Mnemonic peg system

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A peg system is a technique for memorizing lists. It works by pre-memorizing a list of words that are easy to associate with the numbers they represent (1 to 10, 1-100, 1-1000, etc). Those objects form the "pegs" of the system. Then in the future, to rapidly memorize a list of arbitrary objects, each one is associated with the appropriate peg. Generally, a peglist only has to be memorized one time, and can then be used over and over every time a list of items needs to be memorized.

The peglists are generated from words that are easy to associate with the numbers (or letters). Peg lists created from letters of the alphabet or from rhymes are very simple to learn, but are limited in the number of pegs they can produce. The Major System is often used to create pegs. While it is more complicated to learn than simple rhymes or alphabetic pegs, it is limitless in the number of pegs it can produce.

Peg Lists

A rhyming example

  • 1-gun Visualize the first item being fired from a gun
  • 2-zoo Visualize an association between the second thing and a zoo
  • 3-tree Visualize the third item growing from a tree
  • 4-door Visualize the 4th item associated with a door
  • 5-hive Visualize the fifth item associated with a hive or with bees
  • 6-bricks Visualize the sixth item associated with bricks
  • 7-heaven Visualize the seventh item associated with heaven
  • 8-plate Visualize the 8th item on a plate as if it is food
  • 9-wine Visualize a glass containing the 9th item
  • 10-hen Visualize the 10th item associated with a chicken.

For example to remember the following grocery list of 10 items:

  • Apple: Picture an apple being fired from a gun
  • Butter: picture a gorilla stomping up and down on a stick of butter
  • Razor Blades: Picture a tree with razor blades for leaves
  • Soap: Picture a door made from soap
  • Bread: Picture bees flying from a loaf of bread as if it is a hive
  • Milk: Picture a brick house with milk jugs where the bricks should be
  • Cat food: Picture an open can of cat food with angel wings and a halo
  • Bacon: Picture bacon on a plate
  • Batteries: Picture a wine glass filled with batteries
  • Orange juice: Picture a hen being squeezed, and orange juice coming out

Rhyme may also help with memorising a peglist. Here is another example that includes an element of rhyme:

  • one ate a bun
  • two in shoes
  • Three for free
  • four on the floor
  • five is alive
  • six on sticks
  • seven in heaven
  • eight comes late
  • nine down a mine
  • ten in a pen

External links

Making pegs from rhymes:

Making pegs from shapes:

Alphabet Pegs:

Major system peg list

Full article ▸

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