What memory system do you use and why? Ben system/2 digit major system/3 digit major system/PAO

I was wondering what system people around here are using lately.
And why are they using their preferred system.
I have a 2 digit major system. I’m trying to motivate myself to upgrade.
But it’s such a huge undertaking!


The PAO is more sofisticated compared to a 2-digit major system.
And not as time consuming to create when you compare
it to a 3-digit system which is 000-999!

You might be able to expand a 2-digit system to a 3-digit system through categories (scroll down there for an example).

I explained a little about my system here: Phonetic Systems and Memory Techniques as an Artificial Language

It allowed me to use the same basic assignment system for 1-, 2-, and 3-digit numbers.

More details here.

There are also some pre-made Major System examples, PAO system examples, and Dominic System examples that might be useful.


Hi Josh,

I’m assuming you’re using a 3-digit System. How long did it take you to create it and to memorize the whole thing until you were satisfied?

I don’t remember how long the first version took, but it was a really long time, because I’m picky about what images I use. I think that some people have created complete image systems in just a few days.

You can use this 3-digit random number generator to practice learning the images.

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Thank you for the info and link

Hey, Johnny. I use a LPAO (L for location). The L was added kind of by accident. It is indeed an undertaking as you say. I must be honest and say that I am susceptible to laziness and so I have not yet memorized everything in my LPAO. If you need inspiration or need some verbs or what have you, here is my list + some other stuff. All the tabs are not complete, but you can get an idea of what I am doing:

HI Josh,

I was inspired by your blog on “THOUGHTS ON PHONETIC SYSTEMS AND MEMORY TECHNIQUES AS AN ARTIFICIAL LANGUAGE” and ended up spending my weekend laying the base for a new system.

Because I was concerned about interference, I have reorganized this to be maximally incompatible with the Major system, which is the system that I have used for decades.

-4 sets of phonetic-pegs for single digits 0-9.
-5 sets of phonetic-pegs for double digits 00-99
-1 set of phonetic-pegs for triple digits 000-999, however, there are 4 possible permutations of each

-A total of 1580 phonetic-pegs, if you do not use the 4 possible permutations as separate pegs.

As a bonus, it includes a mechanism for Hex, which I will also use to handle months 10, 11 and 12. I am not into memorizing cards, but if I were I would also use this feature for the royal cards.

I have done my best to optimize the way that sounds are distributed across the range of numbers. The hardest part, imo, is to find enough distinct vowel combinations that seem plausible. As you will see, it was getting quite difficult when setting up the vowels for the Hex system.

In the end, I do not see this as only a mnemonic system, but also a crude bit of an artificial language since I think of these pegs as actual words–albeit words that I still have to put meanings to.

Anyway, I have provided the link in case anybody is looking to create their own system and wants ideas. As I said above, this is just the base of a system.

It may take a few minutes to make sense of what you are looking at when you go to the linked Google sheet. Near the top left is the main information to start.

Over toward the top right is the 4 sets of pegs for the numbers 0-9. Just below are the 5 sets of pegs for the numbers 00-99. Then, still further below, you will find the pegs for the numbers 000-999.

The section on Hex is just what you see at the top left. I will not use that extensively, so I did not bother to elaborate its pegs into a 3 digit system. (000-FFF).

Here is the same link a second time:



FYI - I made a few adjustments to the above base system. Mostly I made some changes to (hopefully) simplify the vowels. This also (hopefully) makes the Hex seem a bit better.

Major all the way, including for the construction of a more flexible 00-99 that I would not necessarily call P.A.O. Works great! :slight_smile:

You can easily search it on this website

Hello everyone, I am very familiar with the major system and would like to improve by adopting more systems. I have been thinking about working on the PAO system and building one, but was curious as to others’ experiences. Do you find that the PAO system makes you faster with the numbers than the major system? What advantage do you find it to be? Does anyone have any counsel on what system they feel would be the most useful to learn after having already adopted the major system? I am very interested in improving my ability to memorize words and important literature.

do you use 2 digits major system or do you construct a words as you like?
and how do you practice, i mean websites, or a sheet of paper and stopwatch??

Hi mohamedsekhri,

I use the 2 digit major system for anything numerical for the most part and have become very familiar with 0 - 99. As far as memorization of words, I generally work on Bible verses or other major summary statements from books and that sort of thing. The way I have been handling those is to try to equate the words to pictures if I can (as in the basic tutorial here on AoM), or sometimes to take the first letter of each word and then create another word picture out of those. It feels very slow going and time consuming, so perhaps I just need more practice. But often I have difficulty coming up with concrete images for the words and it takes me a long time to do so. That’s where my question came in to see if there is another system I should focus on to speed up the process perhaps. Any suggestions would be welcome!

did you tried to use the substitute word system??it’s about taking a word and try to play with it to find a word that’s similar to it so that you can picture it, for example:
Alabama becomes album,
or Arizona becomes air zone and so on,
you can find a long explanation in The memory book by Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas

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Hi mohamedsekhri,

I have used the substitute word system, it is just very slow for me to come up with these. That’s why I was wondering if perhaps there was a better system. Perhaps I just need more practice.

Ha, ha!! (Referring to my posts above from a few years ago). I remember getting pumped up after learning about Josh’s cool system, then spending hours on end planning a cool new system (see my links above).

Since then, I think I have been going in the opposite direction. Now, simpler is better. Mnemonics is fun. I even enjoy the projects I don’t complete.


Images- 2 per loci
Words- 2 per loci
Names- Stick mem to face
Int Names- Hope for the best
Numbers- 2 digit pao

In the process of changing to 2 card/3 digit, more eager for 3 digit than to move off pao.