How to Memorize Ordered Lists Quickly – The Peg Method


Mnemonics is a memory tool to help us remember or memorize lists (like that list you were supposed to remember for your upcoming exam!) Mnemonic devices and methods are perhaps the easiest ways to remember lists of items. The most simple mnemonic method for remembering ordered lists that is commonly used is the Peg Method, also know as the Number Method.

In order to use the Peg Method the first thing you do is to pre-memorize a list of words that form “pegs”. Each word or peg represents a number (1-10). There are several different words you can use as pegs but the most common peg words are: bun, shoe, tree, paw, hive, bricks, heaven, gate, line, and hen. Of course you can use your own words but make sure they are easy to remember. When creating the pegs there are a few different methods you can use. Some people create their peg lists alphabetically but this limits the number of pegs you can create to 26. Most people prefer what is called the “Major System” to create the pegs. For example one rhymes with bun, two rhymes with shoe, three rhymes with tree, etc.

Whatever you choose to do you need to link these images to the ones representing the things you want to remember. The sillier the image or compound image, the more effective you will be at remembering it.

Now we are going to use this Peg Method to remember a list of European Capitals by area. For this example we are going to use the most commonly used peg words.

  1. Paris, France – two buns make a pair
  2. London, England – a shoe truck crashes on the London bridge
  3. Sofia, Bulgaria – a tree shaped like a sofa
  4. Rome, Italy – think of paw prints all over a room
  5. Stockholm, Sweden – a hive full of stocks in your home
  6. Berlin, Germany – bricks falling on Burl Ives in the snow
  7. Kiev, Ukraine – think of what heaven’s key might look like
  8. Madrid, Spain – a gate only for Mad Id’s
  9. Budapest, Hungary – a line of Buddha’s stomping on pests
  10. Warsaw, Poland – think of hens clucking about the war they saw

Try to visualize these images. You might want to add colors, sounds, smells, or textures to the images to make them more vivid in your mind. After you memorize the images try writing them down on a piece of paper. You should be able to do this by thinking of the number, then the part of the image associated with the number, and then the whole image. Finally you can decode the image to give you the name of the capital city.

If the mnemonic has worked, you should not only recall the names of all the capitals in the correct order, but should also be able to spot where you have left them out of the sequence. Try it – it’s easier than it sounds.


Source by Velislav Vodov

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