Most people automatically form various subconscious associations, but if you pay
attention and form conscious associative patterns, your memory can improve
dramatically. Memory experts create mnemonic systems to assist in this conscious,
associative process. A mnemonic is using some mechanism for associating unknown
material with something familiar. In so doing, it relieves the burden on your short-
term memory, because your recall can be achieved through association with an
already existing memory in long term storage. For instance, a simple mnemonic
association for remembering the number 1224 is that it is one day before Christmas,
Using a mnemonic system, memory experts can often remember a long series of
numbers or even multiple groups of numbers. One man in the Guiness Book of
Records recited pi from memory to 40,000 places in 1987. To improve your own
memory with numbers, the following mnemonic system can be easily learned.
Numbers can be remembered easier by being converted to letters, so learn the
corresponding memory pegs that are arranged as follows:
DIGITS LETTERS REASONS
1 T OR D There is 1 downstroke in a small t.
2 N There are 2 downstrokes in a small n.
3 M There are 3 downstrokes in a small m.
4 R The fourth letter of the word four is R.
5 L Your 5 fingers, with thumb extended forms
an L. The Roman capital L stands for 50.
6 J, CH, SH or soft G The letter J turned around is almost like a 6.
7 K, hard C, or hard G Moving two 7's around forms a K.
8 F, PH, V A script written F looks like an 8. Also picture
a figure skater gliding on the ice in a figure 8.
9 P or B A 9 is the mirror image of a P. A lower case b is
an upside down 9.
0 soft C, S, Z The final digit, 0, is also the final letter in the
As an exercise, whenever you have a spare moment, think of a telephone or other
number and convert it into letters. Now add vowels and create words or phrases.
Soon you will be able to convert any number into a word or a phrase with ease and
back again automatically. Now use ridiculous associations between the words to
create imaginary scenes.