faster all the time!

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