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Supercharge Your Ability to Memorize Number Sequences

Updated on January 23, 2011

The following article is a concise introduction into the use of the Major memory system.

The Major memory system is one of the more powerful memory systems available. This system allows its users to turn numbers into visual images that can be strung together and thus easily memorized. The system works by converting numbers into letters. These letters are strung together to make words and these words form the basis for the images which are memorized. With this system long numbers can be easily memorized. The basic associations for this system are as follows:

0 = S,Z
1 = D,T
2 = N
3 = M
4 = R
5 = L
6 = J, SH, soft CH
7 = K, hard C
8 = F,V
9 = P,B

By using the assigned letters above in combination with vowels you are able to make words which can then easily be visualized. The following words are representative of the basic numbers:

0 = Sea
1 = Tie
2 = Noah
3 = Ma
4 = Ray
5 = Law
6 = Jaw
7 = Key
8 = Fee
9 = Pie

The letters H, Q, W, X, & Y can also be used to flesh out words as they don't code for numbers. You should come up with a vivid image for each of these words. Once you have done this you will know that Ma (I picture the grandmother out of the Beverly Hillbillies) represents the number 3 and that 7 is represented by the image of a large ornate Key. You could of course represent these numbers with other images. 3 could be associated with Mo from the Three Stooges and 7 could be represented by the image of a Car (Hard C = 7). The images you choose are entirely up to you.

Once you have memorized the images linked to the numbers 0-9 you can then come up with images for the numbers 10-99. This is not a difficult process. Some people even take this a step further and start memorizing images associated with three digit numbers. Sitting down and taking the time to learn these associated images prior to using them will make them easier to remember but it should be noted that they can easily be generated on the fly as required.

Memorizing numbers with greater than two digits is done by linking several images together. For example - if I wanted to memorize the following number - 6299 5930 I would do so by:

1) Breaking the number down into 4 two digit numbers - ie. 62 99 59 30
2) I would then associate an image with each number pair. In this case:

62 = JaNe (Jane from Tarzan and Jane)
99 = PuP (A cute little puppy)
59 = LiP (A gigantic jutting bottom lip)
30 = MaZe (A big hedge maze)

3) I would then Link each of the images together from first to last so that the number can be rapidly recalled. If you are worried that you won't remember the correct sequence of the images you can combine the Major System with the Journey System. If you did this you would simply place each image at a specific point in a predetermined journey. So for a typical 8 digit phone number I could use the journey from my bed to the kitchen that I take each morning after getting up. Using this as an example I would visualize Jane in my bed (stop 1 in the journey), the pup gnawing on my bedroom door (stop 2), a gigantic lip would be jutting from the wall of my loungeroom (stop 3), and finally I would find a hedge maze growing in my kitchen.

The Major System takes some effort to be able to use effectively but that effort is amply rewarded by the ability to easily memorize long sequences of numbers. More information on the Major System can be found in most books describing Memory systems. I would recommend something like Harry Lorayne's Page a Minute Memory Book for those just starting to use these systems. Ample information can also be found online.


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