Experimenting with a Category-Based Ben System

I’m not very happy with my current mnemonic system, so I’ve been experimenting with a couple of alternatives over the past few days. One of the ideas was to redo my Ben System images entirely from scratch using the ideas here and here, along with an idea that Nelson Dellis mentioned.

Nelson said that he had expanded from a two-digit to three-digit system by using his two digit images as categories. That sounds like a very good idea.

Ideas about Switching

Last year, I was finding that combining categories with my existing Ben System images was too inconsistent. I also got busy with life (which I will write about soon), and I ended up just staying with my 00-99 system due to lack of time.

I thought that maybe I could redo my entire Ben System images from scratch entirely by using categories. That would get rid of the problems I was having with the inconsistent nature of my previous attempts, as well as keep one syllable per image.

So if 05 is Salvador Dali in my current system (pronounced “SAI”*), then all the 05x numbers would be artists whose name begins with the 3rd digit:

  • 050 = “SAI-S” = Cézanne
  • 051 = “SAI-T” = Titian
  • 052 = “SAI-N” = Van Gogh

050 to 059 are artists.

Ben System ideas

Other examples:

  • 00 is the Egyptian goddess, Isis, so 000 to 009 are images related to Egypt.
  • 120 to 129 are all birds whose names begin with the letter of the 3rd digit. 120 (“TU-S”) is Snowy owl. 121 (“TU-T”) is Turtle dove, etc.

The reason I am writing this post, is because someone just asked a question about it on Facebook. I don’t know if I will complete the system based on this idea, but I’ve been experimenting with it. It is much easier than my previous attempts at creating a working Ben System. Even if I do go with this system, it will only be for decimal and binary numbers. I won’t create 2,704 images for cards, because I realized that creating and learning 2,704 images is too much work for memorizing cards, which is not my main goal.

Side note: I think that categories would be the way to go for a 10,000 image system too.

* the letter assignments are modified from the original Ben/Major System. I use: 0 = s/z; 1 = t (not d); 2 = n; 3 = m; 4 = r; 5 = L; 6 = b; 7 = k; 8 = f/v; 9 = p (not b).



Erik van Mechelen

Erik van Mechelen 19 Sep 2021

I'm taking a non-Ben approach to my 00-99 system. I've done 84s in cards (non-official) and am just beginning my numbers training. Could I ping you about learning numbers? (I have a couple questions on my numbers system). Cheers, Erik erik.vanmechelen@gmail.com

Josh Cohen

Josh Cohen 19 Sep 2021

Sure... I recommend asking your questions in the forum, because that way you'll get answers from a variety of other people in addition to me. Ben is also answering questions in the forum at the moment...

To leave a comment, visit the Art of Memory Forum and create a new topic.