20 random images generator

Icons are the most simple versatile form of visual markers.
I use some sort of icons to encode all abstract notions.
One of Anna’s favourite exercise is remembering 20 images.
The method requires
1. Chunking of the images into groups of 3-5 icons. Group by meaning or by colour or by association
2. Creating visual markers per icon 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 image after 3 weeks of training.

Try this. Reload page to get another icon selection. Minimize or maximize browser window to check yourself.

Icons are copied from http://www.iconarchive.com/ and were created by this, this and this artists.




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98 Replies to “20 random images generator”

  1. The instruction says “Creating visual markers per icon and linking markers within each chain”. Isn’t an icon already a visual marker? Is a chain a group of 3 -5 icons?

  2. Also, would help if you can upload a sample video actually doing this activity for one set of 20 icons.. I am sure all of us can draw a lot of insight that way..

  3. Hello.
    Some things I noticed after several attempts at this exercise:

    1. Chunking takes to much time for me. It takes a minute or two just to look at all the pictures and try to understand how I can chunk them, before I even start to create markers. I rarely see any meaningful groups at first, all I see is just some chaotic group of pictures, except when some group is really obvious like “flags”. Usually at first my eyes just wonder from one picture to another without order for about a minute, and I think I begin panicking and feel frustration at this point. Any advice?

    2. I have trouble thinking in images. It is much easier and faster to me to make a story out of words in my head then in pictures. Not only it takes more time, but the images I create are usually not very clear and I have to concentrate hard to make them keep their form. It’s also difficult to keep several images in mind and make a story out of them. Is it something that just takes practice?

      1. Thanks for the reply.
        I tried 20 words too several times, and it indeed comes easier to me. One more question: when I create stories or animations with characters in it, I often make them not only doing stuff, but also talking. For example, when I have a group of words with some abstract word in it, it’s often easier for me to make up a story where a character says that word, than to think of a specific marker for it. Is this method OK, or should I focus more on creating markers for each word?

        1. You should be able to memorize 20 words in 30 seconds or less. Make PAO markers: 3 words in one visualization, or composite markers: 4 words in one visualization. If you still have time for talking markers after that, I will be pleasantly surprised.

          1. Could you please explain how I would use the PAO system to me ?

            I opened the 20 random words page and got those items and would group them by three and find a person then some action then an object? I guess we would not need to encode the 3000 oxford words upfront?

            * trial – maybe O.J. Simpson
            * certain – here it is super hard for me to come up with an action – maybe showing some thumb up?
            * commitment – here I may imagine two hands shaking (but that would rather fit the action part)

            That would then result in an image with O.J. Simpson raising his thumb towards two shaking hands?

          2. Please notice to change the order of the words, so that the hardest becomes the object and the easiest becomes an action.
            Your visualizations are not sufficiently specific.
            Commitment for me is a Catholic wedding
            Certainty is death and taxes
            So in your example, that would be OJSimpson getting married to the angel of death. Now, that’s funny 🙂

          3. Thanks for your answer! Much clearer now. Did not think about reordering them differently. I always tried to stay in the same order as words in an article would also come in some specific order.

            And yes – have to work on creating more detailed/specific markers.

  4. Thanks Lev,

    Its a good exercise.
    Somehow I can recall the icons from relation marker but sometimes messed up the icon locations.

    Interesting and challenging!
    Great job Lev

  5. Hi there,

    For some reason I can’t see the image generator. I’m seeing a code snippet instead [php snippet=3].

    Is something up with the generator? I tried with Safari and Chrome.



  6. Just a positive feedback

    I have successfully remembered all 20 icons, however i have not done it under a minute yet. this was my second attempt after failure of the first atte,mpt. I’m now working on getting under 1 min.

    My thought process when doing this:

    I find icons that i can perhaps relate and link by a story e.g
    Truck icon, Safe icon and a database icon
    I brute force encode each icon and i link them by saying “The database is secured in a safe and transported with a truck”

    If the icon is unrecognizable i brute force something like “This is a weird painting on a wall with 3 yellow spots” and apply emotion and feel of the painting texture.

    I hope my thought process and experience help anyone who is stuck.

  7. Hello, I´ve been doing this so that I chunk the words together by coming up with a small stories using 3-6 icons. Most of the time I dont create any markers but in Superlearner Udemy course this was under marker generation chapter but isn´t this more about chunking or have I understood meaning of this exercise incorrectly? Of course, as mentioned above, coming up with a meaning for some more abstract stuff improves also one´s creativity so it surely improves overall learning process.

    Making stories comes somehow very naturally to me, used it for 20 words and some other exercises too. Should I stick with this or can there be some pitfalls I should be aware of?

    1. Visual thinking is faster than thinking in words. Quite often people do not really differentiate between them. Try to speed up, see what happens.

  8. Hi,

    I don’t even know what half of the icons mean or what they are suppossed to be. I can not link many of them to any kind of marker and i can’t seem to write them down because of this.

    Many of the icons do not resemble anything. So how do i remember those?

    1. This is the most common complaint. The thing is: some of the stuff we read is very abstract. So we need to MAKE more tangible meaning for them. What do they remind you of? etc.

  9. Hi Dr Lev,

    I am a third of the way through the 2.0 course and am up to the 20 images generator. My first go took me about 10 mins to remember the group. Is this bad?

    Second go was 7 min 44 sec. I did miss some small detail on colour though. Any tips?

    I am trying to redraw the images every time.


  10. Just did 17/20 in <1min, with just 1 try prior to that. Should I keep going? till I remember all 20 in <1 min? I also just finished the short term memory checker @ max lvl (20 items) in 3 minutes on day#2 of training on that. Should I reach <1min in that exercise also?

    How long should I keep going w/ these 2 exercises before I continue past the markers week on your course on Udemy? (really pumped up :D) + I just saw the 20 words exercise, I will practice with that now 🙂

    Thank you very much for all your great work and efforts :))

      1. I can remember my personalized meaning of 20 objects, but I can only recall partly of each object of the 20 original objects, not so clear and vivid to redraw 20 original objects. Is that good enough?

        1. Probably. I cannot test you from here. If you can use the same skills to recognize brands and objects you encounter in real life, you should be OK.

  11. Hi, I’m just chunking these icons as groups and give vivid visual markers per category. My confusion is should I inter-connect those icon markers with each other in A1 category? I know I have to inter-connect to category markers with each other. But What about the markers per icon in every chunk, because If I don’t interconnect those icon markers with each other i.e. in B category, I do forget what was the next icon marker inside of that B category.Because there’s no line, no connection with each other icon markers in B category.So I forgot. If the answer is yes, how can I easily link these icon markers with each other? Can you give me an example? Like with the image? Or with the story? Which is better in term of speed?

    Thank you so much!

    1. Depends. For long-term retention of more complex subjects you will probably need linking, but for this exercise it is not required: just visualize 2×2 grid and location of each item within the grid.

  12. Hi,
    Thank you for this course, I finally decided to take it seriously and I cannot wait to reach the end !
    I’m just on day 2 on this exercise and I just wanted to know if my “automatic method” was to create story : I usually chunk icons and each chunk become a part of the story. I already can remember around 15 icons but I saw in the comments that you don’t recommend working with stories.
    Should I begin to use another method ?

    1. Icon is a sort of stylized marker. The icons that appear in this exercise force you to use your imagination and create your own meaning for the abstract symbols.

  13. Hi,

    I’ve really been enjoying this exercise and have been going back to it during my slow times at work. I have only been at it for a couple hours and found that chunking into 5ish item works best for me. I would just like some clarification.

    I personally always end up making things more challenging for myself (sometimes intentionally, sometimes not haha). With this particular exercise, I am able to recall the items (address book, flags (if i know the country, i can recall the exact flag). Can I as a student, assume that this is supposed to be as challenging as I want it to be? In other words, I believe it is also important to remember the details of the icons (yellow paper (as opposed to paper), or flag of Sierra Leone (as opposed to flag or striped flag). I know others might find that remembering small details is not as important, while they might find the number of items to remember more important.

    I guess my question can be broken down to this:
    1. Am I wrong in making this more challenging by trying to remember specific details of the icon? Should I move on when I am able to recall the items in general detail with smaller amounts of observation time?
    2. If Yes to the question above, how deep into this exercise should we go? Are we just trying to generally figure out how best we chunk/sort ideas, or are to continually supposed to shorten the amount of time spent observing vs recall?

    Thank you so much, and I look forward to the answers from both the teachers and the students.

    1. You have many exercises and you should be OK in all of them. Reading texts is more important than exercises. With that in mind, I think you are perfectly OK. As soon as you can remember without mistakes 18 out of 20 images you qualify the exercise.

  14. Hi!
    I’m going to start doing this exercise and I was wondering which way you recommend for us to check if we remember correctly. In another game recommended by Johnathan after the memorising we are shown a group of images and we have to pick the ones that were there before but… I don’t really see how to do it in this case.
    Thanks in advance for the advise and congrats for this site and all the resources!

    1. Take a screenshot.
      Do the exercise.
      Write on a page short description of images you remember [from memory].
      Go to the screenshot and compare with the list.
      Try to understand what you did right and what you did wrong, see if there is a repeating pattern.

  15. “Speed element – needs to be done under 1 min”
    When training, what’s the best way to approach this goal?
    For example: Try to remember all images, which takes me now about 1 minute and 40 sec, or push myself within the 1 minute goal and not being able to remembering all images at first?

  16. There’s definitely no reason NOT to learn countries, and I most certainly plan to.

    I was simply stating in the past, it had not been of high importance to me, and currently I’d rather spend the time that I would otherwise use learning these countries to focus on SuperLearning and memorization practice; as opposed to learning all these countries right now, simply for the sake of this exercise.

    I will be back in school in August and I want to be able to make waves using this system, so time-wise I am pouring it all into this when I can afford to.

    Thank you much for the help Dr. Lev! I will try this 2×2 method now.

  17. Would love you to add a video to the course of you doing *this* exercise, showing how you chunk and think etc. The one where you look at the astronought is different b/c it’s words and wikipedia and a known narrative. As many have said, this exercise is much more challenging b/c of our difficulties in chunking the images. To *see* you do it–maybe if you did it three times–would I think be quite pedagogically useful. Just do a screencast. 🙂

  18. Hi Lev. First I’d like to just say thank you for what you do. I have always struggled with and hated school and I am fairly certain that stemmed from the drill-it-in-your-head style that public schools still teach today -_-

    Anyway. I had just two questions:

    1. This probably ties into my disdain for public schooling, but I always hated geography. Point being, with these flags, I have NO clue what country they represent 90% of the time. I do plan on learning these once I acquire this superlearner skill, but at the moment, I don’t personally see a high value on going in and learning all these different countries flags.

    So how you said “Like France = Eiffel tower, Swiss = wall clock etc…” this is obviously dependent on identifying France’s flag.

    Is there a way I can remember the flags WITHOUT identifying the country? For now I’ve just been calling them “red/yellow/green” flag, however due to that I am obviously having an issue recalling ALL of them.

    2. I think I definitely struggle with this exercise versus the 20 random words more so – would you advise I continue to work on this one more so than that one due to the difficulty involved, or because they work such similar things, would either really be okay?

    *Also, for this exercise, would you recommend trying out Anna’s “change of perspective’s” or would it take too long to think of that, with the minute-speed-requirement?

    Thank you again!

    1. 1. This is superlearning. Is there a reason not to learn countries? Do you hate traveling, art, food and people? You are not in school anymore. Learn for FUN using the stuff you ENJOY.
      Eventually, you will want to take a trip around the world, and see all its beauty (I know I do) 🙂
      2. Just use Wang Feng’s 2×2 grids. Create 5 such grids and put it in 5 rooms of your memory palace. I will write an article about this soon.

    1. Some images are a bit obscure and you should think what they look like and remember the anchor marker. We have a similar task when remembering graphs, logos, foreign language characters etc.

  19. Hi Lev.
    Are we supposed to take the icons as they are and see them like they are displayed here. Or are we to see them as actual real-life objects?
    Let’s say a us flag: Am I supposed to actually see a real one?
    Or a staple of coins, am I supposed to see real coins?

  20. Lev, here is something I don’t quite get. From the videos on the course and from the short term memory game I thought that the images on the memory game ARE the markers and I was able to remember them when creating a tory of them all together. But here you are saying that each icon has a few markets? Isn’t the icon is the market and then we suppose to think of it’s details. Please advise.


    1. You are basically right, but there are some finer details Jonathan does not explain [to eliminate confusion]:
      1. Each marker has several details.
      2. You can put several markers as connected into more complex markers.
      3. In any case, making a story with 20 markers is very slow.
      4. You are supposed to chunk the markers – group them together and remember collections of 3-5 markers.
      5. Some images are just too complex to be remembered as-is and you need to substitute them by simpler imagery.

      1. Hi Lev,

        How much time should we spend looking at the images and grouping them and making a market?

        Can you tell me if I’m on the right track?

        I’ve grouped them into these categories:

        1) Fun
        2) Food
        3) Nature
        4) Objects / materials

        Within each category, I try to remember a theme or the colors for each item and have a specific memory in my past linked to each item. For example, when I see the basketball, I say: FUN, Orange and picture myself playing basketball.

        Am I doing it correctly?



        1. Maybe categories can be more specific…
          All in all you should do the 20 images in less than 60 seconds, about 1/3 of the time goes to chunking.

  21. Hi,
    1 – Is this exercise equivalent to the one remembering 20 words? (Is this enough or do I have to practice more on that one too).

    This one is easier for me, because when I look at an image I take the meaning of it and generate a marker and link it (I can even use loci method), but with words when I try to generate a marker I sometimes take the meaning only not the word itself (Example. small – little – minimum __ I know they’re not the same but that’s not the problem) and then the results is remembering the wrong word… 2 – any advice on that?

    BTW, I also find the linking exercise (http://www.keytostudy.com/linking-markers-exercise/) when using 15 links and 4 rows hard, I can generate markers with ease but linking words is harder than images :\ (especially if I had to do it on the same order).

    I know that I ask too much questions, but bear with me :p!



    1. Please notice that you need to go from word to image and then work on images. Apparently word to image transition is hard for you. In your current stage I would say small=little=minimum. You can fix this later on by using more accurate markers. For now take the meaning and use it…. Later on fine-tune it….

  22. hello, I’m having a little trouble with remembering the flags. With all the other objects ( most of them at least ) I can easily put into a picture or a story. But with flags I either can’t put them into a story or just can’t remember then when I try to put them into a group of “flags”. Or maybe I shouldn’t make stories of the objects or pictures of them. I don’t really know what to do to improve. could you give any advice on this.?

    1. The flags may be supported by general knowledge. It would be nice if you could connect:
      flag=country=symbol specific for the country.
      Like France = Eiffel tower, Swiss = wall clock etc…

  23. Hi,

    What about linking the chains, do you expect us to that too? Do we suppose, after a minute, to remember all the markers we created without looking even once at any icon?


    1. This can definitely work. Linking should be very fast if you link in form of animation and not verbal story. Mental palaces should also work if you chunk 3-5 items per room.

      For this particular exercise in Anna’s 1:1 sessions she typically recommends chunking into groups of 4-5 images and then mindmapping the chunks and each chunk in itself. For mindmapping Anna typically uses clock face as the basis.

    1. This exercise is more complex and has more stylized imagery. When you work with abstract notions for a while, the images you work with become stylized and icon-like.

        1. Easy is good for the beginners. As we deal with more abstract and technical issues our markers become more complex and need more tedious training.

  24. I had a really hard time just attempting this at first. Some of these icons are just so abstract, it’s harder to link them or chunk them than some of the other image exercises.

    I decided to try using a memory palace with this (which I’m still fairly new at) and even though my markers were pretty weak, I was able to remember 19 of the 20 on my first attempt.

    Memory palaces make things so much easier. I haven’t attempted to use one for remembering anything long term yet, but I’m pretty impressed with this method.

    1. Happy to hear.
      Each of us has his own “automatic” methods – methods that are fast, accurate and effortless for us.
      This does not mean the same methods work for other people…

    1. No, this is actually a variation of recommended chunking. Anna teaches various speed optimisations in 1:1 [students are allocated less than 1 min per 20 images], but the direction is right.

  25. Would you mind explaining the instructions again. Is it that we are supposed to memorize each icon and put an association to it? How do you recommend doing this and knowing if you remember correctly. Sorry, I am confused.

    1. Hmm…. Usually detailed explanation is personalized as a part of Anna’s 1:1 course.
      Generic flow as following:
      1. Icons are stylized and you need to activate visual associations to add further meaning e.g. create a marker.
      2. Group icons in 4-6 categories [you need to activate chunking skill] and generate a marker per category
      3. You create links between category markers, so you do not forget a category
      4. You use category marker as a peg/anchor and link specific icon markers to it. Anna sometimes asks to imagine a clock face and put markers on hourly positions. This way you remember how many markers you have and their order.

      1. I found this explanation very helpful. I created 4-5 markers to remember all 20 items. It was not important for me to focus on what the icons actually were but what I thought they were. Thanks for the help.

  26. I am trying out the exercises for the second time this week and it’s funny, I feel like I need to recite the markers I am giving to the grouping of icons to remember it later on. When time comes to retrieve the information, I have to do it methodically because if I skip one of the icons in the grouping, I get stuck. Very odd but interesting exercise.

    1. I feel the same way! The word one is much easier for me, this one I feel like I need to subvocalize my markers/repeat in order to memorize. Should we be avoiding that, Lev? Or is that a learning step? Quite difficult.

      1. Speedreading methods are a bit different from memorization methods. In memorization you can tell yourself stories, but when speedreading you do not have time for that… You really need to be visual…

  27. I am curious to do this exercise but i don’t understand all of the instructions.

    On “2. Creating visual markers per word and linking markers within each chain”, what is meant by “per word”? How or where does words enter the picture, i assumed the exercise is strictly visual?

    Thanks in advance!

      1. I’m not fluent in English and have other questions about “linking markers within each chain”:
        – chain – is it initial group of 3-5 icons?
        – linking markers – does that mean chunking them within each group/chain?
        – so there should be 20 markers?

        1. We create short animations/combined images from objects, these animations/combined images are called chains or links or chunks.
          In this exercise, we have to create a variable number of animations/combined images of various level of complexity.
          Each animation is a row. The total complexity is (# of rows)x(# of colums)

  28. i am taking around five minutes to link and remember images and it is quite frustrating. i am wondering how will i work on the time factor. another thing these images are to be memorise for how long because i tend to forget these after one day.
    please help me by directing me in right direction.
    thank you

    1. These images are just an exercise. Anna used to give it to her students. Now she changed her exercises a bit. Do not obsess about any particular exercise, but rather try to cover a wide range of skills.
      To work on time factor, focus on linking rather than markers. Try to visualize the images as-is, but link them in a meaningful way.
      You are supposed to remember these images for 10 min: no reason to remember a nonsense for more than a day. If you have something you really want to remember it probably has some additional meaningful layers.

      1. Use your imagination. “This item looks like” and recreate markers from the “looks like” part. When you work with abstract concepts, names and languages, the process is very similar….

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