The most optimal ways of memorising

Hello all. I’m a relatively new yet extremely motivated person wanting to dig deeper into this world of memory sports. My goal is to, not join, but to win a certain national championship that will occur in 6 months. From analysing past statistics, I’ve concluded that this goal is very achievable from one month’s worth of full-time practice. For the past week or so, I have been experimenting with a 2-2-2 PAO system for memorising numbers based on the Major number system. However, I’ve been quite hesitant to learn it, and reluctant to create systems for other types of memorisation, fearing that there were more optimal approaches, and that I may confuse myself in the future by committing to an inoptimal one before an optimal one.

This brings me to the question:
What are the optimal ways that memory record-setters use for the popular memory categories? (Written numbers, spoken numbers, binary digits, words, poems, order of images, speed cards, historical dates, names)

Here’s what I currently do:
Written numbers: 2 digit - 2 digit - 2 digit PAO
Spoken numbers: See written numbers
*Binary digits: Run length encoding followed by method used for written numbers
e.g 1001000010 --> 121411 --> Daniel tearing tattoo
Words: I try to merge 2 to 3 words into one and turn them into one image, placing them at different loci
Poems: Same as words, but I also try to match the intensity of my images

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I use everything similar except poems. For them, I use multiphase images. One large main image for four lines, then I enlarge its details and on these details of the image I present images of each line, remembering just a chain of words. Also, in the near future I will create my own dictionary with images for the service parts of speech. The multiphase method to this day remains the only concise method to memorize something word for word. And for historical dates, it’s enough to come up with a common scene with your person (number) and the essence of the event. If the Bolshevik revolution took place in the 1917th year. That is, 17 for me, Michelle Pfeiffer, and for centuries, the symbol of the Russian revolution has been the speech of Vladimir Lenin on an armored car. So I just imagine an armored car, on which Michelle Pfeiffer is already standing instead of Lenin. This method is very fast if you practice a bit. And yes, why didn’t you write about PAO for playing cards? x)


I think there isn’t an ideal system because everybody’s brain is different, based on preferences and life experiences. What works fine for one memory athlete could be less efficient for another one.

A 2-2-2 PAO system is a good choice for sure. As far as I know, there are quite successful athletes out there using this system. You can also switch to a three digit Major system later on. Nobody says that you have to stick with your first system forever.

Merging Words is something top performers seem to do often, at least on Memory League. You just have to find a way to make sure you can recall the correct order.

So I would say you are on a good way. Only length encoding for binary digits isn’t adviceable in my opinion. The propability for length 1 is 1/2 and it drops by the factor 1/2 for each following length. Thus you are going to get many 11s, but hardly a number containing higher digits. Furthermore when you make a mistake, every following line will be wrong because there is a shift then (unless you make another mistake that undoes the shift). I would advice to switch every three binary digits into one decimal digit instead. Many top athletes do that. For instance 100100001010111010 translates into the PMO image for 44-12-72 instead of 12-14-11 plus 11-31-11.


Which one still has poems as a discipline?

I believe it is the American Memory Championship that still has poetry memorization, but I could be wrong

Thank you so much! I will be sure to practice the poem method. I didn’t mention cards because I accidentally clicked post on my phone before I finished writing my post.

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Hm. You’ve raised some excellent points.
I’d like to pick your brain about this:
Seeing as I speak a few other languages, and one with a non-Latin script, do you think I could maybe convert every 4 digits to base 16 (or even 5 to 32 if I’m being ambitious), using non-Latin letters for the extra 6 symbols (as using A through E would clash with the Major system)?
It would be 33% more efficient. Would this be advisable until I could eventually work up to Ben Pridmore’s system of grouping 10 at a time?
Thank you for your help :smiley:

Oh okay… but then it’s also Tea Party and whatnot… so not really the standard disciplines anyways. Yeah, that might be the one… thanks.

I strongly advise you to try. This method is taught at the school of the famous mnemonics researcher Vladimir Kozarenko. There are certain drawbacks, so the images that were attached to the details of the main image by a simple association are forgotten much faster than the main image. But so far this is the only system that allows you to memorize texts almost word for word and compactly place them in your memory. This can help with remembering cospects. You will still repeat it several times. And so you can remember the summary almost verbatim and are no longer afraid that something will fly out of your head. Ha, now everything is clear about the cards.