Speed Numbers Tips

(Marios Daskalas) #1

Hi, I would like to receive some tips in regards to speeds numbers. I am using the Dominic System (00-99), where each number represent a person with an action and prop. For example, the number 40 is Dominic O’Brien playing cards. Currently, I am re-making the Dominic System to fit my own needs, (mostly I change action and prop). I am already trying to warm up where for a period of time, I just go through numbers quickly and just imagine in my mind the person with the action and prop without placing it into a loci. In addition, I read somewhere in this forum to print the numbers (00-99) and carry one number each day to deepen your familiarity and connection. Currently, my best time is 22 numbers in 60.00s. Any tips and help are appreciated. What helped you the most? Please share your experiences with speed numbers below.


(Silvio B.) #2

I use the Dominic System too. I placed all people with their actions in a journey when I started, so I had that journey to fall back on if I ever forgot a person/action.

When I started playing on Memory League, I quickly found out which images were weak, so I changed them.

The rest is just training, I guess. For me it was the competition on memory league that kept me motivated. I now get 80 digits in around 30 seconds. Without the competition I would have never trained to even get 80 in 60 seconds.


(Marios Daskalas) #3

I use the Memory League too. You get 80 digits in 30 seconds with the Dominic System (2 digits per loci)? So you have 40 loci in total?

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(Silvio B.) #4

Actually it‘s 4 digits per location, so only 20 loci for 80 digits. I grab the last 8 digits and repeat them in my head though, so I only need 18 loci.
I tried to use PAO too but I‘m much slower than with the Dominic System.


(Marios Daskalas) #5

The Dominic System that I use uses 2 digits per loci. Is that version of the Dominic System that you are using an extended version of mine that uses 4 digits per loci?

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(Silvio B.) #6

I can make an example:


I‘d memorize that number like this:
1st location: Daniel Craig memorizing a deck of cards (43 40)
2nd location: Eddie Murphy putting on sunglasses (15 83)
3rd location: Arnold Schwarzenegger doing pullups (16 31)

As you can see, I use the person for the first 2 digits and the action of another for the next 2. Daniel Craig doing Dominic O‘Brien‘s action gives me 4340, which can be placed in one location. :slight_smile:

Same for 1583: Eddie Murphy doing the action of Horatio Caine (putting on sunglasses).

(I should point out that I have some people that don‘t follow the rules of the Dominic System with the initials and that I use F for 5 instead of E. 70 is Jennifer Lawrence for no apparent reason :joy:)



I was going to post a question about speed numbers, then saw this thread which really answers my question - so thank you, Silvio. (And Marios for starting it.)

Though I’ve used memory systems to memorise large amounts of information (eg all the UK Prime Ministers; every FA Cup Final result since 1872 and so on), it was only when I discovered the Memory League that I tried working at speed. I especially enjoy numbers but, so far, can only manage 36 in 60 seconds (though I hope to reach 40 at some point).

I’m 64, and, though I hope to improve further, am realistic enough to accept that I will never be as fast as a memory athlete half my age. That said, I do want to push myself as far as I can. The current Championship (I’m in Div 5b) has been a great motivator. Though I’m sure I’ll be thoroughly outclassed most of the time, every defeat makes me more determined to improve. For that reason alone, I’m glad I signed up to it.

I’ve stuck to the Major system so far (learned from Tony Buzan’s books) and will continue to use it. That said, I have been adapting it over time, replacing some more intangible images with people. (1 = Day, for example, is now Errol Flynn as a pirate swashbuckler thrusting his sword into a rising sun.) I love your 4-digit approach - Silvio - using a character and someone else’s action, and think it might work for me. My plan now is to go through all my existing images and try to make sure each has an action that I can use. Or maybe en route, I’ll think of something else. But it will be useful starting-point, whatever.

Thank you for sharing your approach, Silvio. I’m sure it will be a great help to me.

And Marios - if you read this - I hope you are continuing to improve , too!




@madaskalas so why don’t you just place a compound image using 1st number’s Person, 2nd number’s Action, and 3rd number’s prob in one location. Other than saying prob instead of object, you are basically describing a PAO system. Those images are usually more absurd then the individual ones, so much easier to remember.

The Dominic system as far as I know is usually a PA system, but why not make it PAO if you already have an [O]bject for each double digit number.

@JamesW considering the above discussion, I’m not sure Major system or Dominic system makes much of a difference… the digits for 0 … 9 in either system are:

Major: S, T, N, M, R, L, J, K, F, P
Dominic: O, A, B, C, D, E, S, G, H, N

There is nothing that is keeping anybody from using Major system codes for initials, instead of syllables, or phonetic consonants. So “Nancy Sinatra” would be NS and thus either 20 in the Major system or 96 in the Dominic system. Which digit-to-letter translation gets you there isn’t really that important.

Some people even adjust the major system to make it easier to read and change the L for 5 to 7 (rotate 7 and you get L), move the S from 0 to 5 (S and 5 look alike) and then bring K from 7 to 0 (either KO (boxing) or OKay). Either way, it doesn’t matter because after you’ve trained them enough the double digit immediately triggers the image in your head without having to go via the “number, letter, initials, person”-chain first.

So the same as above then… just use them with P from first, A from second, and O from third double digit. That way you get 6-digit per location. That’d be 6 loci for your current best of 36 in 60 sec. You could even just place them very softly and rely on phonetic loop with that few loci… bear in mind, a deck of cards using PAO would be 17 loci, so you could probably push into the 50-60 digits with that approach.



Many thanks for your advice, bjoern.

My own system is a strange mix, where none of the letters translate into the people they should.

Take NS, for example. Though Nancy Sinatra is an eminently sensible choice, because I have always associated NASA (in the form of a space rocket) with ‘20’, my current person/action/object is a lunar astronaut planting a huge American flag on the surface of the moon (or wherever). It means my ‘person’ is no one in particular, but at least someone who immediately springs to mind.

‘71’ (or ‘Cat’) is another example. I associate this character with the actor Danny John-Jules who played ‘Cat’ in the UK sitcom, ‘Red Dwarf’.

‘41’ isn’t even a person at all. I just visualise a giant Rat (standing on its legs, like a human), eating cheese and getting caught in a giant rat trap.

The main thing, as you say, is for me to make theses images second-nature so that the image comes to mind the moment I see the number.

One problem I have at present is that not every character has an action AND an object. That’s something I’m having trouble with, though I can see the advantage of being able to drop 6 numbers at every loci.

Since trying to change my approach and drop 4 numbers at every location by combining the first number’s character with the next number’s action/object, something strange has happened.

Previously, I would go from loci to loci, remembering each image/number. Now, what happens is that I have lots of blanks along the way where I genuinely cannot remember the image/number. But what then happens is that if I start running through the images in my head - from 1 to 99 - the moment I reach an image that appears somewhere in my memory palace, I recognise it and generally know where it fits in.

It’s a more nerve-racking process because it feels as if I’m not going to score very highly. (And, indeed, I’ve had a few very bad scores.) However, yesterday, having gone through from 1-40 (at my present level) and remembering about 12 numbers, I went though the list in my head and ended up with a final score of 39, my best yet, and just one away from getting through to the next level.

Hopefully, the more I practise, the better I’ll become at dropping two images off at speed and having a clear recollection of them.

To give my brain a work-out at speed, I’m using the free ‘Flashing Numbers’ program. I call up 4 numbers each time and give myself 2 seconds for each batch. I seem to hit 16 successfully most times in 8 seconds and, this morning, reached 20 in ten seconds. Slow for many people, I know - but very fast for me.

Again, thanks for all the advice/help.

I know I have a long way to go and, just now, it seems impossible to me that I can reach 50, yet alone anything above that. But I’ll keep going and, hopefully, am not too far away from reaching 40 numbers in 60 seconds.

All the best,


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That’s really no big deal… there’s no teacher giving you a grade for number-letter matching :wink:

Personally, I went with Michael Jordan for 23 when I was doing PAO, even though Nelson Mandela is your Major System 23 if you use initials. You could also use Captain Nemo… would also work. (Or even Nemo the fish from that movie “Finding Nemo”… see next point.)

As far as your giant rat, I’m pretty sure there’s people out there using 53 to remind them of Herbie and then use an anthropomorphized VW beetle as their “Person”. As far as I’m concerned, any animal/object through use of personification or anthropomorphism can be used as a person in PAO. There is no reason to limit yourself to real people… just consider any fable ever written.

What’s real anyways? Do I need to use David Schwimmer (DS) as my 10 even though his character on Friends was Ross (RS); a nice one syllable name that gives me 40 instead. Technically, the real person is the actor. Do you use Danny John-Jules in other roles he played or only as his Cat character on Red Dwarf?

Lastly, but it’d use it only as a last resort… you could go with 71 = cat, that’s my object for my person = firefighter, action = rescuing. I know somebody who actually uses that image for 71, because he’s not a big fan of using a cat (think Tom & Jerry) for a person… doubt that he knows what Red Dwarf is.

That could be because you are now focusing more on connecting P and O as opposed to linking P to the location, which is what you did before when it was only 2 digits. If you want to stick to a PA system, then it’d be good to have it interact with the location. Take 4120:

Location 1 - a mailbox:
a giant rat planting an American flag as a stamp on an envelope before sending it

Location 2 - a bakery:
a giant rat (baker’s hat) sticking an American flag into a loaf of bread to see if it’s done

Location 3 - The Eiffel Tower:
a giant rat (King Kong style) climbs up the Eiffel Tower and puts an American flag on top

…this way the number is linked to the location in a way that facilitates recall when you are at that location in your memory palace. It essentially makes the place more of just a backdrop to your image and rather incorporates it into the image itself.

Lemme know if that makes it easier the next time you try? Are you planning on adding both A and O to all your Ps? Like mentioned before, if you got a nice O that the number is already associated with, just create a PA for it… like the firefighter rescuing the cat.

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Once again, Bjoern – thanks for taking the trouble to help me.

I only use DJ-J in his Cat role. I hadn’t thought about his other roles, though that might be worth considering – especially as my image for 04 used to be an Egyptian cat (though I now use a Pharoah).

Your advice on linking the images is very useful. I must admit, when I fail it’s often because my images aren’t strong enough. (Or I canlt tie them in to my location.) The examples you gave are vivid – and the sort I know I should be aiming for. (Especially in the way that, as you say, they tie in the location with the images.)

In the short term, I think my problem will be trying to make my images/locations more memorable – but in the 60 seconds available. Just now, I often find that I have to ‘grab’ the last 4-6 digits in my short-term memory so as to have access to them all when recalling.

I hadn’t planned on adding both A and O to my Ps – but I’m sure it would help, so I should probably start working on that.

I almost reached 40 yesterday. Annoyingly, the only reason I failed was because, although I knew one set of numbers was 26, I accidentally typed 96! (That was painful – but at least I know I can do it, so hopefully it won’t be long before I get there.)

Thanks again for all your help. I appreciate it.

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Why don’t you take 5-10 minutes a day for a week and walk over your routes and pick “hooks” for your location? Like in the three examples I gave… just consider what images you might place there could interact with in that location.


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I’ll try that. It’s good advice, thank you. And I’ll let you know how I get on.

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Me again!

After many attempts over the past 6 weeks (and several 38/39 scores), I finally reached 40 today so have now made it to the next level. (I warmed up this morning by memorising a full pack of playing cards and 200 numbers! It gave me the confidence to believe I could finally do it.)

I’m still struggling with PAO and 6 digits per location. My first attempt this afternoon wasn’t very good (only 29) so I reverted to 4 digits and a different memory palace. I was both pleased - and surprised - to finally crack 40. (I placed 6 digits at every location when memorising 200 numbers, but had the luxury of time to do it.)

I’m sure I will need to use PAO to get much further as I can’t see how I’m going to speed up with only 4 digits per location.

But, for the moment, I’m happy enough. I’ll probably wait till the current Memory League is over before changing my approach as I’m sure it will otherwise confuse my poor old brain.

I managed 23 cards today, too, which equals my best so far (and the first time I’ve managed to ‘see’ 26 cards). If I’d had more time, I think I could have worked out where the missing three went. That was encouraging for me. I also scored 22 words in 60 seconds - which is also my best so far, too. So, all in all, a good day for me!

Thanks for all your advice and help.



(Silvio B.) #15

Very well done! :slight_smile:

I’ve struggled with switching from PA to PAO in terms of speed. I’m still much faster with PA. I only use PAO when I don’t need to be fast.


(Andreas) #16

Thanks, you answered my question. :slight_smile:



Thank you, Silvio. I’ve just seen you play one of your matches in which you managed 80 words in, I think 32.14 seconds. I’m assuming this is simply a case of you memorising 4 numbers in every location as fast as possible? (Which, I think, means just over one and a half seconds for every batch of four.)

I am in awe of everyone who manages these speeds – or even faster. To me, it feels like an impossible feat. (I know it isn’t, but it always amazes me that such things are possible.)

To speed up, would you say that it would be help if I just went through a list of numbers as fast as possible, even if I ended up making lots of mistakes at first? I tend to be cautious and try to ram home the images before moving on – which obviously slows me down. I was interested to learn how you made progress over time.

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(Silvio B.) #18

80 words in 32.14 seconds would be a very big improvement for me :wink: But 80 digits in that time is very achievable :slight_smile:

Yes, I use the Dominic System. So there are 4 digits in each location. If I see 39 70 I immediately see Chuck Norris with a bow and arrow and move on to the next location. 20 53 Barack Obama riding a bicycle. One important thing to get faster is to know the journey very well. I couldn’t do 30 seconds for 80 digits with a weak memory journey.

Around 30-35 seconds is basically my “comfort zone” for 80 digits. If I go faster than 30 seconds I’m usually risking to make some mistakes. My personal best is 80 digits in 26.22 seconds, which was very risky though.

To get to these speeds, I had to just go faster and make mistakes in the process. You won’t get faster it you keep training just in your comfort zone. I was stuck just below 60 seconds for 80 digits for quite a long time, but when I got over my perfectionism and let myself do some mistakes, I got faster again.

If you just allow yourself to go faster, you’ll see that you probably still remember more than you think :slight_smile: The accuracy will come back once you get used to the speed.

I don’t have any doubt that you will reach level 10 if you keep training on a regular basis :smiley:



I’ve just seen you play one of your matches in which you managed 80 words in, I think 32.14 seconds.

80 words in 32.14 seconds would be a very big improvement for me :slight_smile: But 80 digits in that time is very achievable :slight_smile:

Gosh, yes! You would have had to have swallowed a dictionary! :slight_smile: (But I’m sure, one day, you will get there! Eighty words, I mean - not swallowing a dictionary. :slight_smile: )

Thank you for your advice about going faster. I’m sure you are right. As Bjoern also suggested above, I probably need to be as familiar as possible with both my images and locations. As you say, a strong memory journey is important. There are still points in my journey where I regularly make mistakes, and some images that are not as sharp as others. I know I must work on these.

Your advice about overcoming perfectionism is very helpful. It’s silly of me, I know, but every time I practise I want to achieve as perfect a score as possible. I must let go of that.

I just attempted 50 for the first time and went as fast as I could. As a result, I got though all 50 numbers
(holding the last 6 in my short-term memory). I only scored 31 - with many gaps - but it’s a start and I hope to build on it.

I did the same with cards. My best so far is 23 in 60 seconds, but I never get through all 26. I went much faster, and did manage all 26, though I only scored 21. I’ll keep trying!

Thank you for your encouragement. I appreciate you taking the time to respond and - like Bjoern above - trying to help me improve.


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Just to let you know, I managed to reach 42 numbers in 60 seconds in a Memory League match yesterday - and I’m sure it’s because of the help and advice I’ve received here.

I did a lot of very fast training - both online and with numbered cards in my hands. The results were generally bad at first, but were getting better. (The 42 still surprised me, though!)

I did the same with playing cards and today have managed 26 in 55.80 seconds. Slow by many people’s standards, I know, but I’m delighted to get through to the next level. Again, I’m sure it’s because of the speed work. Also, I’ve put in several days of solid work, simply going through the cards again and again at often uncomfortably fast speeds for me.

Thanks for all your help - and I’ll keep plugging away.