Using memory techniques can get complicated when you want to memorize a lot of different information. Memory godfather Tony Buzan came up with the idea of putting your major system into a matrix and stretching it that way up to 10.000 combinations. Frank Gazerro is making his debut as an author for by writing this article for you.

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A similar system to the SEM³ but more effective is the Wardrobe Method. You might be interested in our article about this little known but powerful technique.

The Wardrobe Method


Many of us use mind mapping as a way to organize our thoughts and plan projects. Google it, and you’ll find a slew of sites praising, teaching, and selling the art of mind mapping.What many don’t realize is that mind mapping was created by Tony Buzan, one of the most prolific writers on memory and accelerated learning.

In his book, Master Your Memory, Buzan outlines his memory system, the Self Enhanced Memory Matrix or Sem Cubed (Sem³). Sem³ is an elaborate peg system allows you to store 10,000 pieces of information in a giant table. It combines the major Major System with a set of 100 Sem³ pegs, each of which is based on a theme.

The 10×10 Grid

It all starts with a 10×10 grid.


The matrix is build by 10 categories with ten elements each

Each column represents a block of 1000 numbers divided evenly between 10 cells. Each cell contains 100 numbers, represented by each row. Lets break this down a bit:

  • If we look at the cell marked “A”, we see it’s in the 3000’s column and the 200-299 row. Therefore, the “A” cell contains the numbers 3200-3299.
  • Next, let’s look at the cell marked “B.” It contains numbers 8500-8599.

Get the idea? Good, let’s move on.

Themes and Pegs

Next, Buzan creates the 100 Sem³ peg words by assigning a theme to each row. Each cell within a row is assigned a peg word reflecting its theme. If the first row (0-99) was given the theme animals each cell would be assigned an animal peg.

The category is called “animals” and the pegs are created using the major code.

Now we can begin to put it all together. Combining the Sem³ grid with the major system allows you can create at least 10,000 unique images on the fly.

Take the number 5025. An image representing this number could be a goat wielding a knife. How did we arrive at that image?

  1. Determine the cell that contains the number. In this case, it’s the goat cell, since our number is between 5000 and 5099.
  2. Use the Major System to create a word representing the specific number within the cell. In this case, 025 = knife.

To sum it up:

(Goat = Any number between 5000-5099) + (Knife = 25) = 5025

Applying the System

We now have 10,000 unique peg images. To use this system, we simply allocate part of the grid to the information we want to memorize and link our information accordingly.

Let’s say we want to remember some information about each member of the Beatles. We’ll place this information in the 1000-1099 cell, the cat cell. The first four numbers within that cell and their images are as follows:

  • 1000: A cat with a hand saw.
  • 1001: A cat dressed up as King Tut.
  • 1002: A cat acting as Noah building a big ark.
  • 1003: A cat mooing like a cow.

Now we include each of the Beatles in this image.

  • 1000: A cat performing as a magician and sawing Paul McCartney in half.
  • 1001: John Lennon is an explorer who opens King Tut’s tomb only to find a giant cat.
  • 1002: Ringo Star is helping Cat-Noah build the ark.
  • 1003: George Harrison and a cat are brazing in a field mooing like cows.

We have now assigned each of the four Beatles to a block of numbers in the Sem Cubed grid. Now, we can use the link system to tie more information to each of the Beatles.

  • Paul McCartney played bass. If we think of “bass” as the fish: Paul McCartney getting eaten by a giant bass.
  • Paul also had a band called Wings. We can chain this information to “bass” by imaging a bass growing wings and flying away.

By using the link system to tie long strings of information to individual locations on the Sem³ grid, the possibilities are limitless. Go give it a try and share your thoughts in the comments!