Friday, 21 June 2013

The Card Test

Well, I can’t claim to be a genius, certainly. Still, I did take the challenge of giving myself an hour to learn all the cards in a randomly shuffled pack in a single hour last night. I’m tempted to use the John Thompson Fast Show catchphrase – results were disappointing. Except that they weren’t all that disappointing.

Right – to cut a long story just a little shorter, I spent about 40 minutes trying to memorise the sequence. Time was short last night, it being a Thursday. At the end of the 40 minutes I gave myself a compulsory 10 minute break, and then tested myself on the sequence. I knew that I had only managed to take the sequence I had memorized up to 36 cards. The great thing was that even after the 10 minute enforced break, I could still recite the sequence of 36 correctly. What was even more impressive to me was that I went to the quiz in the club last night, then when I came back I was still able to recite the whole sequence correctly, and this was a good two or three hours later.

What I found most difficult about the whole thing was the different suits. I had the number sequence fairly quickly, but while I was committing the sequence to memory I took a long time getting the suits of the cards in the sequence right. Now, on the Child Genius show earlier in the week, it briefly showed one of the parents helping the child to compile a specific chart, giving each card a completely separate value. Now, for me I think this would work. Let’s say I gave the King of Spades the name Bob. That would mean that instead of having two bits of information to remember when it comes up in a sequence – a) that it’s a king – and b) – that it’s in spades, all I would have to remember was that it was Bob, because I would already know that Bob means the King of Spades. Well, something like that, anyway. I know quite a number of people who use story or journey techniques for remembering long sequences, so this is all old hat to anyone versed in memory techniques. However as a stimulating – if admittedly pointless in itself – mental exercise its worth giving it a try yourself.

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