This study examined whether verbal and visual memory impairments in multiple sclerosis (MS) are attributable to deficits in acquisition, storage, or retrieval. Volunteers with MS (n = 40) and healthy controls (n = 20) rehearsed a word list and a checkerboard pattern using a selective reminding procedure until two consecutive error-free trials were attained. Recall and recognition were assessed after 30 min and 90 min (and 1 week for verbal material) delays. The MS group required significantly more trials to attain criterion on both learning tests. Once equated for acquisition, both groups performed similarly on verbal recall and recognition. However the MS group performed significantly worse on measures of visual recall and recognition. The results suggest that the verbal memory impairment in MS is due to deficient acquisition, while the visual memory impairment in MS is attributable to deficits in acquisition and storage.