Save Time With These 15 Mnemonics
Mnemonic Devices or mnemonics are mental shortcuts that help you remember or retrieve information. They come in many different forms such as short sentences, acronyms, or visualization techniques. At least some of these devices are known by almost everyone. They are often taught in school to remember facts such as the names of the planets, the days in each month, or the first decimal digits of pi.
This article will teach you some mnemonic devices (or refresh ones you already know) that can help you easily remember information that might be useful in the future.
1. Remember The Colors Of The Rainbow
A mnemonic for remembering the colors of the rainbow is the name Roy G. Biv. Each letter in this name stands for a color. Together they form the correct sequence of the colors in a rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.
2. Remember How Many Days Each Month Has
This can be done by remembering a small poem:
“Thirty days have September,
April, June, and November,
All the rest have thirty-one,
And February twenty-eight,
But the LEAP YEAR, which comes once in four,
Gives February one day more.”
3. Order Of Operations In Algebra
If you are not sure whether you first have to calculate dot or dash or what the parentheses in algebra are for, just remember the sentence: “Please excuse my dear aunt Sally”. Like Roy G. Biv, each letter stands for an operation:
4. Directions Of A Compass
Remember the sentence “Never eat shredded wheat” To remember the clockwise directions of a compass: north, east, south, west
5. The Books Of The Old Testament
To help you remember the names and order of the books of the old testament, you can remember the sentence “God equals light, not darkness.” This will help you recall that they are: Genesis, the first, Exodus, the second, Leviticus, the third, Numbers, the fourth and the fifth is Deuteronomy.
6. Order Of Taxonomy
If you are learning biology, this might help you remember the order of taxonomy: “King Phillip Cuts Open Five Green Snakes”. If you remember that sentence, it will be easier to recall:
Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species
7. Trigonometric Formulas
There are three formulas that can help you calculate side lengths and angles of right triangles. They are:
Sine = opposite side/hypotenuse
Cosine = adjacent side/hypotenuse
Tangent = Opposite side/adjacent side
These three formulas are important and useful but hard to remember. But there is a mnemonic for them: SOHCATOA. This can be remembered with the sentence: “Silly old Hitler couldn’t advance his troops over Africa.” If you remember that, you will never have to look them up again.
8. Coordinating Conjunctions
Coordinating conjunctions are words that connect two or more parts of speech which are of the same syntactic importance. There are only seven of them in the English language and they are easy to remember, once you know the mnemonic “FANBOYS”. Each letter stands for one coordinating conjunction: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. Another complex piece of knowledge you are not likely to forget just by remembering one word.
9. Great Lakes
There are five great lakes in North America. Arguably, there are only four, because lake Michigan and lake Huron are joined together, but for the sake of the mnemonic let’s assume there are five. They are freshwater lakes on the border between Canada and the United State of America that are connected to the Atlantic ocean. These five lakes are Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, and Lake Superior. Once you know the names, you will be able to easily recall them by the acronym “HOMES”.
10. Order Of Planets
To recall the names of planets and remember their location from the sun, there is an excellent mnemonic device. You just have to remember an easy sentence: “My very excellent mother just served us nine pizzas”. This way, assuming you know the names of the planets, you will always know that their locations from the sun, from closest to farthest are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
Just remember, that the “o” in “Mother” sounds similar to the “a” in “Mars”, in order not to confuse it with “Mercury”, and that Pluto isn’t actually classified as a planet anymore.
11. Which Person Is On Which Dollar Bill
There are five US presidents and two founding fathers (who were not presidents) on the US dollar bills. They are: George Washington on the $1 bill, Thomas Jefferson on the $2 bill, Abraham Lincoln on the $5 bill, Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill, Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, Ulysses S. Grant is the president who is on the $50 bill and, lastly Benjamin Franklin is on the $100 bill. In order to remember their names and which bill they are on, use the mnemonic: “When Jeff left home, Jack got fat”.
12. Cell Cycle Phases
If you are learning Biology, the order of the cell cycle phases might be important for you to remember. In order to remember interphase, prophase, metaphase, anaphase, telophase, and cytokinesis, you can use the phrase “I protect my artichokes too, Cliff!”
13. Carpal Bones
If Anatomy is your thing, at some point you might be asked to remember the carpal bones. The carpal bones have the following names: Scaphoid, lunate, triquetrum, pisiform, trapezium, trapezoid, capitate, and hamate. Remembering the names is hard enough, but to remember them all, you can use the sentence “Some lovers try positions that they can’t handle.”
14. Stalagmites And Stalactites
These are of course the mineral formation in caves that occur because of water dripping from the ceiling to the ground. This mnemonic will not only help you remember which is which but also the correct spelling. Just remember that stalagmites, the ones on the ground are spelled with a g (like “ground”) and stalactites, the ones on the ceiling are spelled with a c (like “ceiling”).
15. Setting A Table
You might have trouble remembering if the fork goes to the right or the left of the plate or where the spoon goes. It’s easy to remember with this mnemonic: The word “right” has five letters and the word “left” has four letters. And any utensil goes to the side with the corresponding number of letters. “Fork” has four letters, so it goes to the left. “Spoon” and “knife” each have five letters, so they go to the right. Also, you should remember that the utensils you need first, go on the outside and the ones you need later, go on the inside (near the plate). So a knife is often between the plate and the spoon.
Hopefully these tricks will be of some use to you!
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