0-2 Memory Test: 2/2

Goal:

1. Learn about the USA Memory Championship

2. Further evaluate your memory ability, specifically its performance in memorizing

i. Numbers

ii. Names and Faces

and

iii. Cards

*If you want to only evaluate your memory, skip everything that is indented

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What is the USA Memory Championship?

The USA Memory Championship is an Olympiad for ‘thinking’ games. Set up as a sporting event for Mental Athletes, the tournament consists of memory challenging tournament-style competitive events including memorization of: 99 names and faces, a shuffled deck of cards, an unpublished poem, speed numbers, and a list of 500 words. Mental Athletes compete for gold, silver and bronze awards in individual competitions as well as for the entire event. (http://www.usamemorychampionship.com/faqs)

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Within one year Joshua Foer transformed from a journalist into a memory athlete. Nothing is impossible!

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Event: Speed Numbers

US Memory Championship Rules: “Mental Athletes will have 5 minutes to memorize a list of computer generated numbers which are presented in rows of 20 digits with 25 rows per page. Competitors MUST start with the first digit in the first row and continue with consecutive rows. Skipping rows is not permitted.

Once the memorization period is over, the Mental Athletes will have 10 minutes for recall. There are 2 trials for this event and the best score is awarded.

20 points are awarded for every complete row that is correctly recalled in order. For every completed row of 20 that has any mistakes will score 0 points.

For the final row completed, scoring is done a bit differently. If the final row is partially complete but all of the digits are correct, then the points awarded will equal the number of digits recalled.” (http://www.usamemorychampionship.com/events/speed-numbers)

______________________________________________________________________________There are many methods for memorizing numbers. Each is considerably more complicated than the crash course on the Link Method from Memory Test: 1/2. Thus, a crash course will not be included in this lesson. We shall explore this topic later. (Click here for a guide on memorizing numbers) For now, just do your best.

Test:

Test Two

What you need:

1. Timer with an audible alert

(An online timer will do: http://www.online-stopwatch.com/countdown-timer/; make sure your volume is on)

2. A pencil and a piece of paper OR access to a word-processing application (notepad will do)

Instructions:

You will be given a list of thirty random numbers. In the next five minutes, your goal will be to memorize both numbers and their positions. After five minutes you are to recall the list on a piece of paper or in a word processing application. One point is given to each correct number in the right position.

Tips:

1. If English is not your first language, then it may be helpful to memorize the numbers, by repetition, in your first language. (Provided that it is, to you, more familiar than English.) I shall explain later why this is the case.

2. The only option, really, is to memorize by repetition.

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Start the timer NOW.

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0 1 9 2 8 3 6 5 1 0

0 4 8 3 9 1 8 2 6 3

8 2 7 5 0 1 9 2 8 3

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Instructions:

Now try to recall the numbers in order. Write or type the list on paper or in a word-processing application. Give yourself one point for each correct number in the right position.

If you scored higher than 15, then congratulations, you have a better benchmark “digit” memory than me.

Again do not be discouraged by your score. With around twenty minutes’ practice with the method that works best for you, you will be able to memorize numbers visually. Do you remember how effective the crash course on Link Method was? With some practice, memorizing birthdays, credit card numbers, or phone numbers will be a breeze. Want to memorize the first 100 digits of pi? You will be able to do it under an hour.

Test Concludes.

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*Memory by repetition drills the repeated elements into your short-term memory by creating a sense of familiarity. The shorter the content, the more likely and effectively it may be memorized. The reason why I recommended ESL readers to read, either out loud, or mentally, in their first language is that they are often more familiar with those syllables than with the English numbers. I have found reading numbers in Chinese much easier than reading numbers in English, when it comes to memorization by repetition. I have been speaking Chinese all my life and English for only 6 years; perhaps there lies the reason.

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Event: Names and Faces

US Memory Championship Rules: “Mental athletes will have 15 minutes to memorize 117 color photos of different people (head and shoulder shots as demonstrated above) with a first and second name written below each picture.

Once the memorization period is over, competitors are then given 20 minutes for recall. Mental athletes are given the same photos again but without the names and in a different order to that on the memorization sheet.

A point is awarded for every correctly spelled name, either first or last. No points are awarded for phonetic spellings.” (http://www.usamemorychampionship.com/events/names-and-faces)

A crash course on how to memorize names and faces will not be included in this lesson. We shall explore this topic later. For now, just do your best.

Test:

Test Three

What you need:

1. Timer with an audible alert.

(An online timer will do: http://www.online-stopwatch.com/countdown-timer/; make sure your volume is on.)

2. A piece of paper to cover parts of the screen.

Instructions:

*Download “N&F_Questions_2005.o”;

You will be given a list of 120 names and faces. In the next five minutes, your goal will be to memorize as many corresponding names and faces as possible. After five minutes you are to cover the names on the pdf and check each name as you recall it. Every correctly spelled name will receive one point.

Tips:

1. Use mnemonics

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Start the timer NOW.

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Again do not be discouraged by your score. With around twenty minutes’ practice with the method that works best for you, you will be able to effortlessly link faces and names.

Test Concludes.

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Event: Speed Cards

USA Memory Championship Rules: “The object of SPEED CARDS is to commit to memory and recall a single pack of 52 playing cards in the shortest possible time. There are two trials for this event and the best score is awarded.

Mental Athletes will have 5 minutes to memorize a freshly shuffled pack of 52 playing cards. For those Mental Athletes who expect to memorize the complete pack in less than 5 minutes, a judge is nearby with a stopwatch to record the precise moment memorization stopped. The recall will take place once the entire 5 minute memorization period is complete.

Once the memorization period is over, the Mental Athletes will have 5 minutes for recall. After the memorizing phase everybody gets a second stack of cards which is in perfect order (i.e. diamonds 2, diamonds 3, diamonds 4 ….. etc.). Now this second stack of cards has to be put in the same sequence as the just memorized one. After the recall phase both stacks will be put beside each other on the table with the card on the top where the checking should start from. Now the Judge will compare each card from the memorized stack with each card on the recall stack being at the same position. If there is a discrepancy then only the cards to this point will be counted.

The Mental Athlete who recalls all 52 cards with the shortest memorization time wins the event. If no one correctly recalls an entire pack, one point per card CORRECTLY RECALLED IN SEQUENCE will be awarded. The first mistake made ends scoring. The best score from the two attempts will count.” (http://www.usamemorychampionship.com/events/speed-cards)

______________________________________________________________________________Test:

Test Four

What you need:

1. Timer with an audible alert

(An online timer will do: http://www.online-stopwatch.com/countdown-timer/; make sure your volume is on)

2. A pencil and a piece of paper OR access to a word-processing application (notepad will do)

Instructions:

You will be given a list of 15 random cards. In the next five minutes, your goal will be to memorize both ranks (A,2,3…J,Q,K) and suits (Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, or Clubs – they are denoted in the following list by their initial letters). After five minutes you are to recall the list on a piece of paper or in a word processing application. One point is given to each correct card in the right position. (correct rank and suit)

An effective method for memorizing cards is rather complicated. Click here for a comprehensive guide.

Tips:

1. Try to associate cards with people or objects. For instance: Ace of Spaces – Obama

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Start the timer NOW.

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1.

10

D

2.

7

D

3.

J

H

4.

3

S

5.

10

H

6.

8

C

7.

7

H

8.

A

S

9.

4

H

10.

A

H

11.

Q

D

12.

2

H

13.

J

S

14.

5

H

15.

2

C

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Instruction:

Now try to recall the cards in order. Write or type the list on paper or in a word-processing application. Give yourself one point for each correct card in the right position. (Correct rank and suit.)

The last five minutes were, I would imagine, frustrating. The world record for memorizing a single deck of cards (52 cards) is 21.90 seconds. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory_sport) So turn that frustration into motivation, see what I have to offer, and continue your voyage!

Test Concludes.

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Now that you have a general idea of how powerful a trained memory can be and how easy some memory methods are, you are ready to begin the real lessons.

Click here to go back to the Contents page.

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