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National Memory Master

What is the National Memory Master Competition?

National Memory Master is a nationwide memory competition for Classical Conversations® students, ages 11-12, that culminates in a national championship for 16 finalists preceding the Classical Conversations National Conference and a chance to win $10,000. Students interested in entering the National Memory Master competition must complete a Cycle 1 proof with their local licensed community Director in January 2022. Additionally, parents should be certain that their students can accurately recall information from all three Foundations Curriculum cycles at home.


How is the Competition different from Memory Master in my Community?

At the end of each Foundation’s year, students wishing to participate in the Memory Master program recite all of the information they have learned from the following categories: history, geography, English grammar, Latin, math, and science to their parents, another adult, their tutor, and finally to their local licensed community Director. The students use memorization resources such as the popular Foundations Audio CD and Classical Acts and Facts cards. (For a more detailed description of the Foundations program and associated memory work, please see our Foundations program page.)

Directors in licensed communities bestow the title "Memory Master" on students who successfully recite all of the memory facts from the current year's memory work.

Student’s wishing to compete in the National Memory Master competition must complete a proof on the current Foundations cycle with their local licensed community Director as the first step in the national competition. Unlike the standard Memory Master proof which takes place around week 24 of the Foundations program, students must proof by the scheduled deadline, closer to week 12.


Commemorating Foundations and Commencing Challenge A

National Memory Master competitors in NMM Competition t-shirts The National Memory Master Competition was developed specifically for Foundations students who will be entering Challenge A in the fall, and it is designed to help them cement the knowledge they have acquired over the course of their Foundations journey.

The 2022 competition is open to all Cycle 1 Memory Masters who are U.S. citizens for the 2021-2022 school year. The competition precedes the Classical Conversations National Conference happening in North Carolina. The sixteen finalists and chaperones will travel to compete in person at the Championship.


How to Compete

2022 FAQ2022 NMM Rule Book

Read our FAQ and the Official Rule Book to begin preparing for next year's competition. Parents and students should refer to the competition schedule at the top of this page as a guide for practicing and preparing at home. Please email us at if you have more questions.


All competitors are divided into regions based on their assigned region. It is always our staff's goal to have all 11 regions represented by our sixteen finalists, whenever possible, to celebrate Memory Masters nationwide. Sometimes regions must be combined if a specific region has a low number of entrants. Because of this, competition organizers reserve the right to combine that region into another region during the finalist selection process. Please keep in mind doing so is an effort solely intended to keep the competition equitable.

NMM region map


Fifth Edition Curriculum and Competition Update

We will be using only the Foundations Curriculum, Fifth Edition curriculum for the 2022 competition.


Congratulations to the 2021 National Memory Master Champion, Trevor Dolden!

Trevor Dolden winner of the 2021 National Memory Master competition

Humorous, informative, and inspirational describe the entries for this year's competition. The hard work and effort of each student and parent were evident in every submission we received. From the exceptional pool of entries, the judges carefully chose our top 16 student competitors to attend the Championship. On April 29th, 2021, these outstanding students competed for the title of National Memory Master Champion. Following a tough competition, Trevor Dolden emerged as the winner!

Trevor Dolden and his family have participated in the Foundations program since Trevor was four years old. They dedicated many hours to memorizing facts and the Timeline. The Doldens enjoyed themselves and trusted that the memory work is not just rote but integrates with our current lived experiences and our world. It's all connected! Like our other 15 finalists, Trevor delighted us at this year's Championship. He blew our judges away with his ability to recall information, recite the Timeline, however asked, and draw a detailed map of the world.

Congratulations to everyone who entered this year's competition! In our eyes, you are each a winner in your own right, having achieved Memory Master this year. Whether you proofed for Memory Master, submitted a video entry, came to the 2021 Championship, or won, we're cheering you on—from the whole Classical Conversations community!



View 2021 Winner Biography View 2021 Top 16 Finalists


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Parents and students report that the National Memory Master Competition benefited their families as they transitioned from the Foundations and Essentials program to the Challenge program in the following ways:


"Confidence - Doing NMM taught Ivy that she CAN learn/ memorize a large amount of material just by working hard and not giving up. This was HUGE! She is not afraid to tackle any lesson...every lesson seems small compared to learning an entire CC Cycle."

~ April Jirsa


“Mastering the Memory Work- Knowing the memory work very firmly- especially the Latin declensions and conjugations, helped prepare me for Challenge A. The cartography for the world map drawing taught me the basic shapes of many of the countries. It also taught me how to memorize drawing the countries on a grid because I did it over and over again in preparation for the competition.”

~ Elizabeth Pryzbyla


“Family Bonding- I committed to memorizing the timeline backward WITH my son. This helped him emotionally and strategically, as we had to problem-solve together HOW it could be done. Since I have five children (including an extremely active one year old as we prepared), these sessions often occurred in odd segments of time including very late at night, but the bonding of those hours will stay with me a long time”

~ Marcia Ford


“Time management- THIS, in my opinion, is the MOST important skill we gained from National Memory Master. My son, Ethan, and I would sit down and make a plan for what he needed to work on each day, which included his own school work, Essentials, and also National Memory Master work-like the timeline backwards, and he would prioritize his day and work. We would take breaks and I would go over stuff with him during the day, BUT this was his responsibility and he took ownership of this. IT is a huge leap from Foundations/ Essentials to Challenge A and this prepared us for the transition. This experience taught him to work HARD and to tackle HARD things, which is all a part of challenge work.”

~Kimber Morrow