Use of Mnemonics in AMIE Studies to Improve Memory

What are mnemonics and what are they good for?

Any memory-improving strategy can be termed "mnemonic", but in its more specific meaning, mnemonic refers to "artificial" memory aids such as stories, rhymes, acronyms, and more complex strategies involving verbal mediators or visual imagery, such as the place or journey method, the pegword method, and the keyword method.

The purpose of mnemonics is simply to help you remember something — not by understanding it, not by incorporating it into your developing "expert database", but simply in the manner of a parrot. They are used to enable you to regurgitate information.

An AMIE aspirant may sometimes feel it difficult to memorise difficult terms and hence lost in AMIE exams. Here, Mnemonics technique may be useful for him/her.

Examples

  • ROY G. BIV is an acronym (for the colors of the rainbow), and Richard Of York Gives Battle In Vain is an acrostic for the same information.
  • HOMES - the Great Lakes: Huron; Ontario; Michigan; Erie; Superior.
  • MRS GREN — the characteristics of living things: Movement; Respiration; Sensitivity; Growth; Reproduction; Excretion; Nutrition.
  • BEDMAS — the order of mathematical operations: Brackets; Exponent; Division; Multiplication; Addition; Subtraction.
  • SOII-CAH-TOA - Sin is Opposite Hypotenuse; Cos is Adjacent to the Hypotenuse; Tan is Opposite the Adjacent.

Keyword Strategies

The keyword mnemonic is the most studied mnemonic technique, and contains within it the most potential for flexible use in a wide range of learning situations.

The essence of this technique lies in the choosing of an intermediary word that binds what you need to remember to something you already know well.

Examples

  • To remember the name of the famous psychologist Alfred Binet, you could tie the name Binet to bonnet (the keyword) and imagine Binet in a bonnet.
  • You want to remember that Canberra is the capital of Australia. Beer can is an obvious phrase for Canberra (particularly in light of the Australians' notorious enjoyment of beer!), and you could connect it to Australia by substituting a familiar icon such as a kangaroo or a koala bear. Thus, your image for remembering this fact could be a kangaroo swigging back a can of beer.
Ref: Taken from a book "Mnemonics for Studies" by Fiona McPherson

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