How to write ABC Lists?


  1. Get a pen and paper.
  2. A timer set to 2 or 3 minutes.
  3. Write an ABC (from A to Z) vertically on the left edge

The ABC game

  1. Select a topic: __________
  2. Can you estimate how many terms you will create during the two or three minutes? (Assistance: The more often you engage with this topic, the more terms you will find easily.)
    How many terms? ________
  3. Now start the timer and write!
  4. Write down any keywords that come to your mind about this topic
  5. Move with your eyes along the ABC list and search for keywords that start with the letters in the list
  6. Now count the terms: ________.
  7. Finally, compare your assessment with your final result!

Attention before you start writing!

The goal is not to start with “A” and force yourself to work on a letter at a time to the end of the list with “Z”. But relax, move with your eyes “Up and down” the list. If you an “N” comes to your mind when you are at the letter “W”, write it down. So you do not experience a systematic “filling out” of an ABC list, but a writing eye hike.


  1. Move up and down the list to find more
  2. You don’t have to have terms for every letter
  3. You can have multiple terms per letter
  4. There is no order that you have to follow. You can start at “N” and end at “A”
  5. If you are at the letter “A” and a term starting with “W” comes to your mind, write it down. You don’t have to fix yourself too much on the list.

Tips to have a more rich yield on your list

  • look at a term in your list and think of the category it belongs to
  • and what other terms are included in this category
  • example: A list of professions has the term “plumber”. The category could be “Jobs to build a house”. Other terms could be carpenter, builder, or roofer.

Most people vastly overestimate how many terms they would collect. A typical result for an untrained person is 10-25 words. If you keep on training and write 20-30 lists, your results will be very different. You can expect a yield of 100 terms.

If you want to access easier and quicker what you know

Write 1-2 lists about your chosen topic per day for a month. After each list put it away and don#t look at it until the end of your training time.

After a month, consolidate all your lists. Count how many terms you had for each list. You should see a significant increase after lists 10 -15. This is very individual and depends on the topic. Check what terms you had for the first 5 lists and how they changed over the span of the month. Usually, you start with the more general knowledge

Use Assocy to write ABC lists

Assocy makes it easy to write ABC lists. It autogenerates a note with an ABC. Each line can expand to encapsulate multiple terms per letter. Use the keyboard or your Apple Pencil.