Ask a memory champion

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13 April, 2014 - 11:10
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Okay, sorry I've been away from the forum for so long! Too much work at my real job - if someone would pay me to just memorise numbers all day, I'd consider it... :)

I think I've caught up with all the messages asking for a copy of the book since I last checked in, but if anyone's still waiting, let me know!

13 April, 2014 - 11:15
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superej68 wrote:
hi Ben, I'm almost done creating my images, but I'm stuck on those dang ow, or, and ar vowel sounds. Any suggestions on what to do when you can't think of anything? Thanks

My advice is to "cheat" :)

When creating my list, if I couldn't think of something, I'd sort of make a word that doesn't really mean anything but sounds a bit like something that does... it's hard to explain. The 'ow' sounds were particularly tricky for me, so what I did (and this is something I don't usually mention for some reason) is use 'oi' sounds instead in some of those words.

The way I filled in the gaps in my list was to force myself to sit down and go through the list in order, writing down something - anything - in every blank space. Just be creative, and try not to think about it too much!

13 April, 2014 - 11:19
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Jenny H wrote:
Also, how much training do you need before getting results and how do you learn things that are difficult to create a memory like languages or say a scientific table?

Thank you.

I think that most people start getting some kind of results after even the tiniest bit of training. The more you train, the more results you'll get, with no upper limit!

And the techniques I'm talking about here are really only particularly good for remembering lists of numbers or something similar. However, they do work to a certain extent for anything else, and they all follow the same golden rule - create some kind of mental image based on what the foreign words or scientific information make you think of. Make them vivid in your head and picture things associating with each other.

13 April, 2014 - 11:24
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simon L. wrote:
This is just to say that I've done a 1048/1134 at one hour numbers last week, my first time above a 1000 numbers correctly recalled in an hour and I don't think I'd be at this level if it wasn't from the method you have outlined in this thread. Thank you!

Now my question: you mention you have never reached above 2000 digits per hour. Well, I'm certain you have been able to attempt memorizing that many digits but had simply too many errors to your liking while recalling those digits. So, how do you decide upon the number of digits that you will attempt to memorize at a competition, knowing that they take 10 points per error? Say your attempt at 2200 digits (maybe the time for one read and one revision?) yield 80 errors that might cost you say, 300 points. Will you then attempt in competition 2000 digits and go a little more slowly or carefully? Will you go just as fast, if not faster and attempt a full 3rd revision?

Congratulations on the numbers!

I memorise numbers in groups of 234 (one journey), so before every hour numbers event I choose how many journeys I'm going to try. I tend to think that ten journeys, 2340 digits, is a sensible amount to attempt, but it's been quite a long time since I did that in a competition or practice, since I just haven't done the training for so long. In the last couple of world championships I think I've only attempted 8, but I can't remember for sure.

In any case, my normal strategy is to see everything four or five times, very quickly. I have experiments with slowing down and making sure I remember everything, but I can't get close to 2000 digits if I'm going at that speed. In the past, once or twice, I've tried as many as 12 journeys, but I had a lot of mistakes.

It's so long since I trained for hour numbers that I really can't remember what my 'normal' approach to it is now. It's been all Extreme Memory Tournament training for me lately, but maybe after that I'll try to get back to marathon training. Or maybe I won't - I probably won't be going to the world championship this year, so my next competitive hour numbers won't be for a long time...

21 April, 2014 - 09:29
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Hi Ben, can I have a copy of your book if you're still giving it out for free? My email is [email protected]. Also, when I do speed cards the images from the beginning of my journey usually fade by the time I reach the end of the pack. Thanks for your help!

26 April, 2014 - 20:01
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Hi Ben,

Thanks for share your knowledge with us, and for share your experience too.

I read all posts and reply, and all of them are very great.

Please could you send a copy of your book "How To Be Clever" to my e-mail [email protected] ?

Thanks a lot!

Pablo

27 April, 2014 - 22:19
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Hello sir---its a pleasure to have you here. i have been practising memory palace for two months---i have tried cards and numbers-and i have been successful -however my main aim is to memorise the english dictionary-can u please give me some advice on it- because i am unable to find ideas of how to create images for them---

9 May, 2014 - 10:13
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Hi.

I don't reckon reading anything about associating thoughts with loci and created a thread about this some time ago. Would highly appreciate any input from your side.
Goes like this:

It is known that we remember phrases formulated by us better, than any other; also it's known that thoughts can be associated with places (for instance that is why we find ourselves forgetting why did we enter the room we did). The question then arises: would it be possible to effectively associate your thoughts with your loci and, more importantly, are there instances in which it is more convincing to do so?
Say, one wishes to submit maths and science related knowledge to his mental journey/palace. It's quite a lot of formulae and definitions. Suggested method is to create a system for formulae and use images of simpler concepts in definitions. But what if we try to memorise only the routes we take in deriving a given formula from a known one(s) and memorise definition as a mere thesis with no imagery, but formulated by oneself - which would also guarantee the understanding of material. For example: conservative forces are usually defined as those who are associated with the conservative vector field or as forces for which the work done doesn't depend on the chosen path. I'd define them as forces for which zero displacement is logically equivalent to zero work. To memorise derivation processes one can create images for non-obvious operation (adding a polynomial on both sides, for example, can be omitted - in some cases), like transition from differentials to derivatives, integration or taking the logarithms. Many concepts can be thought of from geometrical and physical perspectives as being the most apparent. So, stacking the time spent on extra repetitions and the time saved by imagining much less, what do we get?

10 May, 2014 - 21:37
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Hi Ben,

I'm starting to get together a system for abstract images. I saw you wrote earlier about positing a list of the ~140 textures and possible hints for remembering them. Don't mean to push you (I know it's a lot of work!), but if you could just post a few to get me started that would be awesome. I'm trying to assemble a list from textures on Memocamp, but I end up making a lot of mistakes (ie. accidentally assigning two images to the same texture or thinking two different textures are actually the same one), which is frustrating. Any help is much appreciated!

Alex

11 May, 2014 - 08:31
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^^ I second this. It would be so much easier to name the textures if there were a list of them to look at. Funny book by the way. I enjoyed it, thanks.

16 May, 2014 - 11:37
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Hi Ben!!
It would be wonderful if you could also send me the copy of your book to [email protected]

I've started out by reading one of Dominic O'Brien's books, and thus developed a card-memorizing technique using the dominic system where I have 52 locations for a deck of cards each of which contains a single character.

What do you think the advantages major system has over the dominic system? If you were to start from scratch, would you still start with the major, or would you prefer the dominic?
Thanks a lot

18 May, 2014 - 13:42
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AlexM wrote:
Hi Ben,

I'm starting to get together a system for abstract images. I saw you wrote earlier about positing a list of the ~140 textures and possible hints for remembering them. Don't mean to push you (I know it's a lot of work!), but if you could just post a few to get me started that would be awesome. I'm trying to assemble a list from textures on Memocamp, but I end up making a lot of mistakes (ie. accidentally assigning two images to the same texture or thinking two different textures are actually the same one), which is frustrating. Any help is much appreciated!

Alex

It's on my list of things to do. It has been for quite some time... :)

18 May, 2014 - 13:52
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Peter0414 wrote:
I've started out by reading one of Dominic O'Brien's books, and thus developed a card-memorizing technique using the dominic system where I have 52 locations for a deck of cards each of which contains a single character.

What do you think the advantages major system has over the dominic system? If you were to start from scratch, would you still start with the major, or would you prefer the dominic?
Thanks a lot

To be honest, I'm not 100% sure exactly what the dominic system is, so I might be wrong, but generally, I think it doesn't matter hugely which system you use. The first book about memory that I read was one of Tony Buzan's, which contained the major system, so that's what I got started with, and it's served me well enough that I'd want to use it again if someone erased my brain and I had to start from scratch.

I do prefer to have multiple images on each location, because I think they interact better that way and so it's easier to remember them, plus you don't have to create so many journeys before you can try the marathon events (which is also something I recommend that beginners do as early as possible). And obviously I personally don't like a system that's entirely made up of people, because you know what I'm like with faces, but that's something that varies hugely from one person to another.

All in all, I think the major system is a very good system to start with, but others are probably just as good. I've said it before and I'll say it again - the really great 'memory athletes' take the basic principle of association and enhance it individually to suit their own brain. :)

18 May, 2014 - 16:18
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Hi Ben, would you mind sending a copy of your book to [email protected]? Thanks!!

19 May, 2014 - 04:58
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Hi Ben,

Thanks for answering questions here.

Don't know if this has been asked already as I haven't read the whole of the thread yet.
Do you really believe that the average person could get in to Mensa with focused practice or were you being tongue in cheek in your book?

Thanks,

David.

19 May, 2014 - 05:39
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AlexM wrote:
Hi Ben, would you mind sending a copy of your book to [email protected]? Thanks!!

Sent - if there's anyone who hasn't had a copy from me after asking for one, do let me know. :)

19 May, 2014 - 05:41
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plasticocean wrote:

Don't know if this has been asked already as I haven't read the whole of the thread yet.
Do you really believe that the average person could get in to Mensa with focused practice or were you being tongue in cheek in your book?

Tongue in cheek? Me? Never.

But I do very much believe that the average person can get into Mensa with just a little bit of practice. Knowing a few little things about how their IQ tests work will bump your score up hugely; they're more a test of knowledge than intelligence, and anyone can be knowledgeable if they put a bit of effort into it.

20 May, 2014 - 06:45
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Thanks for replying Ben,

Ok, I think I will make this one of my projects and see what happens.

So what have we got to practice?

Number sequences including prime numbers and the alphabet
Basic mental arithmetic
Algebra
Word puzzles in the form of anagrams and sequences etc.
Geometric type puzzles (Culture Fair)

Anything else?

What was your IQ score by the way ?

20 May, 2014 - 09:04
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Hi Zoomy,
Thanks for your reply to my question about hour long numbers. Personally, I have never revised more than twice my numbers at this because I'm afraid I would have too few errors and not enough digits memorized.

Congratulations for your 4th place overall performance on the spread sheets at the Extreme Tournament.
Here are my two questions for today:
1) How good are you at dueling back the short term memory game? Have you ever tried it? N-Back?
2) If anyone should have the right to define what focus is, I think it would be you. So, can you please provide a definition for this term "focus"? Then I hope to make dictionary makers adjust their books accordingly.

Simon

20 May, 2014 - 09:30
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Hi Ben, quick question. We all know that you're supposed to create a vivid picture, make a story out of it, attach it to the locus..... how do you do it so so fast?

25 May, 2014 - 10:28
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plasticocean wrote:
Thanks for replying Ben,

Ok, I think I will make this one of my projects and see what happens.

So what have we got to practice?

Number sequences including prime numbers and the alphabet
Basic mental arithmetic
Algebra
Word puzzles in the form of anagrams and sequences etc.
Geometric type puzzles (Culture Fair)

Anything else?

What was your IQ score by the way ?

I think you've got the important things in your list, but it's been a long time since I looked at IQ tests at all, so I might be forgetting something obvious...

And I got a score of 159 when I took the Mensa test at age 18, but I haven't done one since then. :)

25 May, 2014 - 10:36
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simon L. wrote:
Congratulations for your 4th place overall performance on the spread sheets at the Extreme Tournament.

Thanks, but since I created the spreadsheets myself, I think we should all be clear that they don't count as making me officially the 4th-best! :)

simon L. wrote:
Here are my two questions for today:
1) How good are you at dueling back the short term memory game? Have you ever tried it? N-Back?

Never heard of it, I'm afraid. (*looks it up on the internet*) Oh, that thing. I have been asked about it before, but I've never tried it.

I am rather out of touch with all the brain-testing and cognitive development things that are cool at the moment - I'd also never heard of "Luminosity" until I was asked about it for an interview at the XMT, but I understand that's pretty popular too...

simon L. wrote:
2) If anyone should have the right to define what focus is, I think it would be you. So, can you please provide a definition for this term "focus"? Then I hope to make dictionary makers adjust their books accordingly.

I'm not good at snappy descriptions like you can find in dictionaries - I tend to go on and on and on and drift off on strange tangents. Am I that much of an expert on 'focus'? I don't think so. :)

25 May, 2014 - 10:38
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MCEVE01 wrote:
Hi Ben, quick question. We all know that you're supposed to create a vivid picture, make a story out of it, attach it to the locus..... how do you do it so so fast?

I think people sometimes get a bit hung up on the word "vivid". If you're going for speed, memorising a pack of cards or something similar, don't stop and think about whether the picture you've created is memorable enough - think of the picture and move on to the next.

But really, when it comes to speed, it's just a matter of practice. Every time you do it, it gets faster and faster!

25 May, 2014 - 11:10
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Hi Ben would you mind sending a copy of How to be Clever at [email protected]

25 May, 2014 - 13:33
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Hi Ben! Hope you don't mind sending me a copy of the book. My address is [email protected] Thanks

25 May, 2014 - 22:25
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I was wondering if you wouldnt mind sending me a copy of your book at [email protected]

1.I was curious since I am kinda new to memory techniques do you have any idea where to start when memorizing a math formula?

2. I was just curious on visualizing systems where you convert the number to a certain image would it be easier to just group the number and imagine the number doing some action? Or is the converting to an image something that eventually becomes second nature?

26 May, 2014 - 02:02
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mbking wrote:
I was wondering if you wouldnt mind sending me a copy of your book at [email protected]

Books sent to everyone who's asked for one recently! You know, my monthly royalties are dwindling away just lately, I think people have stopped buying the thing (I used to get about £50 from it a month, now it's down below £20). I'm going to have to write another one!

mbking wrote:
1.I was curious since I am kinda new to memory techniques do you have any idea where to start when memorizing a math formula?

I've never really thought about it - there is a thread here for people who have: http://mt.artofmemory.com/forums/memorising-maths-formulas-2418.html

Really, it'd be just like memorising numbers - have an image for each number, letter and symbol (or combination thereof) and make a story out of it. There are probably ways to compress the data a bit more, but that'd be the starting point.

mbking wrote:
2. I was just curious on visualizing systems where you convert the number to a certain image would it be easier to just group the number and imagine the number doing some action? Or is the converting to an image something that eventually becomes second nature?

The point of converting numbers into images is to make them different from each other, and easy to remember. One number looks a lot like another, so it'd be easy to get confused.

And yes, it's very much something that becomes second nature. I'd compare it to learning another language - after a bit of practice, you'll look at the number and see the memorable image without needing to consciously think about it!

11 June, 2014 - 09:46
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hi BEN ...I have questions ..how do you memorize the numbers spoken ? the time of a second is very short for me . ... and in the iterview of memory-sport you said that ¨" I didn’t have much time for training, because of all the time I was spending sitting around in my pants, watching cartoons." .....wath cartoons did you watch..? ;) greetings from BOLIVIA -SOUTH AMERICA :)

11 June, 2014 - 10:43
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Yeah.....Mr.memory champion...I would like to know if there is any way to improve powers of observation, presence of mind, memory storage...pls reply

12 June, 2014 - 16:16
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Hi Ben, can you send me a copy of your book? Thanks!

Mike

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