20 random words generator

Another tool for learning.
One of the most useful memory exercises is trying to remember 20 words.
The method requires
1. Chunking of the words into groups of 3-5 words
2. Creating visual markers per word and linking markers within each chain
3. Speed element – needs to be done under 1 min
4. Many of Anna’s students remember all 20 words after 3 weeks of training.

Notice: you will have some issues trying to generate markers for more abstract words. Try to generate icons. At some point things will start repeat themselves.

Try this. Reload page to get another word selection (out of ~3000 words chosen by Oxford)…



words generator

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124 Replies to “20 random words generator”

    1. Typically memory palaces are good for general structure, and specific words can be filled in using dual coding and some other methods. Contact me for further details.

  1. Dr. Lev,
    I see it’s been a while anyone posted on here.

    Anyways, i want know.
    I tend to beat the one minute mark when i use the memory palace method.
    Chunking and linking method however is slow for me because i have to go through to see which words have similar characteristics and at the same time make sure i have not left out any words.

    Should this be a concern?
    Does that mean i still have to work hard to improve my linking and chunking speed or i’m not doing something right because i have been doing this for some time now and i still cannot manage to beat the one minute mark.

    1. Memory palace is a good family of methods and it can be very fast if used correctly. However, because it is so fast, I would expect you to beat the 30 sec mark.
      Chunking and linking are slower, but they allow to organize more abstract information and rethink the ideas on the fly. So I think this is something you should practice anyway,

  2. I am wondering.. the 1 minute limit is for the time you are trying to memorize them right? then the time it takes to recall and write them down should be..?

  3. I started these exercises (this one and the 20 images) a week or so ago. Chunking 5 words and making moving visual stories are working for me in terms of retrieval. But my speed is still around 3-minute mark for the words exercises.

    I am struggling with words like ‘among’, ‘useful’, ‘sudden’, ‘actually’ and ‘throughout’. If you have any suggestions to get around them, please share.


    1. I could provide specific visualizations used on google image search or equivalent, but you are asking for an alternative solution. So here it is.
      For the very abstract words use sound to make initial audio associations and then remember that visualization.
      “among”~”a monkey”, “useful”~”asshole”(sorry, that was mine association), “actually”~”actuary”,”throughout”~”throw out”
      We use a similar method for hard names, foreign words etc.

      1. Thanks for this tip. I like ‘throw out’ for throughout. It is useful to break the words down to similar sounding words and connecting them. However, there is a bit of confusion when it comes to suffixes, prefixes and tenses especially when one has to remember the exact word, say with Caps etc. (as they do in Memory Championship, I believe). How to remember exactly “a monkey” from among?

        You said “I could provide specific visualizations used on google image search”. Can you please share this too?

        1. It is not enough just to visualize the words, they should somehow form a visual sequence (animation, mindmap, mental palace etc)
          Also, there are some extra details we add to specific visualizations.
          Then the accuracy comes from the context and from the details.

  4. Is there a problem if my markers are not much creative? I mean, I tend to create markers almost the same as the words they describe. eg.: I picture a camera for the word photography and a cross for the word cross… Another thing, I use to create a story involving all the chunk groups, is that a problem? I mean it could take precious time while speed reading doing it?

    1. Just be able to remember the words FAST. If you sign up for the mobile beta, you will see we switched to multiple choice so the process is faster.

  5. Hi Dr Lev,

    Is it better to take the time to ultimately structure one marker per word? As I sometimes have different markers coming up for the same word.


  6. Hello

    Im was able to do it in 5 min, but im using the chunking by cuadrants and also i repeat the words some kind of memorization by sound it, is that ok?

    1. Chunking is intended, the sound is not intended. Your memorization is way too slow. It should take you between 30-60 sec for 20 words.

  7. Hey, love what you guys are doing and truly appreciate it. However, I would suggest making a short clip or video on using the techniques. People learn well by demonstration.

  8. Hello again Dr. Lev,

    I have a suggestion that the exercise can be more computerized as follows:

    1) There’s a timer we can set, and during the active timer we can look at the words.
    2) Once the timer’s done, the words disappear and we have a place to enter all the words we remember
    3) Results show what words we got/missed.

    What do you think? ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. That’s actually a good idea.
      I am currently not investing any effort in the online games.
      We are slowly adding more games to the mobile app, and the mobile version of 20 words will probably feature a timer.

  9. I’m currently on the second week of the programme. I ace the STVM test but trying to remember all the 20 words using only chunking is very frustrating. I can never remember more than 9 words. I make groups of 4 words each and read them to myself repeatedly in my head. Is there any better strategy? ๐Ÿ™

  10. Hello again Dr Lev,
    another question..
    when I was started this exercise without trying to use the techniques taught in the course I did quite OK remembering about 15-18 words in a short period, but now when trying and generating visual markers Im getting worse every time. I keep forgetting clusters of words and the markers I’ve generate although some of them quite unique and detailed. Why is that happened, are you familiar with this issue?

    1. Good markers are effortless. They are visual associations. If you make yourself generate markers that are not within your comfort zone, you will slow down and get tired. You are not using the markers that are natural for you. Some of the course was written by Jonathan using his own favorite markers method. It is not my favorite method. I work with icon-like symbols. Pany people work with their childhood memories or locations. Try to see what works for you.

  11. Hi,
    Should I chunk the words according the clusters on the page or should I read them all first and then chunk them by meaning regardless of their location?


    1. Both ways will work. If you chunk according to the position on the page you will get faster scanning, but slower/less accurate in memorization. So I suggest starting according to the meaning, and as you get faster and more accurate, try to speed up according to position.

  12. Hello, Dr. Lev.

    I’ve been practicing this exercise for a while and I have a question. Is there leniency in terms of how exactly we should remember the words?

    For example, one time I remembered

    “inquire” for “inquiry” and
    “victorious” for “victory.”

    I was wondering if I would get a point off for each word that I remembered “almost” exactly.

    Thank you for your great work.

    And my apologies if this topic was already covered before.

  13. Wow I did all 20 words in under 1 minute on my second go.
    Used 7 chunks with a mix of word association, visualisation and visual memory for the abstract words that had no possible links.
    Is the method I used for the abstract words fair game? Or am I doing the whole thing wrong?

  14. These comments are really essential reading and have answered all my questions. So glad you have them up. I have been linking words using e.g. alliteration ‘salt seem spicy sugar satisfy’, or other wordy techniques, but having read these posts and answers, I now realise that I need to start again and practise using visual markers. I also loved the comment from the person who took 20 mins at first and is now very fast – very encouraging.

  15. I chunk this way but wanted to ask if it valid. Out of the 20 words I get 4-5 groups of words. Here’s an example of what I do. Lets say the second group of words is alone, queen, faith, nuclear, whistle. I would make a little animation like All alone the queen had fatih the nuclear whistle would not blow. So I would chunk that second group of five words under queen. When I would pull the words off the screen and the second group of words came I would think queen. Is this a proper way of doing this exercise?

  16. Can I start from limiting time frame to just a minute and try to do chunking thing to increase number of words that I can remember?

    for example, I may remember 12, 14, 14, 15, … words in a minute.

    Or, I have to start remembering all words no matter what time it takes and try to decrease the time frame until I make it in a minute.

  17. Dr Lev, should we make a marker of static vivid images describing chunks of 4-5 words or we have to make stories/clips which we can play in our mind during retrieval?

    And also can you please tell which method would be fast on large scale ( i.e during speed reading enormous amount of information )

    1. Either way is good. Need both skills when we work with text.
      On the large scale, we first make a static compound marker of 4-5 simpler markers, and then we connect 4-5 of such statics into an animation.
      The animations are placed into the relevant mindmaps and mental palaces.

  18. Yes, this exercise is very challenging. I’m breaking the page out into two halves and starting with 10 words first then working my way up to 20. Yes, it’s difficult to visualize the abstract words. I think it would be easier if this was broken out into skill levels of beginner, intermediate and advanced. I almost have to go back to kindergarten level using animals and simple objects! lol ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. I’m having some serious problems with this exercise…
    How are we supposed to visualize the abstract words?

    I’m familiar with the methods of word decomposition & substitution, but for some words, I just can’t come up with anything.

    Did I miss something? I didn’t find any instruction on that topic. Any other methods to recommend aside from the word decomposition and substitution?

  20. I was trying to do this exercise and it is quite hard for me, I am a young teenager, is this because of my age or my capability? Another thing I encountered which I found was quite odd, when I saw the word “with” I immediately associated it with the French word “avec”. is this normal? Should I try to do less or more of it. I am not fluent in French, so I can’t associate every word with a French translation. When I do this exercise, I find that after I see a word, I close my eyes and recall a memory, this takes lots of time, is it possible to use this technique and do this in under a minute. I find chunking very hard because of the difference of the topics of the words. The grocery list given in the lecture is quite easy because everything can be associated. Will the ability to associate a word with another come with time and practice? Thanks!

    1. (1) No age issue here (2) This is normal, no need to make any conclusions (3) Yes , do practice (4) Try to chunk from different perspectives, be creative (5) Probably

  21. Hey, the games here are kinda hard to use. Do you have mobile versions for these games if not, maybe you would be interested in someone developing a game for you?

  22. Thanks for this helpful exercise. Can you please elaborate on the optimal strategy (if any) to complete this exercise. Given one minute is a narrow time frame, I am trying to see what works better between the following alternatives:
    1. Clustering groups of words as I read through them (and that are therefore physically next to each other) – seems faster but makes creating links sometimes more challenging
    2. First read through the words and then cluster them into groups based on words that I find to be related to each other. Whatever words I am left with that by the end are not clustered int a group I can then group together (assuming I am left with 3-5 words) – seems slower but makes links more intuitive and stronger
    3. A different strategy?

    Thank you

    1. Hi there are a few ways to approach this exercise, you are correct on your first point, link the words that are next to each over. The whole point of the exercise is to be able to link words that are not related to each over in some way as an example the first two words I see are “rich” and “sure”, instantly I visualise Richie rich spraying his armpits with sure deodorant, the next word you see you link to the scenario and expand the story in some logical way. The next word is “tourist”… Richie rich is now stood in a town square spraying his armpits with a sure deodorant whilst a crowd has gathered around to take pictures of him,it doesn’t have to be realistic, In fact the image is quite comical how I visualise it. After you have a link of 5 you place a dominant image to represent the scenario in a 2×2 grid I.e the sure deodorant and carry on with the next group of words, when I think back to the grid when I’m done and I see the sure deodorant it reminds me of the scenario I created ,I then replay my link recalling each word. This sounds very complicated but the more you do it the easier it becomes.
      The second method is to have an image associated with each word and place them in a memory palace following your regular route, if you are used to using memory palaces this possibly is the fastest way but I recommend you use the first method as this builds your linking ability and transfers over to your reading.
      Hope this helps, most importantly do not give up.

      1. Thank you for this explanation, Kris! This was the post that I was searching for. I am unfamiliar with the 2×2 grid. Intuitively, it sound like each portion of the grid is represented by 5 words that you have grouped (the dominant image). Is it as simple as that or is there more to the utilization? Could you point me in the right directions? Thank you.

  23. Hi, is it important to remember the exact words or is it also ok to remember small deviations (southern instead of south, awkward instead of awkwardly)? I seem to have problems to encode such differences.

  24. Just as a positive and a bit of motivation to fellow students, I used to struggle with this exercise a lot, I remember my first attempt nearly took me 20 mins to get all 20 correct. Now on average anywhere from 30-50 seconds….. keep practising!

  25. Hi

    I’m very grateful for this course, but I must admit that I find this exercise and the random image generator a bit frustrating because I’m not able to chunk the words or the images, and I have been training consistently for over a week now.

    Could you maybe give me an example of how a chunk should look like if the words are: bell, hell, wrapping, reception, strain, pattern, manager, luggage, enthusiastic, disgusting, severely, victory, confused, progress, analysis, unfairly, festival, protection, somebody.

    I would really appreciate it.

  26. Hi there
    So amped about this course!
    Just a quick question if you will: I’m dealing with the random words generator after having awesome results in the image generator using a memory palace and 2×2 grids, what are the “simple pegs” you used in your example in The Key to Study Skills? Are they just random words that you used? Perhaps objects or pictures on your desk at the time or something like that? I don’t know why that threw me, but I don’t know why you used those particular words as pegs? It sounds like a stupid question, I’ve just been having great results once I really understand how and what you guys want, so I just want to clarify this as opposed to make my own solution.
    Thanks so much!

  27. I can’t do this exercise… I am confused. I don’t understand how to give markers for adjectives, adverbs. It is easy to do it for noun but not for adjective or adverb and I found that it is hard for me to group all words which don’t have any logic meaning between each other.
    I like this exercise: http://neutralx0.net/home/mini04.html where I am taking images and connecting them to groups sport, food etc.

    Could you give me advises how to improve my skills for this exercises? How to group words then they are present so ”messy” ? What I am doing wrong?

    Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Occasionally you can take words as-is and then you are fine.
      Sometimes you cannot take the words themselves and need to use associations/symbols provoked by the word. For example “piece” van be remembered “pigeon”, “agreement” via “handshake” etc.

  28. I want to ask a question to know whether I am on the right track or not.
    if I made stories in my mind for every group of words,will it have the same effect as making markers to each word? By the way,when I did stories for every group of words, I remembered every word in each group.
    Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. With training and practice, it is possible to look at these words and memorize them all under 1 minute? It takes me at least a minute to even read through all the words when I begin the exercise.

  30. I really can’t do this, I’m struggling. Just finished my short term memory exercise and I can’t do either this or the icons exersize do you have any suggestions, please?

    1. Probably you do not make markers sufficiently well. Try simply generate and link markers from random words or just visualize these words. Go to previous week tasks and redo them. If this does not work, either move on or contact [email protected] and schedule 1:1 with Anna.

  31. So I started using this exercise and I think the first time it took me 30-40 min. I’m obviously doing something wrong or just need tons of more practice.

    1. I’m chunking either 5 groups of 4 words or 4 groups of 5 words. I do it on location e.g. I start on the bottom right and just pick 5 words close together.
    in this case: effectively, discovery, penny, soon, exaggerated

    2. creating visual markers and linking?
    this is where I’m a bit confused. Do I create an image per every word?
    to come up with an image for each takes me quite a while…
    effectively – very hard for me to come up with something, still nothing ๐Ÿ˜‰
    discovery – I imagine the spaceship discovery
    penny – that one is easy, so just the penny
    soon – maybe someone on a train station looking at the board and telling someone else the train will be arriving ‘soon’ (don’t know if that really counts as an image or marker though)
    exaggerated – here I’m thinking a graph with a very small column next to an ‘exaggerated’ big column

    Then I try to link all those images(stories) into one? And then I do that for the rest of the 15 images?

    Sorry for my confusion, but I figured I rather ask than spending 30+ minutes doing that every time and feeling frustrated.

    1. The process seams OK. It appears you think a lot about the process instead of just doing it. If this is the case, you are using a lot of brain resources on wrong tasks. Please practice 2-3 days and write again if no improvement.

    2. 1. OK
      2. Simply need practice. Try to see that you do not use ambiguous markers
      Effectively – schedule with icons of clock and trophey on it [for some words I use markers with several details for disambiguation ]
      Soon – New year’s countdown scene from your favorite movie. “Train” may apply for training, speed, massive etc, so use with caution.
      Exaggerated – Usually I see an image of making an elephant from a mouse. Keep graphs for math.

      From your comment, it seems you do not have yet one or two formats that always work and your associations are all over.
      With training you will get very quick associations of very few types instead of slow associations of many different types.

  32. Hi Lev,

    I’ve been doing this exercise for almost a week now and I’ve found that I’m faster and way more accurate if I actually think of a story and a sentence where all the words appear in it instead of just thinking of it visually, because if I only see the image in my head I forget the words and I mix them up with similar ones. Is it right? Or am I cheating in some way?

    Thank you!

  33. Hey Lev,

    I’m doing things a bit differently here. In the icons excersize I chunk the icons to remember them, and it works but with the words, it is easier for me to create a long story (or 2 stories at most) which contains all the words.

    Should I try to create the chunking to train my brain or is it fine?

  34. Hi Levโ€‹,
    Had a quick question.
    You replied to a comment on the blog saying that the 20 random word and image generators develop similar skills. Would it be ok to just do one or the other?

    I’m asking because I much prefer words than images because I feel like I can be more creative with words than a already made image.

    1. It is OK to do just words if you wish.
      Please notice that when you speedread your get visual associations as markers, and you do not have time to get creative except before you start reading or after you finish reading.
      By working with images you learn not to get stressed when the markers you generate at speed are suboptimal.
      So specifically for you, working with images would be an important step in speeding up your marker creation.

  35. Interesting, the article you posted!
    This raises some other questions I have had for long.
    It usually is very hard for me to imagine an object in a memory palace. But when I imagine the object, I almost instantly have a specific context coming with it, and putting a story there is much easier, as I see the colors and movements more vividly. So I think that is what you said (amongst other things) in that post.
    Did I get it right that I should then start linking the other objects on that scenery?

    One thing that is bugging me though is, when I create let’s say 5 scenes with 4 objects in it each, I forget the order, or I forget the starting object. Or I forget the whole story.
    How do you link a whole chain to the other chains you created?

    And then: How do you build sort of a book index from there??
    Right now I just have non connected chunks floating around in my head.

    Thank you very much for your help!
    Very much appreciated!

  36. I am having some problems with this and the icon exercise.
    The scattering of the words without any order makes it so hard to me to try to grasp them all and reorder them in my head. Is this intentional?

    Do you have any advice for me on how to be faster in chunking?
    It is so hard for me just to get an overview of all the scattered words here. And then chunking… it is not very easy.

  37. I remembered 19 words after the first try . But it took me several minutes to come up with the markets and linking them. What that means? why it suppose to take 3 weeks then. It feels pretty close after the first trial. Or I’m missing something….

  38. Hi,

    When you say “and linking markers within each chain”, do u mean create markers between the 5-7 groups that we created, or beween the elements/words of each group?


          1. Hi, I am unsure about the same as Ovadia, Where id the article you refer to above published so that I can read it.

          2. That conversation was a year ago, I wrote 500 articles. Please do not revive old discussions. When you formulate a full question from zero and I will formulate a proper answer.

          3. Hi, I’m confused about a similar thing as Katrin & Ovadia. Here’s the full question from zero as you requested: It’s the same question as the 2 people above but worded differently:

            You say:
            “1. Chunking of the words into groups of 3-5 words
            2. Creating visual markers per word and linking markers within each chain”

            What I’m unsure about is whether I’m supposed to be making a “compound marker” for each chunk which encodes all the words in that chunk as details, and then linking those compound markers to each other, or whether I’m missing the point and you’re trying to say something else entirely?

  39. I am a little confused on connecting my markers to the words. For example the word argument. I came up with an image of two people yelling at each other. However, when I am going from the image back to words i mix it up with words like disagreement? I had similar trouble with words like photography and photograph. Should I be coming up with separate markers for every word or do some words have the same marker?

    Thank you

    1. Depends on your goals. You cannot distinguish between things that you visualize in the same way. You need more accurate markers.

      See etymology:
      argument from Latin argumentum “evidence, ground, support, proof; a logical argument,” – means than in argument one person tries to prove something to another.
      disagreement from noun of action agreer “to please” – feeling unpleasant with what is happening around.

      Now you can use some disambiguation typecasting like men argue and women disagree, or whatever makes sense in your mind.

  40. Am I supposed to look at these try to remember them, and then minimize the window and try to recall all of them and THEN write it down or something.

    I’m confused on the THEN part. I feel like writing them down after I minimize the window would be the best method. Any advice?

      1. I mean, how am I supposed to know that I remembered them all?
        The only proper way to know that you’re actually remembering them that I can think of would be to link them all and memorize them, then minimize the screen, and write them down. Then look back at the page to see if you got them all right.

        A helpful tool would be a button to click after you’ve tried to remember them that will get rid of them all and put a place where you can fill in all the ones you remember. Then it will tell you if you are correct.

        1. To tell you the truth, I was minimizing the window or closing the screen, then writing the words on paper, then opening the screen so I can see it and compare the result on paper with the result on screen – trying to understand what I missed and why.
          I will think a bit more about a better flow. It is a good comment.

  41. Hello,
    I have a question, i should chunk the words by order? Or the order is not important? I am doing by the order that is written in the webpage, because i am assuming when i am speed reading this is what i am going to do. Correct me if i wrong, or if it’s irrelevant for the case.

    1. You point out two different exercises. Each exercise makes sense. When we chunk material speedreading, we do have some order in which we got information, but we do not stop after each detail and marker – we stop at the end of paragraphs and sections. Try both ways and see what you learn from the experience.

  42. I’ve been pretty good with all the exercises and time intervals so far. However, this one kind of wears me out. I do it once and I’m already a little mentally exhausted. The way I chunk them is with a little ridiculous story. For example, “take shelter inside the giant nuclear office” for the words shelter, giant, nuclear, and office. This works and I almost always get them within 2 to 3 minutes but like I said, I’m a little mentally worn out afterwards. Is this normal, or have I identified a weak area in my mind and need to focus more time and energy to it? And if it’s not normal, can you give me a couple pointers to work through this? Thanks, you help is always appreciated.

    1. Hm… In your description I see nothing wrong, yet you are the first person to report being THAT tired after the exercise.
      The original instruction by Anna was to limit time to 60 sec or 45 sec – what you remember is your limit.
      Maybe if you time yourself, the exercise will go easier…

      1. That’s a very good idea. Thanks.
        Also, when yourself and Anna say to do this within 60 seconds, are we supposed to memorize AND recite the words within 60 seconds or are we taking the full 60 seconds to memorize and then seeing if we can accurately recite them? Because if its the latter it may explain why I feel so drained afterwards. I’ve been trying to memorize and then recite them back all within a minute.

        1. I think we found the problem ๐Ÿ™‚
          Typically we make a short pause between memorization and retrieval – it can be 10 sec or 5 min. Retrieval is not timed…

    1. First you get all right no matter the speed.
      Then limit speed to 3 min and redo as many times as you need till you get all of them right.
      Then you gradually reduce the time.
      If you do all of them in 1min you qualify the exercise and do not need to train this particular skill any further.

      1. Hi Dr. Lev,

        I’m glad I saw this comment from you. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Since I think this exercise requires a fair amount of practice, would it make sense to have your helpful tip be listed as part of the exercise? Specifically, the fact that we should be training the memory first regardless of speed, and then aggressively trying to increase the speed.


  43. I’m using memory palace for this exercise , since I have trouble remembering the actual group, so i had to always take a look at to least one word of a group then suddenly all the connections come back and i remember the rest of items belonging to that group. but when I imagine a group of items in specific point of my palace , it’s much easier for me to recall and not to miss anything out. But i’m not sure if it’s okay since you were pointing out in the lectures that we should practice this method before going ahead and using the memory palace.

  44. I tend to make short animations out of my links. I found it easiest to simply make a simple action or expression out the abstract stuff.

    Example:acknowledge, actually, woman.
    I make a scene were I acknowledge (I am bowing) that the crazy cross dresser is actually (I am shocked face) a woman (woman cross dresser).

    Is this a correct way of doing it? Or should I do it differently?

    1. I do it the same way and the first time I got it in three minutes. I feel good getting all 20, but I am not using chunking is this okay?

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