# How to TURBO-CHARGE your memory, so you can easily remember ANY NUMBER

This is a neat little mnemonics system I have been using since about 1995. The technique is not listed on Wikipedia under their "mnemonics" entry, so therefore I would like to share it with the world via the godsend that is "Instructables."

With this tool I am about to teach you, with a tiny bit of work, you will forever be able to memorize everything from debit card PINs to friends and relatives phone numbers and even your student I.D. number, employer I.D. number, or social security number. All this from one tiny little system that you can master in about 30 minutes or less. If you utilize it regularly for only a short period of time it will become like second nature to you and you can consider it a permanent mod to your brain housing group until the day you die, or go insane, whichever comes first. But go insane you may, because you just may find yourself memorizing the strangest things once you learn this, like the phone number of the taxi service you used 2 years ago on that two-day business trip to Tampa, or that phone number from that billboard you saw 6 months ago that you promised yourself you would call... or the 22-digit card number from the last "Phone-Home to Mexico" phone card you had to buy at the liquor store...

I did not make this system up, my old platoon sergeant in the Marines made everyone learn this so we could memorize eight/six-digit grid coordinates, and I don't know where he got it but i still use it all the time...
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## Step 1: Learn the basic "sound-number" system

The system is simple.

There are only TEN basic consonant sounds in the english language, when grouped by the position of the mouth when saying them.

And, coincidentally enough, there are only ten basic digits that make up any number in our current arabic number system. (1-9 and 0)

(And, in order to make full use of this system, I am also going to add a bonus step at the end of this instructable that will cement in your brain these corresponding consonant sounds with their numbers...)

Without further ado, here is the system:

Number = Consonant sounds (letters) = Position of Mouth (Just to further understand the correlations)

1 = duh, tuh (d, t) = open, with tongue against the back of the front teeth
2 = nuh (n) = open, with tongue against the roof of the mouth
3 = muh (m) = lips closed
4 = ruh (r) = open, with tongue not touching anything
5 = luh (l) = open, with only the tip of the tongue against the roof
6 = chuh, shuh, juh (ch, sh, j) = lips pursed, with tongue obstructing airflow at the top
7 = guh, kuh (g, k) = open, with back of the tongue covering top of the throat
8 = fuh, vuh (f, v) = front top teeth against lower lip
9 = buh, puh (b, p) = lips closed, with puff of air
0 = suh, zuh (s, z) = open, tip of tongue grazing the roof of the mouth

To further help you memorize which numbers go with which sounds, here is a list of "peg" words that work extremely well with this system ( I will talk more about these "peg" words in the bonus step):

1 tie
2 noah
3 ma
4 rye
5 law
6 shoe
7 cow
8 ivy
9 bee
10 toes

notice every number correlates with a word that has only one CONSONANT sound, with the exception of the number ten, which has two digits and corresponds to a word that has two consonant sounds...

paperairplanecreator says: Jun 18, 2011. 4:59 PM
so basically your making words that will help you remeber big big numbers? like words you say and remember another? anyways, i got a little confused. but m sure when im older i will understand this pretty well.
snoyes says: Dec 8, 2010. 1:56 PM
Forgot something at my mother-in-law's house the other night. Went back, had the key to the door, but someone had set the house alarm. No problem; I recited my little mnemonic phrase memorized using this system to myself while I punched in the numbers.

Unfortunately, the phrase I was reciting was the PIN for my bank card, and not the one that goes with the house alarm. Yes, the siren woke everyone in the house at 2am. Yes, a police officer followed me home.
Joanassie says: Nov 27, 2007. 10:35 AM
Cute picture, says a person who has signed up before but lost their account.
Saturn V in reply to JoanassieMay 1, 2010. 5:29 PM
BorisTheSpider says: Jul 24, 2008. 11:35 PM
I wonder if it would help the initial memorization if one could come up with a sentence for counting to ten. Best I can do is a random assortment of words, like "Do no more. Lie. Shock. Fibs." or "Dynamo real chug vibes." Maybe for 0-9, it could be "Satin, my real chick vibe." Not sure if it would help, but I would think so, since the initial memorization seems to be the hardest part.
CarpetGnome says: Jun 2, 2007. 1:54 AM
`I don't mean to be rude, but Noah didn't part the  sea, Moses did.Love the instructable though, Great job!`
thesparine (author) in reply to CarpetGnomeJun 2, 2007. 2:49 PM
Goes to show how much I know about Noah!
BorisTheSpider in reply to thesparineJul 23, 2008. 6:08 PM
Actually reminds me of a joke. Most people know (through memorization or otherwise) who Noah and Moses are. The joke goes: How many of each animal did Moses take on the ark? People usually have one of two responses. One is proud that they know there was two of each animal (which isn't technically a full answer anyhow), the other is looking for the trick in the question regarding the number (like maybe figuring out the bit I mentioned above). It's rare to find someone who instantly knows the right answer. Of course the answer is that Moses didn't build the ark, Noah did (of course, Moses did build the arc of the covenant, but that's obviously something else entirely). Now, to my point -- oh, I don't think there was one...
EaglesNestOne says: Jul 23, 2008. 5:18 AM
Quote from Instructable:
"9 = "bee" this one also you just have to remember"
Simple just turn 9 180degrees.

Quote from instructable:
"5 = "law" = picture the roman numeral for 50 is an "L""
More for those who have played the old Colin McCray on their PS1s: Imagine the car navigator saying 5 "Left into..." not into the larger roman numerals myself.

Nice ible. May be I can learn my mobile number now >_<.
snoyes says: Jun 1, 2007. 7:49 AM
http://www.thememorypage.net/ includes this method, with some more examples of clever things you can do with it (card tricks and such).

You can find phonetic dictionaries on the net, which can help you come up with longer words that match the required sounds.

This is also a great thing to teach kids when they're at the age where secret codes and languages are cool and exciting.
secretmachines in reply to snoyesJul 22, 2008. 1:04 AM
Thanks so much! I was skeptical until I went to that page! Now I've even created a sign language with that symbolize the sounds and the numbers. Yay!
Weissensteinburg in reply to snoyesJun 1, 2007. 12:49 PM
Secret codes are ALWAYS cool and exciting.
srilyk says: May 13, 2008. 8:00 PM
91852719521639092112 I encountered this system in The Memory Book. Makes me wonder why schools don't bother to teach this stuff - all the kids would ace most of the standardized testing, and they'd barely have to apply themselves. Probably because nobody wants to believe that learning is really about memorizing things. Wisdom is about applying said learned things.
nerdnurture in reply to srilykJun 30, 2008. 7:41 PM
I agree that this is a cool trick. I am a fanatic for teaching my students cool memory tricks to help free up their brains for more important work than memorization. But I am wondering if you can explain how the application of this mnemonic device would allow "all the kids" to "ace most of the standardized testing". I am not sure how a trick for memorizing strings of numbers (like a credit card number)will help students recall the correct method for displaying information from a table in a graphic form, or finding the main idea in a paragraph, or using coordinates to find a location on a map, or knowing how to convert fractions. Maybe I just don't understand that learning is really about memorizing things...
srilyk in reply to nerdnurtureJul 1, 2008. 1:59 AM
I wasn't referring to only "this" system, although most of the examples you ask for use at least this system.

I'm not sure if you're referring to Cartesian coordinates (X-Y axes) as "the correct method for displaying ... table [information]", but that's basically the opposite from using coordinates.

Also I'm not sure the specific use of "converting fractions" you're referring to. Converting to decimal form? Reducing? Converting to the LCD? Converting to mm? There are various conversions to apply, and they are "all" a memory game.

For instance, take the fraction 1/4. A simple fraction, and I'm sure most people here can quickly convert it to 0.25, 2/8, 3/12, 4/16, 25/100 etc. etc.

I'm equally sure that at least some of those people don't think, "Now let's see, four times two is eight, and one times two is two, so that's two eighths!" And I'm sure most, if not "all", don't think, "Now let's see, one divided by four, that's 1.0 or 10, four goes into that twice, so 0.2, bring down the remainder two, that's twenty, and four times five is twenty, so 1/4 = 0.25"

I know I didn't. It came straight from memory. The more one uses conversions, the quicker they fall into "rote" memory. But with the use of memory systems, you "actually" remember, instead of spending time trying to remember, a la flashcards, etc. -- it's really a one time shot.

The difference between learning and comprehension is that someone would say I have "learned" that 1/4 = 0.25, while it's perfectly possible that I don't comprehend exactly what that means (and I'd guess that most people don't).

As far as finding the main idea in a paragraph, that must be new on tests, mine always asked questions specific about bits of information. Reading and memorizing as you read, provides you with a quick access times. And this particular system also helps you memorize the handy line numbers provided in every standardized test "I" recall taking :P

I'd check out The Memory Book, by Harry Lorrayne and Jerry Lucas, at least. Harry Lorrayne also has various other books, more specific to students.

(Oh, and I'm fairly certain that 90%+ of questions on standardized testing have nothing to do with "understanding" in a philosophical sense. It's all memorization, really. Unless they've REALLY changed since I took the ACT around 5 years ago. Only essay tests can really be designed to test understanding. "Explain the effect of 'The First 100 Days' on the American economy:" Requires understanding. "Which President was responsible for 'The First 100 Days': a) Teddy Roosevelt, b) Hugo Chavez, c) King George, d) Harry S. Truman, e) None of the above" only requires memorization. Which format does the SAT/ACT follow? a) essay, or b) multiple choice ;) )

Until college (and even in most of /my/ college classes), the most important work was what I memorized. That's why I did *very* well in reading, and sucked in math.

HTH
rimar2000 says: Jun 1, 2007. 11:15 AM
Do you know if fhere is for spanish this method? (pardon my english)
srilyk in reply to rimar2000May 13, 2008. 8:07 PM
Technically it should work for spanish as well, with minor adaptations at most. The only issue would be with the r sound. I would probably convert the r to perhaps the "ll" or y sound. It's really all about the position of the vocal apparatus: lips, teeth, tongue. I'm sure if you think about it you could come up with substitutes.
ich bin ein pyro says: Jun 1, 2007. 8:01 AM
yeeeeaa i'd rather memorize the numbers by studing them all night and into thee nexr day
Bob Greaves in reply to ich bin ein pyroApr 21, 2008. 12:22 PM
I think this system is generally known as the "Major System" by those that are keen on the use of mnemonics. You will find it in plenty of improve-your-memory books.
lexmsx says: Jun 22, 2007. 11:44 AM
Very cool, i just have one problem, english isn't my mother language... *lol* This helps a lot, thanks!
quartertone says: Jun 16, 2007. 8:23 PM
I like the pictures.

Incidentally, this mnemonic system is known as the major system. The bootstrapping stage (memorizing the number-letter associations) is a bit difficult, but once that's done you have a great memory tool.
happysteve says: Jun 1, 2007. 11:08 AM