An interesting element of testing people’s memory is finding a culture free test. A couple of years ago the World Memory Sports Council (of which I am a member) decided to introduce a competition based on abstract images to replace an event on how to memorise a poem (translated of course)

the idea is to commit to memory and recall the sequence of abstract images in as many rows as possible.

Here are the official rules …


  1. A4 pages consisting, each containing 10 rows of 5 images each. The images are considered to be in order e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
  2. The number of images presented equals the world record + 20%.
    Further images are available from the adjudicator if requested one month in advance of the competition.
  3. Competitors may choose which rows to attempt.
  4. IMPORTANT – No writing (e.g. Pens or Pencils) or measuring (e.g. Rulers) instruments or additional sheets of paper may be present on the desk during the memorisation phase of this event. What constitutes a measuring instrument is at the discretion of the Chief Arbiter.


  1. The Recall paper is in the same format as the memorisation paper but with the 5 images in a different sequence within each row. Note: the rows are in the same order.
  2. Competitors must write under each image a number indicating its original position (reading from left to right).e.g. 4, 3, 1, 2, 5.


  1. Five points are awarded for every correct row.
  2. If there are any omissions or errors within an attempted row, one point is deducted from the overall score. (e.g. perfect rows score +5, rows with errors score -1)
  3. There is no penalty for any missing row.
  4. If the final score is a negative it is rounded up to zero.

All make sense?!

Try it yourself by downloading the following files…

Abstract Images – Memorisation paper

Abstract Images – Recall Test paper

Abstract Images – Marking sheet

Let me know if you have any questions