The Major System: Memorizing Numbers With Incredible Speed

Numbers prove to be very difficult for people to remember.

They are usually much more difficult than remembering words.

Try to remember this short phrase: “four score and seven years ago.”

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It’s very simple, even if you aren’t familiar with US History.

Ten minutes from now you would likely to be able to remember the phrase if I were to ask you.

Now, what about “284 185943 392 38271 18 94059 32?”

No way could you remember that!

Why not? There are just as many numerical digits as there are letters.

It’s because as humans we naturally “chunk” letters into phrases and phrases into sentences.

When you think “four” you don’t think ‘f’, ‘o’, ‘u’, ‘r’, you consider it a single entity.

We don’t naturally do this with numbers, which is why they are so much more difficult to remember.

How the Major System Works

The Major System is a system based on phonetics.

Each number is associated to a letter (sound).

The letters are combined to form words.

The words are then turned into images like all of the previous systems.

Here is a list breaking down the numbers 0 – 9 and their corresponding letters.

Number Sound Explanation
0 “z” or “s” Zero starts with ‘z’ and is similar to ‘s’
1 “t” or “d” ‘T’ and ‘D’ have one vertical stroke. They are also formed on the same part of the mouth.
2 “n” ‘N’ has two vertical strokes.
3 “m” ‘M’ has three vertical strokes.
4 “r” Four ends with ‘r’
5 “l” “L” is the Roman numeral for 50.
6 “j”, “ch”, or “sh” ‘G’ looks like the number 6.
7 “k” or hard “g” ‘K’ looks like two 7’s combined together.
8 “f” or “v” A cursive ‘f’ looks like a figure eight.
9 “p” or “b” ‘P’ and ‘b’ look like nines if rotated accordingly.

Notice that the list contains no vowels, or the consonants w, h, or y.

These letters are fillers, inserted between the consonants to create words that can be turned into images.

And as you already know, we are great at memorizing images.

Each number is associated to a similar set of sounds where the tongue and mouth are in a similar position.

The letters themselves aren’t as important as the sounds they make in the words.

For instance, ‘g’ in ‘gasoline’ sounds similar to ‘k’ in ‘kilogram’ or the ‘c’ in ‘car’.

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As you can see from our table, ‘g’ (as in gasoline) and ‘k’ are associated with the number 7.

However, the ‘g’ in ‘fragile’ sounds like the ‘j’ in ‘jam’ or the ‘ch’ in ‘chair’, which are associated with the number 6.

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Double consonants don’t matter either, only their sounds.

So, the ‘ss’ in ‘missile’ represents a single ‘0’, not two zeros.

With these examples, you can see how important memorizing the sounds associated with each number.

Spend 5 minutes doing this now.

Use the explanations for each sound and number combination to help.

Once you have the list memorized, the system’s execution is simple.

Using the Major System to Chunk Numbers

Say you have a credit card number with a total of 16 digits that you want to memorize.

4841 2022 5317 9389

Break down your sequence of numbers into its phonetic equivalent.

4 = r, 8 = f, v, 4 = r, 1 = t, d
2 = n, 0 = s,z, 2 = n, 2 = n
5 = l, 3 = m, 1 = t, d, 7 = k, g
9 = p, b, 3 = m, 8 = f, v, 9 = p, b

If you add vowels it could spell out:


What do we do with this seemingly useless combination of words?

We create a silly image like on a steep black ROOF the ROOT of a tree is growing out of the shingles.

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A NOOSE hangs from the side of the house every day at NOON with a LIME in it.

Each day a BUM walks by and takes the lime and kicks it with his VAMP (vamp is the upper part of a shoe).

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This system takes a bit of practice.

The more you practice, the faster you will be able to come up with words to represent the numbers.

Of course, you don’t have to come up with these images on your own.

The Major System has been around since the early 1500’s and improved upon over the past 500 years.

If you don’t want to spend the time constantly coming up with new words, just memorize the list below.

Then, you can then just think of the Major System as a ‘phonetic peg system.’

00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09
sauce seed sun sumo sierra soil sewage sky sofa soap
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
daisy tattoo tuna dome diary tail dish dog dove tuba
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
nose net onion enemy winery nail nacho neck knife honeybee
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39
mouse meadow moon mummy emery mole match mug movie map
40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49
rice road urine rum aurora railway roach rag roof rope
50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59
louse lady lion lime lorry lily leech leg lava lip
60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69
cheese cheetah chin gem shrew chilli cha-cha chick chef jeep
70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79
goose cat coin game crow clay cage cake cave cube
80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89
vase video fan ovum fairy fool veggie fig fife vibe
90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99
boss bead pony puma berry bell pouch bike beef pipe

If you don’t like these images or you need more, check out the Major System Database.

You just finished Chapter 8. Congratulations! Now it’s time to take everything we have learned over the past 8 chapters and apply it to one last strategy, the PAO System. This system will set you apart from everyone else and you will see a drastic improvement in your memory retention.

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