Ben System

2 minute read

The Ben System was created by Ben Pridmore.

General Background

In the Ben System, the information to be memorized is chunked and encoded into consonant-vowel-consonant sounds that are the basis for the Mnemonic Images. Ben’s description:

The basic principle is the same as everyone else uses, visualising images at points along a mental route or journey. I don’t use the person-action-object ideas of some people, I just have three ‘objects’ at each point on my route. Some of these objects are people, some are things. I ‘see’ them arranged from left to right, or top to bottom, and interacting in various ways according to rules I made up as I went along, depending on which objects come together in what order.

Each object is made from a combination of two playing cards, or three decimal digits, or ten binary digits. The name of the object starts with a one-syllable sound made up of a consonant, a vowel and another consonant.

  • Decimal numbers are chunked in threes which become the consonant-vowel-consonant.
  • Binary numbers chunked in tens, and chunked again into 4-3-3 which become the consonant-vowel-consonant.
  • Playing cards are chunked in pairs. The consonant-vowel-consonant is derived from the 2 suits combined (consonant), first card (vowel), second card (consonant).

Decimal numbers

Numbers are chunked in threes. 974141744 would become 974-141-744:

  • 974 = bEr = this could be a beer
  • 191 = tOt = this could be a totem pole
  • 714 = kor = this could be a carrot

(see Ben’s notation below)

First consonant/digitSecond consonant/digitThird consonant/digit0 = s0 = ‘oo’ as in ‘you’0 = s1 = t1 = ‘a’ as in ‘cat’1 = t2 = n2 = ‘e’ as in ‘pet’2 = n3 = m3 = ‘i’ as in ‘kitten’3 = m4 = r4 = ‘o’ as in ‘tom’4 = r5 = l5 = ‘u’ as in ‘puss’5 = l6 = gj6 = ‘A’ as in ‘hay’6 = g7 = k7 = ‘E’ as in ‘bee’7 = k8 = f/th8 = ‘I’ as in ‘high’8 = f/th9 = b9 = ‘O’ as in ‘low’9 = b

Binary numbers

Binary numbers are chunked in tens and then in 4-3-3. 1001111100 would become 1001-111-100:

  • 1001-111-100 = bEr = this could be a beer

(see Ben’s notation below)

Every set of 10 binary digits becomes an image, and three images are placed per locus.

First consonant/digitSecond consonant/digitThird consonant/digit0000 = s000 = ‘oo’000 = s0001 = t001 = ‘a’001 = t0010 = n010 = ‘e’010 = n0011 = m011 = ‘i’011 = m0100 = r100 = ‘o’100 = r0101 = l101 = ‘u’101 = l0110 = g/j110 = ‘A’110 = g0111 = k111 = ‘E’111 = k1000 = f1001 = b1010 = p1011 = d1100 = h1101 = sk/sn/sm1110 = st/sp1111 = sh/sl/sw

Playing cards

First, watch how Ben starts at the bottom of the deck:

The first two suits are combined to create the first consonant; the first card’s value becomes the vowel; and the second card’s value becomes the final consonant.

Two cards per image and three images per locus fits six cards per locus.


If the two cards are 7 of hearts and 4 of diamonds, the first sound comes from the heart/diamond combination (b). The 7 becomes the vowel “E” (in Ben’s notation, see below), and the 4 is an “r”.

7 of hearts and 4 of diamonds is “bEr”, which could be an image of a beer. The images overlap: 974 and 1001111100 are the same image as 7 of hearts and 4 of diamonds.

Cards Table

First consonant/digitSecond consonant/digitThird consonant/digitclub/club - kA = ‘a’ as in ‘cat’A = tclub/diamond - t2 = ‘e’ as in ‘pet’2 = nclub/heart - n3 = ‘i’ as in ‘kitten’3 = mclub/spade - m4 = ‘o’ as in ‘tom’4 = rdiamond/club - r5 = ‘u’ as in ‘puss’5 = ldiamond/diamond - d6 = ‘A’ as in ‘hay’6 = gdiamond/heart - l7 = ‘E’ as in ‘bee’7 = kdiamond/spade - g/j8 = ‘I’ as in ‘high’8 = f/thheart/club – f/th9 = ‘O’ as in ‘low’9 = bheart/diamond - b10 = ‘oo’ as in ‘you’10 = sheart/heart - hJ = ‘ow’ as in ‘cow’J = j/sh/chheart/spade - pQ = ‘or’ as in ‘oor’Q = pspade/club - sk/sn/smK = ‘ar’ as in ‘car’K = dspade/diamond - st/spspade/heart - sh/sl/swspade/spade – s


See Also