N.S. teen dubbed 'international master of memory'
Published Thursday, January 7, 2016 6:05PM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 8, 2016 7:45AM EST
Evan Xie says he won’t need to study for his upcoming Grade 10 history test. In fact, the Nova Scotia teen expects to be able to spit out all the relevant names and dates with perfect ease, thanks to his uncanny ability to memorize just about anything.
That ability helped Xie, 15, earn the prestigious title of “International Master of Memory,” after joining the ranks of the elite at the World Memory Championships in China last month.
Xie proved his mental mettle in 10 memory tests conducted over three days. The challenges included memorizing more than 1,000 numbers in an hour, and memorizing the order of a deck of cards with just 32 seconds to look at them.
Xie dazzled the judges with his skills, earning him the prestigious master of memory title – a distinction held by only 160 people in the world.
Speaking to CTV News Channel Thursday, the Chinese-born resident of Windsor, N.S., simply said it “feels so cool” to be recognized for his ability.
Xie, whose second language is English, says he can’t really explain how his memory became so strong.
“I don’t know why. When I just was three years old, I can memorize a book,” he said. “And after two years, I can memorize numbers of cards, and now I almost can memorize anything.”
Xie likes to push himself to memorize a deck of cards in as little time as possible. That was one of the ways he trained for the competition, drilling himself with cards for hours each night.
“He was two hours a day every day for six months, preparing his mind, over and above being a regular student,” Chris Strickey, a teacher at King’s-Edgehill Private School, told CTV Atlantic.
His personal best at the card-memorization game is 18 seconds, he says.
“I’m good at some images, numbers. Lots of cards,” Xie said.
Xie told CTV’s Canada AM Friday that once he remembers a sequence, it will stay in his head for about three days.
“It’s like a song around my brain,” he said
Asked if he hears the numbers or sees them in his mind, he responded, “I think it’s both things for me. I can memorize both.”
Xie says he plans to use his incredible powers of recollection to improve his grasp on the English language and excel at his studies – including the history test he has scheduled on Friday.
“I’m going to have a not-so-bad mark,” he said. “Maybe very good.”
With a report from CTV Atlantic