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How Can I Remember? Use Helpful Mnemonic Devices

written by: teacher8605 • edited by: Kellie Hayden • updated: 5/27/2014

Every day you have tons of information thrown at you in class that you have to be able to reproduce at a moment's notice. So what can you do to remember? This list of common mnemonic devices will help you remember important facts in many different subjects.

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    Memorization is Important!

    A List of Helpful Mnemonic Devices Whether you are a preschool student trying to remember the colors of the rainbow or a medical student trying to name the nerves in the eye, we all have things we need to remember. Sometimes these things come easily for us, such as our birthday, while others can be very challenging. So what do you do when you need help remembering? The answer is simple... use a mnemonic device. A mnemonic device is a trick used to help remember a set of information.

    When you come across information that you need help remembering, simply take the first letter of each word and use them to make a catchy sentence with words starting with the same letters. Can't think of one? That's okay! There are other techniques you can use also, such as creating a poem or rhyme to remember the information. A song can be helpful also. To help you get started, here is a list of several mnemonic devices commonly used for students of all ages divided by subject area.

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    General Information

    • Colors in Rainbow Order: ROY G. BIV (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet)
    • How Many Days in a Month: 30 Days Hath September, April, June, and November. All the rest have 31, but February's the shortest one. With 28 days most of the time, until Leap Year gives us 29.
    • Weather Temperature: High to Low, Look Out Below; Low to High, Clear Blue Sky!
    • Weather: Red sky at night, shepherd's delight; Red sky in the morning, shepherd's warning.
    • Weather: Rainbow in the morning, traveler's take warning; Rainbow at night, traveler's delight.

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    Geography

    • Longitude is the line on a map that stretches vertically from North to South. Latitude is the line on a map that stretches horizontally West to East. Ways to remember this include: LONGitude is long (North to South) OR Longitude has an N like North.
    • Names of The Great Lakes: HOMES (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior).
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    History

    • Dates Alaska and Hawaii Became States: '59 was the date, when Alaska and Hawaii became new states.
    • What Happened to Henry VIII's Wives: Divorced, Beheaded, Died; Divorced, Beheaded, Survived.
    • When Columbus Found America: In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
    • Geological Time Periods in Order: Cows Often Sit Down Carefully. Perphaps Their Joints Creak? Persistent Early Oiling Might Prevent Painful Rheumatism (Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene, Pleistocene, Recent).
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    Language Arts

    • What is a pronoun? A pronoun is a common word that is a PRO at taking the place of a noun.
    • Difference Between Synonyms and Antonyms: Synonyms are the SAME (both start with S). Antonyms are the opposite. (Antonym starts with ANT, just like Anti, which also means opposite).
    • The Seven Conjuctions: FAN BOYS (For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So).
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    Mathematics

    • Steps of Long Division: Dad, Mom, Sister, Brother, Rover (Divide, Multiply, Subtract, Bring Down, Remainder).
    • Order of Operations: Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiply, Divide, Add, Subract).
    • Letters and Values for Roman Numerals in Value Order: I Value Xylophones Like Cows Dig Milk ( I=1, V=5, X=10, L= 50, C=100, D=500, M=1,000).
    • Metric System Prefixes in Value Order: King Henry Died Drinking Chocolate Milk (Kilo=x 1000, Hecta=x 100, Deca=x 10, Deci=x 0.1, Centi=x 0.01, Milli=x 0.001).
    • Trigonometry Formulas (where O=opposite, A=adjacent, and H=hypotenuse): Two Old Angels Skipped Over Heaven Carrying Ancient Harps (Tangent = O/A, Sine = O/H, Cosine = A/H).
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    Music

    • Lines on a Treble Staff: Every Good Boy Does Fine ( E, G, B, D, F).
    • Spaces on a Treble Staff: FACE.
    • Lines on a Bass Staff: Good Boys Do Fine Always ( G, B, D, F, A).
    • Spaces on a Bass Staff: All Cows Eat Grass ( A, C, E, G).
    • Circle of Fifths: Father Charlie Goes Down And Ends Badly ( F, C, G, D, A, E, B).
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    Science - Elementary

    • Names of the Planets (Including Pluto): My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto).
    • Names of the Planets (Not Including Pluto): My Very Excited Mother Just Served Us Nachos (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune).
    • Simple Machines: PG JAIL (Pulley, Gear, Jackscrew, Axel and Wheel, Inclined Plane, Lever).
    • Properties of Matter: Monkeys Dance Very Well. (Mass, Density, Volume, Weight).
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    Science - Secondary

    • Levels of Taxonomy: King Philip Can Order Five Greek Salads (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species).
    • Flow of Electrons: OIL RIG (Oxidation = It Loses, Reduction = It Gains).
    • Metric System Prefixes in Value Order: King Henry Died Drinking Chocolate Milk (Kilo=x 1000, Hecta=x 100, Deca=x 10, Deci=x 0.1, Centi=x 0.01, Milli=x 0.001).
    • Order of Mohs Hardness Scale from 1-10: Toronto Girls Can Flirt and Other Quirky Things Can Do (Talc, Gypsum, Calcite, Fluorite, Apatite, Orthoclase feldspar, Quartz, Topaz, Corundum, Diamond).
    • Essential Amino Acids: Ptv. Tim Hall (Phenylanine, Valine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Isoleucine, Methionine, Histidine, Arginine, Leucine, Lysine).
    • Nerves of the Eye: On Old Olympus's Towering Tops, A Finn and German Viewed Some Hops (Olfactory, Optic, Oculomotor, Trochlear, Trigeminal, Abducens, Facial, Acoustic, Glassopharyngeal, Vagus, Spinal Accessory, Hypoglossal).
    • Bones in the Wrist: Never Lick Tilly's Popsicle, Mother Might Come Home. (Navicular, Lunate, Triquetrum, Pisiform, Multongular Greater, Multongular Lesser, Capiate, Hamate).
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    Spelling

    • General Rule: I before E, except after C.
    • Remembering the Difference in Principal and Principle: A principal is your PAL. A principle is a RULE. (Both end the same as their meaning).
    • How to spell Saskatchewan: Write a S... then it's Ask A Chew An.
    • How to spell desserts: Desserts is the opposite of being stressed. (Spell it backwards.)
    • Spelling BECAUSE: Big Elephants Can Always Understand Small Elephants.
    • Spelling ARGUMENTS: A Rowdy Girl's Underwear!!! My Eyes Need Tied Shut!
    • Spelling ARITHMETIC: A Rat In The House May Eat The Ice Cream.
    • Spelling OCEAN: Only Clowns Eat At Noon.
    • Spelling GEOGRAPHY: General Eisenhower's Oldest Grandchild Rode A Pony Here Yesterday.
    • Spelling RHYTHM: Rhythm Helps Your Tiny Hips Move.
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    Writing

    • Steps to Editing: CUPS (Capitalization, Usage, Punctuation, Spelling).
    • Steps of the Writing Process: Pretty Dolls Rarely Ever Punch Criminals (Pre-Write, Draft, Revise, Edit, Publish, Celebrate).