A friend of mine did the Verbal Memory Test at http://humanbenchmark.com/ and got an extremely high score (almost 300 words). English is not his first language and he knew the meaning of only about two thirds of the words (if that's something to take into account).

About the test

This test measures how many words you can keep in short term memory at once.

The number of words you need to remember grows continually, until you can't keep them in your head anymore.

Go as long as you can. You have 3 strikes until game over.

Your score is how many turns you lasted.

Does this have any practical use or influence in other areas of cognition?

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    $\begingroup$ I included the information provided by humanbenchmark in the question. They don't seem to provide more than that, so this may be a random test without any experimental backing. Given the description of the question (and associated distribution graph), I am now wondering what 300 words means. The score is the number of rounds people last, and nobody scored 300. $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    Oct 19, 2021 at 15:23
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your edit, the graph does not show the highest results. There are several videos on YouTube with a score of 200+. When he did 300 (295 or something if I remember correctly) the site displayed "99.99 percentile". But this might indeed be just a random test $\endgroup$
    – user24461
    Oct 19, 2021 at 17:30
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    $\begingroup$ Note that this test is for recognition only, not for recall. If your friend were asked to write down those 300 words, how many would he be able to remember? $\endgroup$ Oct 20, 2021 at 0:37
  • $\begingroup$ I have no idea, this was just recognition as you said $\endgroup$
    – user24461
    Oct 20, 2021 at 7:51

1 Answer 1


This is one of several variations of the word span test, used in many studies of working and short-term memory. It is a type of memory span test:

... memory span is the longest list of items that a person can repeat back in correct order immediately after presentation ... Items may include words, numbers, or letters.

Short-term memory is a cognitive capacity that is a component of verbal intelligence. However, the simple word span is not a great measure of verbal intelligence:

... memory span with digits and words is only weakly related to performance in complex cognitive tasks such as text comprehension, which are assumed to depend on short-term memory.

Performance on verbal memory tests can vary substantially based on the parameters of the test, the effect of practice and training, and the testing environment.

Nonetheless, research suggests that strong performance on the word span task - in particular, the non-word span variation which uses "pseudowords" that sound like real words but aren't - is indicative of superior secondary language acquisition capability (Juffs & Harrington, 2011). There is also some evidence that word span may be predictive of ability to follow complex instructions (Kim, Bayles, & Beeson, 2008; Jaroslawska et al, 2016). Of course, these results may not be applicable to the word span recognition variation of the task.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your answer, I think this is the best we can find on the subject $\endgroup$
    – user24461
    Oct 25, 2021 at 18:54
  • $\begingroup$ This is by no mean a proof but you might find interesting that he is indeed quite into languages learning $\endgroup$
    – user24461
    Oct 25, 2021 at 18:56

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