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National Memory Master


It’s Almost Time to Begin the National Memory Master Contest!

On January 28th, we will announce the story prompt for qualified students right here on this page. Students will use the prompt to create an interesting story using history facts from Classical Conversations® Foundations program. Interested students need to complete a Cycle 3 Memory Master Proof with their local Classical Conversations Foundations director by January 28th, have proofed as a Memory Master for at least one other academic year, and be proficient in Cycle 1, 2, and 3.

National Memory Master is a nationwide memory competition for Classical Conversations® students, ages 11-12, that culminates in a national championship for 16 finalists and a chance to win $10,000.

2021 NMM Rule Book


Have More Questions?

2021 NMM FAQ page


2021 Curriculum and Competition Update

For the 2021 National Memory Master Competition we will be using the Foundations Curriculum, Fifth Edition for Cycle 1, 2, and 3.


How Do I Prepare?

Students should complete a Cycle 3 proof with their director no later than January 28th, 2021. Additionally, students should familiarize themselves with all three cycles of Foundation’s Memory work in preparation for the competition.

When the 2021 prompt is released on January 28th, students will have one week to use the given history sentences to tell a story. Once they are ready to enter, contestants will record a video that is no longer than 210 seconds. Then they will upload that video directly to our competition site, which you will be able to access from this page.

For an idea of how to put together a successful video, please watch entries from the 2020 winning videos.

Interested students and parents must familiarize themselves with the rule book. For more information and the official rule book.


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 at 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 3 proof with their local licensed community Director. Additionally, parents should be certain that their students can accurately recall information from Cycles 1 and 2 at home.


What is the difference between the National Memory Master Competition and the regular Memory Master process?

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. They use memorization resources such as the popular audio CD and timeline 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. Students who successfully complete the Memory Master process are awarded the title “Memory Master” and are given a t-shirt to commemorate their success.

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 stage in the national competition. The only difference between this proof and a regular Memory Master proof is that it must take place earlier in the year. Once a student has completed an early proof in order to participate in the National Memory Master competition, they will be considered a Memory Master for their community.


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Parents and students report that the National Memory Master Contest 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 isnot 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