So, now that you know what mnemonic devices are, how do you go about making them? One of the most common ways that people create their own mnemonic device is to use the first letter of each word they are trying to memorize to create a whole new word or phrase.
When I was in kindergarten and we were required to learn all of the colors in the rainbow, our teacher taught us what would become my first mnemonic device – Roy G. Biv, a simple mnemonic that was in the form of a name. The teacher taught us that the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet could be more easily memorized if we had something to associate them with. And so Roy G. Biv came into my life for the very first time – and I still remember it to this day.
Roy G. Biv is a perfect example of what a word forming style mnemonic device should be. Simple, easy to remember, and well defined enough so that you can always remember what exactly it is that you need to know so you can simply recite it on the fly.
However, not everything that you will need to remember in life can be as simple as the colors of the rainbow. What if you had to take a geography course because you found yourself on the career path to becoming a high school level geography teacher?
Trying to remember all of America’s capitals, state names and Great Lakes could become overwhelming if you simply tried to remember everything by repetition alone. Perhaps you’ve got everything covered, but for the life of you, you simply cannot remember the names of the Great Lakes. Well, a word forming style mnemonic device can come to your rescue in a hurry. Just as I did in kindergarten, all you have to do is take the first letters of the names of the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior; and turn them into a mnemonic device. Looking at the names of the Great Lakes right now, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Give yourself a second to look it over; it will come to you eventually if it has not hit you at this point.
Ok, was HOMES the mnemonic device that popped out for you? If it was, go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back. If you came up with something else, give yourself a hug because you are well on the right track to becoming a prominent mnemonic device user. However, if you were unable to make any word forming style mnemonic devices from the words that were given to you, perhaps it would be in your best interest to sit down for awhile and try to work on some more mnemonic devices before you read on.
Here are a few mnemonic devices from different fields of study to get you on the right track to become a mnemonic professional.
Alright, let’s start with something that is a little more difficult than the Great Lakes to get the ball rolling.
Chemistry is full of clever little slogans, mnemonic devices and all other kinds of memorization techniques that college students around the world need to know if they hope to pass their college level chemistry classes. One of the most popular starting points for a chemistry mnemonic device has to do with the study of electrons and how they behave under certain circumstances.
Most chemistry students will have to learn this building block of modern day chemistry sooner or later:
Oxidation is Loss, Reduction is Gain
When constructing a word formation style mnemonic device for something like this, what should be important to you now is to come up with a clever word (or words) to help you remember this chemical fact. What oxidation and reduction are should not be important to you at this point – just that oxidation is loss and reduction is gain. So give yourself a minute or two to think about a good mnemonic device that would work for you.
Alright, what have you come up with?
The generally accepted mnemonic for this phrase is OIL RIG, but as long as you came up with something, you should feel proud. After all, it is not about who has the correct mnemonic device; it is whatever works for you.
Next, we move on to something that may be a little more complex.
In the medical field, students in their first year of medical school are required to memorize all kinds of information – most of it in what seems to be a foreign language. If you can make a word forming mnemonic device for all of the different types of cell death for example, then you will be well on your way to being able to make any type of word forming mnemonic device that comes to mind.
Try this one out to see how you’re doing.
Physical, Immunologic, Genetic, Chemical, Hypoxia, Infection, Nutritional
Are you having trouble? Just because the words may be more difficult than you are familiar with does not mean that the task is impossible. Here is a hint to help you along if you need it: the mnemonic device created by medical students in Australia for this very subject consists of two words – one of which is a farm animal.
Got it yet? Good job if you came up with the generally used mnemonic device for cell death: PIG CHIN or CHIN PIG. If you had trouble and had to use the hint, then perhaps you need to practice some more. It’s not necessary right now, but if you want to truly master all of the memorization techniques covered in this website, then you may want to get on it as soon as possible.